Vagrant environment setup (in brief)

Start by cloning this repository: git clone

This is the recommended approach for all platforms, and will install the Zulip development environment inside a VM or container and works on any platform that supports Vagrant.

The best performing way to run the Zulip development environment is using an LXC container on a Linux host, but we support other platforms such as Mac via Virtualbox (but everything will be 2-3x slower).

  • If your host is Ubuntu 15.04 or newer, you can install and configure the LXC Vagrant provider directly using apt:

    sudo apt-get install vagrant lxc lxc-templates cgroup-lite redir
    vagrant plugin install vagrant-lxc

    You may want to configure sudo to be passwordless when using Vagrant LXC.

  • If your host is Ubuntu 14.04, you will need to download a newer version of Vagrant, and then do the following:

    sudo apt-get install lxc lxc-templates cgroup-lite redir
    sudo dpkg -i vagrant*.deb # in directory where you downloaded vagrant
    vagrant plugin install vagrant-lxc

    You may want to configure sudo to be passwordless when using Vagrant LXC.

  • For other Linux hosts with a kernel above 3.12, follow the Vagrant LXC installation instructions to get Vagrant with LXC for your platform.

  • If your host is OS X or older Linux, download VirtualBox, download Vagrant, and install them both.

  • If you’re on OS X and have VMWare, it should be possible to patch Vagrantfile to use the VMWare vagrant provider which should perform much better than Virtualbox. Patches to do this by default if VMWare is available are welcome!

  • On Windows: You can use Vagrant and Virtualbox/VMWare on Windows with Cygwin, similar to the Mac setup. Be sure to create your git clone using git clone -c core.autocrlf=false to avoid Windows line endings being added to files (this causes weird errors).

Once that’s done, simply change to your zulip directory and run vagrant up in your terminal to install the development server. This will take a long time on the first run because Vagrant needs to download the Ubuntu Trusty base image, but later you can run vagrant destroy and then vagrant up again to rebuild the environment and it will be much faster.

Once that finishes, you can run the development server as follows:

vagrant ssh
# Now inside the container
/srv/zulip/tools/ --interface=''

To get shell access to the virtual machine running the server to run lint, management commands, etc., use vagrant ssh.

(A small note on tools/ the --interface='' option will make the development server listen on all network interfaces. While this is correct for the Vagrant guest sitting behind a NAT, you probably don’t want to use that option when using in other environments).

At this point you should read about using the development environment.

Specifying a proxy

If you need to use a proxy server to access the Internet, you will need to specify the proxy settings before running Vagrant up. First, install the Vagrant plugin vagrant-proxyconf:

vagrant plugin install vagrant-proxyconf.

Then create ~/.zulip-vagrant-config and add the following lines to it (with the appropriate values in it for your proxy):

HTTP_PROXY http://proxy_host:port
HTTPS_PROXY http://proxy_host:port
NO_PROXY localhost,,

Now run vagrant up in your terminal to install the development server. If you ran vagrant up before and failed, you’ll need to run vagrant destroy first to clean up the failed installation.

You can also change the port on the host machine that Vagrant uses by adding to your ~/.zulip-vagrant-config file. E.g. if you set:


(and halt and restart the Vagrant guest), then you would visit http://localhost:9971/ to connect to your development server.