Apache CouchDB INSTALL.Unix

A high-level guide to Unix-like systems, inc. Mac OS X and Ubuntu.

Community installation guides are available on the wiki:


If you are trying to build CouchDB from a git checkout rather than a .tar.gz, see the DEVELOPERS file.

This document is the canonical source of installation information. However, many systems have gotchas that you need to be aware of. In addition, dependencies frequently change as distributions update their archives. If you're running into trouble, be sure to check out the wiki. If you have any tips to share, please also update the wiki so that others can benefit from your experience.


There is a troubleshooting guide:


There is a wiki for general documentation:


There are collection of friendly mailing lists:


Please work through these in order if you experience any problems.


You should have the following installed:

To build Fauxton, you should have the following installed:

To build the documentation, you should have the following installed:

It is recommended that you install Erlang OTP R16B03-1 or above where possible. You will only need libcurl if you plan to run the JavaScript test suite. And help2man is only need if you plan on installing the CouchDB man pages. Python and Sphinx are only required for building the online documentation. Documentation build can be disabled by adding the --disable-docs flag to the configure script.

Debian-based Systems

You can install the dependencies by running:

sudo apt-get --no-install-recommends -y install \
    build-essential pkg-config erlang erlang-reltool \
    libicu-dev libmozjs185-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev

You can install the Node.JS dependencies via NodeSource.

You can install the documentation dependencies by running:

sudo apt-get --no-install-recommends -y install \

Be sure to update the version numbers to match your system's available packages.

RedHat-based (Fedora, Centos, RHEL) Systems

You can install the dependencies by running:

sudo yum install autoconf autoconf-archive automake \
    curl-devel erlang-asn1 erlang-erts erlang-eunit \
    erlang-os_mon erlang-xmerl help2man \
    js-devel-1.8.5 libicu-devel libtool perl-Test-Harness

You can install the Node.JS dependencies via NodeSource.

The built-in packages for Sphinx in RHEL repositories are too old to run the documentation build process. Instead, use pip:

sudo yum install python-pip
sudo pip install sphinx

Mac OS X

To build CouchDB from source on Mac OS X, you will need to install the Command Line Tools:

xcode-select --install

You can then install the other dependencies by running:

brew install autoconf autoconf-archive automake libtool \
    erlang icu4c spidermonkey curl pkg-config

You can install the Node.JS dependencies via the official Macintosh installer.

You can install the documentation dependencies by running:

sudo easy_install pip
sudo pip install sphinx

You will need Homebrew installed to use the brew command.

Learn more about Homebrew at:


Some versions of Mac OS X ship a problematic OpenSSL library. If you're experiencing troubles with CouchDB crashing intermittently with a segmentation fault or a bus error, you will need to install your own version of OpenSSL. See the wiki, mentioned above, for more information.


FreeBSD requires the use of GNU Make. Where make is specified in this documentation, substitute gmake.

You can install this by running:

pkg install gmake

You can install the remaining dependencies by running:

pkg install npm4 help2man openssl icu curl git \
    autoconf automake libtool node spidermonkey185


Once you have satisfied the dependencies you should run:


If you wish to customize the installation, pass --help to this script.

If everything was successful you should see the following message:

You have configured Apache CouchDB, time to relax.


To build CouchDB you should run:

make release

Try gmake if make is giving you any problems.

If everything was successful you should see the following message:

... done
You can now copy the rel/couchdb directory anywhere on your system.
Start CouchDB with ./bin/couchdb from within that directory.


User Registration

For OS X, in the steps below, substitute /Users/couchdb for /home/couchdb.

You should create a special couchdb user for CouchDB.

On many Unix-like systems you can run:

adduser --system \
        --home /opt/couchdb \
        --no-create-home \
        --shell /bin/bash \
        --group --gecos \
        "CouchDB Administrator" couchdb

On Mac OS X you can use the Workgroup Manager to create users up to version 10.9, and dscl or sysadminctl after version 10.9. Search Apple's support site to find the documentation appropriate for your system. As of recent versions of OS X, this functionality is also included in Server.app, available through the App Store only as part of OS X Server.

You must make sure that the user has a working POSIX shell.

You can test this by:

* Trying to log in as the `couchdb` user

* Running `pwd` and checking the present working directory

Copy the built couchdb release to the new user's home directory:

cp -R /path/to/couchdb/rel/couchdb /opt/couchdb

Change the ownership of the CouchDB directories by running:

chown -R couchdb:couchdb /opt/couchdb

Change the permission of the CouchDB directories by running:

find /opt/couchdb -type d -exec chmod 0770 {} \;

Update the permissions for your ini files:

chmod 0644 /opt/couchdb/etc/*

First Run

You can start the CouchDB server by running:

sudo -i -u couchdb couchdb/bin/couchdb

This uses the sudo command to run the couchdb command as the couchdb user.

When CouchDB starts it should eventually display the following message:

Apache CouchDB has started, time to relax.


To check that everything has worked, point your web browser to:

From here you should verify your installation by pointing your web browser to:


Running as a Daemon

The couchdb team recommends runit to run CouchDB persistently and reliably. Configuration of runit is straightforward; if you have questions, reach out to the CouchDB user mailing list.

Naturally, you can configure systemd, launchd or SysV-init daemons to launch CouchDB and keep it running using standard configuration files. Sample scripts are in the couchdb-pkg repository:

Consult your system documentation for more information.