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Without Docker

In order to have get started with developing hypha locally, you'll need these minimal setup, the setup may vary slightly for your base operating systems.

System Dependencies

Make sure you have these things installed on your system:

  • Git
  • Python 3.10.x
  • PostgreSQL 12.x (with libpq-dev on Linux)
  • Node 16.x

On Linux install them with your normal package manager. On macOS Homebrew is an excellent option. For Windows Chocolatey seems popular but we have no experience with Windows.

Get Source Code

Use git to fetch the code, this will create a hypha/ directory.

$ git clone hypha

Now, create some local directories.

$ cd hypha
$ mkdir -p var/log media

NOTE: In production media is stored on AWS S3 but for local development you need a "media" directory. The var/log is used to store local logs, if configured.

OBS! Everything from now on will happen inside the hypha/ directory.

Install project dependencies

First create and activate python virtual environment:

$ python3 -m venv .venv/
$ source .venv/bin/activate

Now, install Python packages inside the virtual environment:

$ python -m pip install -r requirements-dev.txt

Add/Update Configuration

There are two ways to manage the Django settings in Hypha:

Using hypha/settings/

When you use the "dev" settings it will included all the setting you put in Copy the local settings example file.

$ cp -p hypha/settings/ hypha/settings/

Open and take a look at the, it already has some sensible defaults and you can use this to override all the settings.

Using .env file

It is also possible to use a local .env, to use it create a new .env file at the root of the project.



On production it's recommended to use environment variables for all settings. For local development putting them in a file is however convenient.

Setup Database and Initial Data

Create an empty database:

$ createdb hypha-db

Ensure database name hypha-db is added to your hypha/settings/ or .env.

Let's create all the tables and schemas required by the project.

There are two ways to about it, you can either load demo data from /public/sandbox_db.dump or start with empty tables.

To load demo data run:

$ pg_restore --verbose --clean  --if-exists --no-acl --no-owner \
             --dbname=hypha-db public/sandbox_db.dump

It's not always completely up to date so run:

$ python migrate --noinput

Create the cache tables.

$ python createcachetable

Run all migrations to set up the database tables.

$ python migrate --noinput


  • If createdband dropdb are not available you will need to add the Postgres bin directory to your path or call the commands with complete path.
  • If you need to delete/drop the database, you can use $ dropdb hypha-db
  • On Linux you might need to run as the "postgres" user first when setting up Postgres. Use it to create the database and set up a database user.For local development I suggest creating a user with the same name as your account, then you will not need to specify it on every command.

    $ su - postgres
    $ createdb hypha-db
    $ createuser [your-account-name]

Setup Sites

You will need two domain to run this app, used to serve the public and apply site on different domains

First, add these sites to the database:

$ python wagtailupdatesite hypha.test apply.hypha.test 9001

Then, add this to your /etc/hosts file.

/etc/hosts hypha.test apply.hypha.test

Here we are setting the public site be served at http://hypha.test:9001 and apply site to http://apply.hypha.test:9001.

Is it safe to use .test?

The ".test" TLD is safe to use, it's reserved for testing purposes. Feel free to use another name but then remember to use it in all the commands below.

Create Login credentials

$ python createsuperuser

Frontend Setup

Hypha uses nodejs to compile SCSS and JS from the static_src directory. If are not required to touch them, you can skip these step.

Install node dependencies:

$ npm install

Build all assets for development:

$ npm run dev:build


See the package.json file for a complete list of commands. Here are the most common in development.

Run Development Server

$ python runserver

Alternatively, you can also use $ make serve-django

Now you should be able to access the sites:

  1. Public Site: http://hypha.test:9001/
  2. Apply Site: http://apply.hypha.test:9001/


To live preview of documentation, while you writing it.

Activate your virtual environment and install dependencies:

$ python -m pip install -r requirements-dev.txt


$ make serve-docs

Open http://localhost:9100/ to preview the documentation site.


You can use $ make serve command to run Django Development Server, watch and compile frontend changes and preview docs all at once.

Running tests

Hypha uses ruff and py.test test runner and uses hypha/settings/ for test settings. For frontend code, stylelint and eslint is used.

Run the test with:

$ make test

For lint the code and not run the full test suite you can use:

$ make lint

Helpful URLs

Use the email address and password you set in the createsuperuser step above to login.

Last update: 2023-03-20