There are many ways to deploy Girder into production. Here is a set of guides on how to deploy Girder to several different platforms.

Reverse Proxy

In many cases, it is useful to route multiple web services from a single server. For example, if you have a server accepting requests at, you may want to forward requests to to a Girder instance listening on port 9000.


When using Apache, configure Apache’s mod_proxy to route traffic to these services using a reverse proxy. Add the following section to your Apache config:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ProxyPass /girder http://localhost:9000
    ProxyPassReverse /girder http://localhost:9000


Nginx can be used by adding a block such as:

location /girder/ {
    proxy_set_header Host $proxy_host;
    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Host $host;
    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
    proxy_pass http://localhost:9000/;
    # Must set the following for SSE notifications to work
    proxy_buffering off;
    proxy_cache off;
    proxy_set_header Connection '';
    proxy_http_version 1.1;
    chunked_transfer_encoding off;
    proxy_read_timeout 600s;
    proxy_send_timeout 600s;
    # proxy_request_buffering option only works on nginx >= 1.7.11
    # but is necessary to support streaming requests
    proxy_request_buffering off;

And under the containing server block, make sure to add the following rule:

server {
    client_max_body_size 500M;
    # ... elided configuration


Girder also comes with a callable WSGI application that can be run with WSGI servers like uWSGI.

A simple example of running Girder with uwsgi instead of CherryPy’s built in HTTP server would be:

uwsgi --lazy --http :8080 --module girder.wsgi --check-static clients/web

Girder Settings

In such a scenario, Girder must be configured properly in order to serve content correctly. This can be accomplished by setting a few parameters in your local configuration file at girder/conf/girder.local.cfg. In this example, we have the following:

server.socket_host = ""
server.socket_port = 9000
tools.proxy.on = True

api_root = "/girder/api/v1"
static_root = "/girder/static"


If your chosen proxy server does not add the appropriate X-Forwarded-Host header (containing the host used in http requests, including any non-default port to proxied requests), the tools.proxy.base and tools.proxy.local configuration options must also be set in the [global] section as:

tools.proxy.base = ""
tools.proxy.local = ""

After modifying the configuration, always remember to rebuild Girder by changing to the Girder directory and issuing the following command:

$ npm install && npm run build

Docker Container

Every time a new commit is pushed to master, Docker Hub is updated with a new image of a docker container running Girder. This container exposes Girder at port 8080 and requires the database URL to be passed in as an option. For more information, see the Docker Hub Page. Since the container does not run a database, you’ll need to run a command in the form:

$ docker run -p 8080:8080 girder/girder -d mongodb://db-server-external-ip:27017/girder

Google Container Engine

Google Container Engine lets you host and manage Docker containers on Google Compute Engine instances. Before following the instructions here, follow Google’s tutorial for setting up Wordpress, which will make the following steps more clear.

We will assume you have performed gcloud auth login and the following environment variables set:

$ export ZONE=us-central1-a
$ export CLUSTER_NAME=hello-girder

Start a new project in Google Developers Console (here we assume its identifier is my-girder). Set this as your active project with

$ gcloud config set project my-girder

Now click the Container Engine menu item on the left of the console to initialize the container service, then create a new cluster with:

$ gcloud preview container clusters create $CLUSTER_NAME --num-nodes 1 --machine-type n1-standard-2 --zone $ZONE

This will create two instances, a master and a worker:

$ gcloud compute instances list --zone $ZONE
k8s-hello-girder-master us-central1-a n1-standard-2 X.X.X.X       X.X.X.X        RUNNING
k8s-hello-girder-node-1 us-central1-a n1-standard-2 X.X.X.X       X.X.X.X        RUNNING

The worker will hold our Docker containers, MongoDB and Girder. The worker needs some extra storage than the standard 10GB, so let’s make a new 100GB storage drive and attach it to our worker:

$ gcloud compute disks create mongodb --size 100GB --zone $ZONE
$ gcloud compute instances attach-disk k8s-hello-girder-node-1 --disk mongodb --zone $ZONE

Now we need to ssh into our worker node, which you can do from the Developers Console, and mount the disk to /data. First we find the name of the device, here sdb.

user_name@k8s-hello-girder-node-1:~$ ls -l /dev/disk/by-id/google-*
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Nov 22 20:31 /dev/disk/by-id/google-mongodb -> ../../sdb
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Nov 22 19:32 /dev/disk/by-id/google-persistent-disk-0 -> ../../sda
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Nov 22 19:32 /dev/disk/by-id/google-persistent-disk-0-part1 -> ../../sda1

Then we create the directory and mount the drive:

user_name@k8s-hello-girder-node-1:~$ sudo mkdir /data
user_name@k8s-hello-girder-node-1:~$ sudo /usr/share/google/safe_format_and_mount -m "mkfs.ext4 -F" /dev/sdb /data

Now we are ready to install our pod, which is a collection of containers that work together. Save the following yaml specification for our MongoDB/Girder pod to pod.yaml:

    version: v1beta1
    id: girder
    kind: Pod
            version: v1beta2
                name: mongodb
                image: dockerfile/mongodb
                    name: db
                    containerPort: 27017
                    name: data
                    mountPath: /data/db
                name: application
                image: girder/girder
                    name: app
                    containerPort: 8080
                    hostPort: 80
                name: data
                        path: /data/db

Note that we are letting MongoDB use the host’s /data directory, which will have more space and will persist even if our containers are shut down and restarted. Start the pod back at your local command line with:

$ gcloud preview container pods --cluster-name $CLUSTER_NAME create girder --zone $ZONE --config-file pod.yaml

You can check the status of your pod with:

$ gcloud preview container pods --cluster-name $CLUSTER_NAME describe girder --zone $ZONE
ID          Image(s)                          Host                                                     Labels      Status
----------  ----------                        ----------                                               ----------  ----------
girder      dockerfile/mongodb,girder/girder  k8s-hello-girder-node-1.c.hello-girder.internal/X.X.X.X              Running

Add a firewall rule to expose port 80 on your worker:

$ gcloud compute firewall-rules create hello-girder-node-80 --allow tcp:80 --target-tags k8s-hello-girder-node

After everything starts, which may take a few minutes, you should be able to visit your Girder instance at http://X.X.X.X where X.X.X.X is the IP address in the container description above. Congratulations, you have a full Girder instance available on Google Container Engine!

Elastic Beanstalk

Girder comes with pre-packaged configurations for deploying onto Elastic Beanstalk’s Python platform (both 2.7 and 3.4).

The configurations live within devops/beanstalk and are designed to be copied into your working Girder directory at deploy time.

The following assumes you have a checked out copy of Girder (using git) and an existing MongoDB instance which can be accessed by your Beanstalk application.


It is highly recommended to perform the following steps in an isolated virtual environment using pip. For more see the documentation for Virtualenv.

From within the checked out copy of Girder, install and configure the CLI tools:

$ pip install awscli awsebcli
$ aws configure

Initialize the Beanstalk application with a custom name. This is an interactive process that will ask various questions about your setup (see above for supported platforms):

$ eb init my-beanstalk-app

Build Girder and its client-side assets locally:

$ pip install -e .[plugins]  # optionally build specific plugins
$ girder-install web --all-plugins  # optionally build specific plugins with --plugins


Since Girder is unable to restart and load plugins in the Beanstalk environment, plugins may be enabled/disabled but will require a restart of Beanstalk application servers to take effect. Restarting application servers can be performed from the Environment Management Console.

Create a requirements.txt for the Beanstalk application, overwriting the default Girder requirements.txt:

$ pip freeze | grep -v 'girder\|^awscli\|^awsebcli' > requirements.txt

Copy the pre-packaged configurations for Beanstalk into the current directory:

$ cp -r devops/beanstalk/. .


These are just the default tested Beanstalk configurations. It’s likely that these will have to be modified to suit individual deployments.

Beanstalk deploys code based on commits, so create a git commit with the newly added configurations:

$ git add . && git commit -m "Add Beanstalk configurations"

Create an environment to deploy code to:

$ eb create my-env-name --envvars \

At this point running eb open my-env-name should open a functioning Girder instance in your browser. Additionally, running eb terminate will terminate the newly created environment.


The pre-packaged configurations work with Amazon CloudWatch for aggregating log streams across many application servers. For this to work, the EC2 instances will need the proper policy attached to write to CloudWatch.

See also

It may be useful when deploying to AWS to make use of the built-in Girder support for S3 Assetstores.