Before you install, see the installation quickstart guide to make sure you have all required system dependencies installed.

Activate the virtual environment

If you’re using a virtual environment for Girder (which is recommended), remember to activate it with:

source girder_env/bin/activate

Replace girder_env with the path to your virtual environment, as appropriate.


Girder can be installed either from the Python Package Index (pypi) or via a Git repository. Installing from pypi gives you the latest distributed version. Installing from git would be more suitable for development or to have a specific commit, or to use the latest Girder features before they are released in official packages.

Install from PyPI

To install the Girder distribution from the Python package index, simply run

pip install girder

This will install the core Girder server as a site package in your system or virtual environment. At this point, you might want to check the configuration to change your plugin and logging paths. In order to use the web interface, you must also install the web client libraries. Girder installs a Python script that will automatically build and install these libraries for you. Just run the following command:

girder build


Installing the web client code requires Node.js. See the Node.js installation guide for installation instructions.


If you installed Girder into your system site-packages, you may need to run the above commands as root.

Once this is done, you are ready to start using Girder as described in this section: Run.

Installing extra dependencies with pip

Girder comes bundled with a number of Plugins that require extra Python dependencies in order to use. By default, none of these dependencies will be installed; however, you can tell pip to install them using pip’s “extras ” syntax. Each girder plugin requiring extra Python dependencies can be specified during the pip install. For example, installing girder with support for the ldap and dicom_viewer plugins can be done like this:

pip install girder[ldap,dicom_viewer]

There is also an extra you can use to install the dependencies for all bundled plugins supported in the current Python environment called plugins:

pip install girder[plugins]


Not all plugins are available in every Python version and platform. Specifying a plugin in an unsupported environment will raise an error.

Install from Git repository

Obtain the Girder source code by cloning the Git repository on TODO: change this for girder 3


git clone --branch 2.x-maintenance
cd girder


Note, it is strongly recommended that downstream (i.e. for production or to support plugin development) users installing from Git track the 2.x-maintenance branch, as this branch will always point to the latest version (which is typically pre-release) in the 2.x.x series.

To run the server, you must install some external Python package dependencies:

pip install -e .


pip install -e ./plugins/<plugin name>

to install individual plugins as well.

To build the client-side code project, cd into the root of the repository and run:

girder build

This will run multiple Grunt tasks, to build all of the Javascript and CSS files needed to run the web client application.


To run Girder, just use the following command:

girder serve

Then, open http://localhost:8080/ in your web browser, and you should see the application.

Initial Setup

Admin Console

The first user to be created in the system is automatically given admin permission over the instance, so the first thing you should do after starting your instance for the first time is to register a user. After that succeeds, you should see a link appear in the navigation bar that says Admin console.

Enable Plugins

The next recommended action is to enable any plugins you want to run on your server. Click the Admin console navigation link, then click Plugins. Here, you can turn plugins on or off. Whenever you change the set of plugins that are enabled, you need to press the Restart button at the top of the Plugins page to restart the server and apply the change.

For information about specific plugins, see the Plugins section.

Create Assetstore

After you have enabled any desired plugins and restarted the server, the next recommended action is to create an Assetstore for your system. No users can upload data to the system until an assetstore is created, since all files in Girder must reside within an assetstore. See the Assetstores section for a brief overview of Assetstores.

Installing third-party plugins

Third party plugins are packaged as standalone python packages. To install one, install the package and rebuild the web client.

pip install <plugin name>
girder build