Getting Started

Quickstart with Vagrant

Vagrant is the recommend method for developing with DataHub. It provides a VM matching the DataHub production server, regardless of your host operating system.

If you would prefer to install DataHub manually, see Manual Installation below.

  1. Install VirtualBox

  2. Install Vagrant

  3. Clone DataHub:
    $ git clone
  4. Add this line to your hosts file (/etc/hosts on most systems):
  5. From your clone, start the VM:
    $ vagrant up

This last step might take several minutes depending on your connection and computer.

Once vagrant up finishes, you can see your environment running at

If you see a Datahub module not found error, this is due to an unresolved issue with thrift code not compiling only after the first vagrant up. Please see this thread for a resolution:


Vagrant keeps your working copy and the VM in sync, so edits you make to DataHub’s code will be reflected on Changes to static files like CSS, JS, and documentation must be collected before the server will notice them. For more information, see management commands below.

Using non-standard ports

If your host environment does not allow use of ports 80 and 443, it is possible to use DataHub on forwarded ports but some extra configuration is required.

  1. Edit the Vagrantfile to expose ports 80 and/or 443 on usable ports.
    Vagrant.configure(VAGRANTFILE_API_VERSION) do |config|
      ... "forwarded_port", guest: 80, host: 18080 "forwarded_port", guest: 443, host: 18081
  2. Edit the nginx configuration file at provisions/nginx/default.conf to make the reverse proxy aware of what the new ports are.
    # Uncomment and customize:
    map $scheme $port_to_forward {
        default 18080;
        https   18081;
    location / {
        # Uncomment:
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Host $host:$port_to_forward;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Server $server_name;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Port $port_to_forward;
  3. Edit the Django settings file at src/config/ to make Django look for those headers.
    # Uncomment and set to True:
  4. From the host, run vagrant reload to bring up the VM with your custom ports forwarded.

    If you don’t mind losing all of your existing DataHub data, running vagrant destroy -f && vagrant up instead will rebuild the entire site using your new custom config. If you want to keep your existing VM’s data, follow step 5 below.

  5. Inside the VM, run:
    $ cd /vagrant
    $ sudo sh provisions/docker/
    $ sudo docker rm -f web
    $ sudo docker create --name web \
           --volumes-from logs \
           --volumes-from app \
           -v /ssl/:/etc/nginx/ssl/ \
           --net=datahub_dev \
           -p 80:80 -p 443:443 \
    $ sudo docker start web

At the end of these steps, DataHub should be reachable at http://localhost:18080 and https://localhost:18081.

Manual Installation

Follow these steps if you would prefer to forgo Vagrant and install DataHub locally. Please note that other sections of the documentation assume that you are using the Vagrant (quickstart) setup.

Clone the repo

  1. Make sure to clone the repo, git clone
  2. Navigate into the the repo, cd datahub


DataHub is built on the PostgreSQL database.

  1. Install Postgres and create a user called postgres. See here for step-by-step instructions.
  2. When the Postgres server is running, open the Postgres shell psql -U postgres
  3. Create a database for DataHub, CREATE DATABASE datahub;
  4. Quit the shell with \q

Create user_data directory

  1. Navigate to the root directory, cd /
  2. Create the user_data directory as root user, sudo mkdir user_data

We realize that this is not the best location for the user_data directory. In future commits, we’ll make this option configurable and perhaps default to a different location.

Create a virtualenv

It’s useful to install python dependencies in a virtual environment so they are isolated from other python packages in your system. To do this, use virtualenv.

  1. Install virtualenv with pip, pip install virtualenv
  2. Create a virtual environment (called venv) within the datahub directory, virtualenv venv
  3. Activate the virtual environment, source venv/bin/activate.

When you are finished with the virtual environment, run deactivate to close it.

Install dependencies with pip

Installing the dependencies for DataHub is easy using the pip package manager.

  1. Install the dependencies with pip install -r requirements.txt

Setup server and data models

  1. Update src/ with your postgres username and password.
  2. Setup the server environment, source src/ (Please note that this must be sourced from the root directory.)
  3. Generate a custom SECRET_KEY, python src/scripts/
  4. Sync with the database, python src/ migrate
  5. Migrate the data models, python src/ migrate inventory


Run server

  1. Run the server, python src/ runserver
  2. Navigate to localhost:8000

NOTE: If the server complains that a module is missing, you may need to source src/ and pip install -r requirements.txt again. Then, python src/ runserver and navigate to localhost:8000

Building the Documentation

DataHub uses Sphinx to build its documentation.

Using the default Vagrant setup:

$ vagrant ssh
$ sudo su
$ dh-rebuild-and-collect-static-files

Using a local installation of Sphinx (Sphinx is included in requirements.txt):

$ cd /path/to/datahub
$ make html

When submitting a pull request, you must include Sphinx documentation. You can achieve this by adding *.rst and linking them from other *.rst files. See the Sphinx tutorial for more information.