DEPRECATED Quickstart without sg setup

The following instructions are from our old quickstart guide before we had sg setup guiding new users through the setup process.

This guide is kept here until we’re sure that sg setup is stable.

Install dependencies

Sourcegraph has the following dependencies:

Below are instructions to install these dependencies:

  • macOS
  • Ubuntu
  • Optional: asdf for an alternate way of managing dependencies, especially different versions of programming languages.


  1. Install Homebrew.

  2. Install Docker for Mac.

    Alternatively, you can install it via brew

    brew install --cask docker
  3. Install Go, Yarn, Git, Comby, SQLite tools, and jq with the following command:

    brew install go yarn git gnu-sed comby pcre sqlite jq
  4. Choose to run Postgres and Redis manually (Option a.) or via Docker (Option b.)

    a. Install PostgreSQL and Redis Without Docker

    1. Install PostgreSQL and Redis with the following commands:

        brew install postgresql
        brew install redis
    2. (optional) Start the services (and configure them to start automatically):

        brew services start postgresql
        brew services start redis

      (You can stop them later by calling stop instead of start above.

    3. Ensure psql, the PostgreSQL command line client, is on your $PATH.

        hash psql

      If this command emits no output, you are free to move to the next step. Otherwise, you installed a Homebrew recipe that does not modify your $PATH by default. Homebrew gives you the command to run to insert psql in your path in the “Caveats” section of brew info postgresql. Alternatively, you can use the command below. It might need to be adjusted depending on your Homebrew prefix (/usr/local below) and shell (bash below).

        hash psql || { echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/opt/postgresql/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bash_profile }
        source ~/.bash_profile
    4. Open a new Terminal window to ensure psql is now on your $PATH.

    b. With Docker

    Nothing to do here, since you already installed Docker for Mac.

    We provide a docker compose file at dev/redis-postgres.yml to make it easy to run Redis and PostgreSQL as Docker containers, with docker compose.

  5. Install the Node Version Manager (nvm) using:

    NVM_VERSION="$(curl | jq -r .name)"
    curl -L"$NVM_VERSION"/ -o

    After the install script is finished, re-source your shell profile (e.g., source ~/.zshrc) or restart your terminal session to pick up the nvm definitions. Re-running the install script will update the installation.

    • For fish shell users, you will want to install bass which you can get via omf:

      curl -L | fish
      omf install bass
    • Then add the following to your

      function nvm
        bass source ~/.nvm/ --no-use ';' nvm $argv
      set -x NVM_DIR ~/.nvm
  6. Install the current recommended version of Node JS by running the following in the sourcegraph/sourcegraph repository clone (See Get the code for cloning the repository):

    nvm install
    nvm use --delete-prefix

    After doing this, node -v should show the same version mentioned in .nvmrc at the root of the sourcegraph repository.


  1. Add package repositories:

    # Go
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:longsleep/golang-backports
    # Docker
    curl -fsSL | sudo apt-key add -
    sudo add-apt-repository "deb [arch=amd64] $(lsb_release -cs) stable"
    # Yarn
    curl -sS | sudo apt-key add -
    echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yarn.list
  2. Update repositories:

    sudo apt-get update
  3. Install dependencies:

    sudo apt install -y make git-all libpcre3-dev libsqlite3-dev pkg-config golang-go docker-ce docker-ce-cli yarn jq libnss3-tools
    # Install comby
    curl -L | tar xvz
    # The extracted binary must be in your $PATH available as `comby`.
    # Here's how you'd move it to `/usr/local/bin` (which is most likely in your `$PATH`):
    chmod +x comby-*-linux
    mv comby-*-linux /usr/local/bin/comby
    # Install nvm (to manage Node.js)
    NVM_VERSION="$(curl | jq -r .name)"
    curl -L"$NVM_VERSION"/ -o
    # In sourcegraph repository directory: install current recommendend version of Node JS
    nvm install
  4. Choose to run Postgres and Redis manually (Option a.) or via Docker (Option b.)

    a. Without Docker

    1. Install PostgreSQL and Redis with the following commands:

        sudo apt install -y redis-server
        sudo apt install -y postgresql postgresql-contrib
    2. (optional) Start the services (and configure them to start automatically):

        sudo systemctl enable --now postgresql
        sudo systemctl enable --now redis-server.service

    b. With Docker

    We provide a docker compose file at dev/redis-postgres.yml to make it easy to run Redis and PostgreSQL as docker containers.

    See the official docker compose documentation for more details on different installation options.

(optional) asdf

asdf is a CLI tool that manages runtime versions for a number of different languages and tools. It can be likened to a language-agnostic version of nvm or pyenv.

We use asdf in buildkite to lock the versions of the tools that we use on a per-commit basis.


asdf binary

See the installation instructions on the official asdf documentation.


sourcegraph/sourcegraph uses the following plugins:

asdf plugin add golang
asdf plugin add nodejs

# Import the Node.js release team's OpenPGP keys to main keyring
bash ~/.asdf/plugins/nodejs/bin/import-release-team-keyring

# Have asdf read .nvmrc for auto-switching between node version
## Add the following to $HOME/.asdfrc:
legacy_version_file = yes
asdf plugin add yarn

Usage instructions

asdf uses versions specified in .tool-versions whenever a command is run from one of sourcegraph/sourcegraph’s subdirectories.

You can install the all the versions specified in .tool-versions by running asdf install.

Get the code

Run the following command in a folder where you want to keep a copy of the code. Command will create a new sub-folder (sourcegraph) in this folder.

git clone

For Sourcegraph employees: clone shared configuration

In order to run the local development environment as a Sourcegraph employee, you’ll need to clone another repository: sourcegraph/dev-private. It contains convenient preconfigured settings and code host connections.

It needs to be cloned into the same folder as sourcegraph/sourcegraph, so they sit alongside each other. To illustrate:

 |-- dev-private
 +-- sourcegraph

Start Docker


Option A: Docker for Mac

This is the easy way - just launch and wait for it to finish loading.

Option B: docker-machine

The Docker daemon should be running in the background, which you can test by running docker ps. If you’re on OS X and using docker-machine instead of Docker for Mac, you may have to run:

docker-machine start default
eval $(docker-machine env)


The docker daemon might already be running, but if necessary you can use the following commands to start it:

# as a system service
sudo systemctl enable --now docker

# manually

If you have issues running Docker, try adding your user to the docker group, and/or updating the socket file permissions, or try running these commands under sudo.

Initialize your database

With Docker

The Sourcegraph server reads PostgreSQL connection configuration from the PG* environment variables.

The development server startup script as well as the docker compose file provide default settings, so it will work out of the box.

To initialize your database, you may have to set the appropriate environment variables before running the createdb command:

createdb --host=localhost --user=sourcegraph --owner=sourcegraph --encoding=UTF8 --template=template0 sourcegraph

You can also use the PGDATA_DIR environment variable to specify a local folder (instead of a volume) to store the database files. See the dev/redis-postgres.yml file for more details.

This can also be spun up using sg run redis-postgres, with the following sg.config.override.yaml:

    PGHOST: localhost
    PGPASSWORD: sourcegraph
    PGUSER: sourcegraph

Without Docker

You need a fresh Postgres database and a database user that has full ownership of that database.

  1. Create a database for the current Unix user

    # For Linux users, first access the postgres user shell
    sudo su - postgres
    # For Mac OS users
    sudo su - _postgres
  2. Create the Sourcegraph user and password

    createuser --superuser sourcegraph
    psql -c "ALTER USER sourcegraph WITH PASSWORD 'sourcegraph';"
  3. Create the Sourcegraph database

    createdb --owner=sourcegraph --encoding=UTF8 --template=template0 sourcegraph
  4. Configure database settings in your environment

    The Sourcegraph server reads PostgreSQL connection configuration from the PG* environment variables.

    Our sg configuration in sg.config.yaml sets values that work with the setup described here, but if you want to use differnt values you can overwrite them in sg.config.overwite.yaml, like this:


More info

For more information about data storage, read our full PostgreSQL page.

Migrations are applied automatically.

Configure HTTPS reverse proxy

Sourcegraph’s development environment ships with a Caddy 2 HTTPS reverse proxy that allows you to access your local sourcegraph instance via https://sourcegraph.test:3443 (a fake domain with a self-signed certificate that’s added to /etc/hosts).

If you’d like Sourcegraph to be accessible under https://sourcegraph.test (port 443) instead, you can set up authbind and set the environment variable SOURCEGRAPH_HTTPS_PORT=443.


In order to configure the HTTPS reverse-proxy, you’ll need to edit /etc/hosts and initialize Caddy 2.

Add sourcegraph.test to /etc/hosts

sourcegraph.test needs to be added to /etc/hosts as an alias to There are two main ways of accomplishing this:

  1. Manually append sourcegraph.test to /etc/hosts
  2. Use the provided ./dev/ convenience script (sudo may be required).
> ./dev/

--- adding sourcegraph.test to '/etc/hosts' (you may need to enter your password)
Adding host(s) "sourcegraph.test" to IP address
--- printing '/etc/hosts'
...        localhost sourcegraph.test

Initialize Caddy 2

Caddy 2 automatically manages self-signed certificates and configures your system so that your web browser can properly recognize them. The first time that Caddy runs, it needs root/sudo permissions to add its keys to your system’s certificate store. You can get this out the way after installing Caddy 2 by running the following command and entering your password if prompted:

./dev/ trust

Note: If you are using Firefox and have a master password set, the following prompt will come up first:

Enter Password or Pin for "NSS Certificate DB":

Enter your Firefox master password here and proceed. See this issue on GitHub for more information.

You might need to restart your web browsers in order for them to recognize the certificates.

Start the server

Configure sg to connect to databases

If you chose to run PostgreSQL and Redis without Docker they should already be running. You can jump the next section.

If you chose to run Redis and PostgreSQL with Docker to then we need to configure sg so it can connect to them.

  1. In the sourcegraph folder, create a sg.config.overwrite.yaml file with the following contents (don’t worry, sg.config.overwrite.yaml files are ignored by git and serve as a place for your local configuration):

        POSTGRES_HOST: localhost
        PGPASSWORD: sourcegraph
        PGUSER: sourcegraph
  2. Start the databases:

    sg run redis-postgres

Keep this process running in a terminal window to keep the databases running. Follow the rest of the instructions in another terminal.

Start the server

If you are a Sourcegraph employee: start the local development server for Sourcegraph Enterprise with the following command:

sg start

If you are not a Sourcegraph employee and don’t have access to the dev-private repository: you want to start Sourcegraph OSS, do this:

sg start oss

This will continuously compile your code and live reload your locally running instance of Sourcegraph.

Navigate your browser to https://sourcegraph.test:3443 to see if everything worked.

If sg exits with errors or outputs errors, take a look at Troubleshooting or ask in the #dev-experience Slack channel.

Running the server in different configurations

If you want to run the server in different configurations (with the monitoring stack, with code insights enabled, Sourcegraph OSS, …), run the following:

sg start -help

That prints a list of possible configurations which you can start with sg start.

For example, you can start Sourcegraph in the mode it uses on by running the following in one terminal window

sg start dotcom

and then, in another terminal window, start the monitoring stack:

sg start monitoring

Additional resources

Congratulations on making it to the end of the quickstart guide! Here are some additional resources to help you go further: