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.

Install from Git repository

If you wish to develop Girder itself, or need to switch to an unreleased branch, you can install Girder via git. Obtain the Girder source code by cloning the Git repository on


git clone
pip install -e ./girder

Plugins must be installed as separate packages. Once all plugins are installed, you can build the web client code by running:

girder build


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