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Running Locally

This guide explains how to install the Development version of Directus locally so that you can work on the platform's source code. To install the Production version locally, please follow to our Docker Guide.

Minimum Requirements

You will need to have the latest version of Node to build a Development version of Directus.

You can use the JavaScript tool manager volta to automatically install the current node and npm versions.

You will also need to have the package manager pnpm installed. You can install pnpm using the following command: npm install -g pnpm.

1. Fork the Directus repository

Go to the repository and fork it to your GitHub account. A fork is your copy of the Directus repository. Forking the repository allows you to freely experiment with changes without affecting the original project.

2. Clone from your repository

git clone

3. Make a new branch

git checkout -b YOUR-BRANCH-NAME

4. Install the dependencies and build the project

pnpm install
pnpm -r build

5. Create a .env file

Create an .env file under the api folder using vars from the online config help

6. Initialize the database

For this step, you'll need to already have a SQL database up-and-running, except if you're using the SQLite driver, which will create the database (file) for you.

To start the initialization run the following command:

# Run the command in the 'api' context (to ensure the database file is created in the right directory)
pnpm --dir api cli bootstrap

This will set-up the required tables for Directus and make sure all the migrations have run.

7. Start the development server

You can run all packages in development with the following command:

pnpm -r dev

Race Conditions

When running multiple or all packages, sometimes ts-node may not start up the API properly because of race conditions due to changes happening to other packages. You can either rerun the command to restart the API or opt to choose what packages to work on as described below.

If you wish to choose what packages to work on, you should run the dev script for that package. You can see their names and list of scripts in their related package.json.

Example of running the API only:

pnpm --filter directus dev

If you want to work on multiple packages at once, you should create a new instance of your terminal for each package. Example of running both the API and App at the same time:

Terminal 1 [Api] Terminal 2 [App]
pnpm --filter directus dev
pnpm --filter @directus/app dev

To work on the Documentation (public website version), you should clone the directus/docs repository and run the following command:

pnpm install
pnpm dev


If you encounter errors during this installation process, make sure your node version meets the minimum requirements

8. Make your fixes/changes

At this point you are ready to start working on Directus! Before diving in however, it's worth reading through the introduction to Contributing.


Check our Wiki for a guide on debugging the app and API.

9. Running tests

Tests run automatically through GitHub Actions. However you may wish to run the tests locally especially when you write tests.

Install Docker and ensure that the service is running.

# Ensure that you are testing on the lastest codebase
pnpm -r build

# Clean up in case you ran the tests before
docker compose -f tests/docker-compose.yml down -v

# Start the necessary containers
docker compose -f tests/docker-compose.yml up -d --wait

# Run the tests
pnpm test:e2e