Local deployment

This method is for deploying Open edX locally on a single server, where docker images are orchestrated with docker-compose.


As of v16.0.0, Tutor now uses the docker compose subcommand instead of the separate docker-compose command.

In the following, environment and data files will be generated in a user-specific project folder which will be referred to as the “project root”. On Linux, the default project root is ~/.local/share/tutor. An alternative project root can be defined by passing the --root=... option to the tutor command, or defining the TUTOR_ROOT=... environment variable:

tutor --root=/path/to/tutorroot run ...
# Or equivalently:
export TUTOR_ROOT=/path/to/tutorroot
tutor run ...

Main commands

All available commands can be listed by running:

tutor local --help

All-in-one command

A fully-functional platform can be configured and run in one command:

tutor local launch

But you may want to run commands one at a time: it’s faster when you need to run only part of the local deployment process, and it helps you understand how your platform works. In the following, we decompose the launch command.


tutor config save --interactive

This is the only non-automatic step in the installation process. You will be asked various questions about your Open edX platform and appropriate configuration files will be generated. If you would like to automate this step then you should run tutor config save --interactive once. This will generate a config.yml file in the project root. This file contains all the configuration values for your platform, such as randomly generated passwords, domain names, etc. The location of the project root can be found by running tutor config printroot. See section above.

If you want to run a fully automated installation, upload the config.yml file to wherever you want to run Open edX. You can then entirely skip the configuration step.

Update docker images

tutor local dc pull

This downloads the latest version of the Docker images from Docker Hub. Depending on your bandwidth, this might take a long time. Minor image updates will be incremental, and thus much faster.

Running Open edX

tutor local start

This will launch the various docker containers required for your Open edX platform. The LMS and the Studio will then be reachable at the domain name you specified during the configuration step.

To stop the running containers, just hit Ctrl+C.

In production, you will probably want to daemonize the services. To do so, run:

tutor local start --detach

And then, to stop all services:

tutor local stop

Service initialisation

tutor local do init

This command should be run just once. It will initialise all applications in a running platform. In particular, this will create the required databases tables and apply database migrations for all applications.

If initialisation is stopped with a Killed message, this certainly means the docker containers don’t have enough RAM. See the Troubleshooting section.


By default, logs from all containers are forwarded to the default Docker logging driver: this means that logs are printed to the standard output when running in non-daemon mode (tutor local start). In daemon mode, logs can still be accessed with tutor local logs commands (see logging).

In addition, all LMS and CMS logs are persisted to disk by default in the following files:

$(tutor config printroot)/data/lms/logs/all.log
$(tutor config printroot)/data/cms/logs/all.log

Finally, tracking logs that store user events are persisted in the following files:

$(tutor config printroot)/data/lms/logs/tracking.log
$(tutor config printroot)/data/cms/logs/tracking.log


You can view your platform’s containers:

tutor local status

Notice the State column in the output. It will tell you whether each container is starting, restarting, running (Up), cleanly stopped (Exit 0), or stopped on error (Exit N, where N ≠ 0).

Common tasks

Creating a new user with staff and admin rights

You will most certainly need to create a user to administer the platform. Just run:

tutor local do createuser --staff --superuser yourusername user@email.com

You will be asked to set the user password interactively.

Importing the demo course

After a fresh installation, your platform will not have a single course. To import the Open edX demo course, run:

tutor local do importdemocourse

Setting a new theme

The default Open edX theme is rather bland, so Tutor makes it easy to switch to a different theme:

tutor local do settheme mytheme

Out of the box, only the default “open-edx” theme is available. We also developed Indigo, a beautiful, customizable theme which is easy to install with Tutor.

Running arbitrary manage.py commands

Any ./manage.py command provided by Open edX can be run in a local platform deployed with Tutor. For instance, to delete a course, run:

tutor local run cms ./manage.py cms delete_course <your_course_id>

To update the course search index, run:

# Run this command periodically to ensure that course search results are always up-to-date.
tutor local run cms ./manage.py cms reindex_course --all --setup

Reloading Open edX settings

After modifying Open edX settings, for instance when running tutor config save, you will want to restart the web processes of the LMS and the CMS to take into account those new settings. It is possible to simply restart the whole platform (with tutor local reboot) or just a single service (tutor local restart lms) but that is overkill. A quicker alternative is to send the HUP signal to the uwsgi processes running inside the containers. The “openedx” Docker image comes with a convenient script that does just that. To run it, execute:

tutor local exec lms reload-uwsgi

Customizing the deployed services

You might want to customise the docker-compose services listed in $(tutor config printroot)/env/local/docker-compose.yml. To do so, you should create a docker-compose.override.yml file in that same folder:

vim $(tutor config printroot)/env/local/docker-compose.override.yml

The values in this file will override the values from docker-compose.yml and docker-compose.prod.yml, as explained in the docker-compose documentation.

Similarly, the job service configuration can be overridden by creating a docker-compose.jobs.override.yml file in that same folder.