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Buildkit is a collection of ~20 tools for developing and testing CiviCRM, the most important of which is civibuild.

Many of these tools are commonly used by web developers, so you may have already installed a few. Even so, it's generally easier to install the full collection — installing each individually takes a lot of work.

This is the same collection of tools which manages the test/demo/release infrastructure for


Buildkit supports several Unix-style environments. It may be installed on a fresh workstation or virtual machine running Ubuntu/Debian. It can also be used in a Vagrant VM or Docker container. If you wish to install in any other Unix-style system (such as macOS or RedHat), then follow the generic instructions.

Ubuntu / Debian

If you have a fresh system install of Ubuntu or Debian (with a recent version like Ubuntu 18.04 LTS), then you can download everything using the script.

Usage tips

  • You should not use root, su, or sudo except where specifically noted. Buildkit is generally designed to run as your regular user, and unnecessary root privileges will cause problems. If the installer needs elevated privileges, it will call sudo on a case-by-case basis.
  • The install script will only execute --full mode on a supported release of Ubuntu / Debian. See also: Appendix: Operating Systems.
  • The --full option is very opinionated; it specifically installs php, apache, and mysql (rather than hhvm, nginx, lighttpd, or percona). If you try to mix --full with alternative systems, then expect conflicts.
  • If you use the Ubuntu feature for "encrypted home directories", then don't put buildkit in ~/buildkit. Consider /opt/buildkit, /srv/buildkit, or some other location that remains available during reboot.
sudo apt-get install curl
curl -Ls | bash -s -- --full --dir ~/buildkit

This creates a personal workspace folder (~/buildkit) for helper scripts, caches, and builds. It also uses --full mode to download a complete set of system packages (PHP, MySQL, Apache, etc).

After running the above command, then proceed to the post-installation configuration.


Full Download: Vagrantbox - Download a prepared virtual-machine with all system dependencies (mysql, etc). This is ideal if you work on Windows or OS X.


If you have Docker running, you can use one of the following projects to run buildkit within a Docker container:


There are different versions of Buildkit on Docker. Michael McAndrew's seems to be the easiest to get started with on Linux.

Install buildkit on docker on ubuntu

Follow the official installation instructions from to install docker compose on your linux machine.

git clone
cd civicrm-buildkit-docker
sudo docker-compose up -d

Now you are ready to go.

To create a new site with buildkit run the following command:

docker-compose exec -u buildkit civicrm civibuild create dmaster --url http://localhost:8080

Alternative you can login into the conatiner and run the commands from there:

docker-compose exec -u buildkit civicrm bash

More information is in the Readme:


You may download buildkit in an existing Unix-style environment if it meets the system requirements.

Simply clone the civicrm-buildkit.git repo and run civi-download-tools, as in:

$ git clone ~/buildkit
$ cd ~/buildkit
$ ./bin/civi-download-tools

In the above example, all tools are downloaded under ~/buildkit.

Evaluating system requirements

When using the generic steps, a primary consideration will be meeting the system requirements. It is common for personal/bespoke environments to have a couple of issues meeting these requirements.

civi-download-tools will attempt to identify and report common issues (such as missing/unknown commands).

For purposes of this developer documentation, we will assume that one development environment (host or VM or container) meets all system requirements. This is not strictly required - as CiviCRM can be used in distributed deployments - but the constraint allows simpler workflows and documentation.

Post-install configuration

Configuring your path

Not needed for Vagrant/Docker installations

If you set up buildkit using Vagrant or Docker, then you don't need to perform the configuration steps listed here.

Buildkit includes many CLI commands in the bin/ folder.

You may execute the commands directly (e.g. ./bin/civix or /path/to/buildkit/bin/civix). However, this would become very cumbersome. Instead, you should configure the shell's PATH to recognize these commands automatically.


Throughout this document, we will provide examples which assume that buildkit was downloaded to /path/to/buildkit. Be sure to adjust the examples to match your system.

If you want to ensure that the buildkit CLI tools are always available, then:

  1. Determine the location of your shell configuration file. This is usually ~/.bash_profile, or ~/.profile. You may have to create one.
  2. At the end of the file, add PATH="/path/to/buildkit/bin:$PATH".
  3. If you are on a mac, you can close and re-open your terminal. On other systems, you will need to log-out or source your ~/.profile with source ~/.profile.
  4. Enter the command civibuild -h. This should display a help screen for civibuild. If you get 'command not found', then check your path and retry the steps above.


For most installations with the standard buildkit install script the following lines in your shell configuration file will work.

# Add ~/buildkit/bin to path if it exists.
if [ -d "$HOME/buildkit/bin" ] ; then

More on bash $PATH

On most OS's ~/.profile is run only once when you login to your desktop. There is a distinction between "login shells" and "non-login shells" which you don't really need to worry about, except that the distinction is the reason that you should set your $PATH in your ~/.profile and not your ~/.bashrc.

When you open a terminal (non-login), ~/.bashrc will be executed. The common idiom for changing the path is to add to the $PATH, not rebuild it, so if you update your $PATH every time a shell is invoked, your $PATH will continually grow. This is not really a problem, but you might want to be aware of this.

If you are on a mac, the situation is reversed. That is, your $PATH is not set when you login into your desktop and every terminal you open is a "login shell" and ~/.profile will be executed every time.

You do not need to run export PATH=... because your system certainly has already exported the $PATH variable and you only need to update it.



Buildkit includes specific versions of some fairly popular tools (such as drush, phpunit, and wp-cli), and it's possible that you have already installed other versions of these tools.

By design, buildkit can coexist with other tools, but you must manually manage the PATH.

Whenever you wish to use buildkit, manually run a command like, e.g.:

export PATH=/path/to/buildkit/bin:$PATH

To restore your normal PATH, simply close the terminal and open a new one.

Each time you open a new terminal while working on Civi development, you would need to re-run the export command.

Configuring amp

Buildkit provides a tool called amp which civibuild uses when it needs to set up a new site. Before you can use civibuild, need to configure amp by telling it a bit about your system (e.g. what webserver you're using).

  1. Run the interactive configuration tool.

    $ amp config


    • Run this as a non-root user who has sudo permission. This will ensure that new files are owned by a regular user, and (if necessary) it enables civibuild to restart your webserver and edit /etc/hosts.
    • Pay close attention to any instructions given in the output of this command.
    • To check which version of apache you have, run apachectl -v.


    We strongly recommend using Apache as your webserver because support for nginx is limited.

  2. Test amp's configuration

    $ amp test

    The test is successful if you see Received expected response at the end.

    If the test produces any errors, you might try re-running the above config steps and/or asking for help in the developer chat room.

  3. After amp is configured, you can move on to running civibuild to build a local development installation of CiviCRM.


Node JS issues

Nodejs version too old or npm update does not work:

Download the latest version from and follow their instructions

Nodejs problems

It might be handy to run

npm update
npm install fs-extra

Website login issues

If you find that when you try and login to a new buildkit build or similar and it doesn't seem to login just redirects to the same page. This may mean that the rewrite module for apache is not enabled. To enable it do the following

sudo a2enmod rewrite

After enabling the rewite module you will need to restart apache.


GitLab CI

The installation script can be tested using GitLab CI and the docker executor. This will run the installation script against supported Debian and Ubuntu versions using Docker. Technical details can be found reading the .gitlab-ci.yml file in the repository root.

Upgrading buildkit

New versions of buildkit are likely to include new versions of tools. The new tools will download automatically when you first run civibuild. If you prefer to download explicitly, then re-run civi-download-tools.

The configurations and tools in buildkit are periodically updated. To get the latest, simply run:

cd ~/buildkit
git pull

See the buildkit changelog for info about specific changes to buildkit.

When upgrading civix, check upgrade instructions.

If you see an upgrade to civix in the changelog, and if you maintain extensions with civix, then check the general civix upgrade documentation and

Appendix: Operating Systems

Currently Buildkit includes specific, tested install steps for the following Ubuntu and Debian operating system releases. Note that recently removed versions are shown in this list for information and are marked in the final column.

There are no specific installer steps for macOS but Buildkit itself is fully usable on a Mac. Buildkit does not natively support running on Windows at this time but other options are available (e.g: Vagrant/Docker).


Versions of Ubuntu and Debian running on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and WSL2 are not currently compatible with Buildkit.


Version Codename Release Date EoL Date Buildkit Removal
20.04 Focal Fossa April 2020 April 2025 October 2025
19.04 Disco Dingo April 2019 January 2020 🔴 June 2020
18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish October 2018 July 2019 🔴 January 2020
18.04 Bionic Beaver April 2018 April 2023 October 2023
17.10 Artful Aardvark October 2017 July 2018 🔴 January 2019
17.04 Zesty Zapus* April 2017 January 2018 🔴 July 2018
16.10 Yakkety Yak* October 2016 July 2017 🔴 January 2018
16.04 Xenial Xerus April 2016 April 2021 October 2021
14.04 Trusty Tahr April 2014 April 2019 🔴 October 2019
12.04 Precise Pangolin April 2012 April 2017 🔴 October 2017

* = Reuses installation steps for Xenial Xerus. 🔴 = Is currently EoL. = Has been removed from Buildkit


Version Codename Release Date EoL Date Buildkit Removal
11 Bullseye September 2021 202x Unknown
10 Buster July 2019 202x Unknown
9 Stretch June 2017 2022 Unknown
8 Jessie April 2015 June 2020 September 2020


Our current policy is that these specific install steps will be removed from Buildkit when they reach their End Of Life (EoL) date plus 6 months. See this issue for discussion/information.