Setting up a Nikola site is really easy. You will need a few minutes’ time and a Python 3 interpreter.
Nikola is free open-source software, under the MIT license.
The best way to install Nikola is to use
pip in a virtual environment. We recommend installing the
"Nikola[extras]" distribution to access some extra features, but you can drop the
[extras] specifier if you don’t want them. Follow instructions on the right/below.
If you’ve never worked with Python virtual environments, you might want to read Python Virtual Environments in Five Minutes.
We don’t recommend using Pipenv, Poetry, or PDM to manage Nikola. Those package managers are aimed at people developing software using Python, not running software written in Python, so using them will not offer a good user experience.
Nikola supports Windows! Here are a few things to keep in mind:
git config --global core.symlinks truebefore cloning the Nikola repo (recent versions of the git installer offer to do this for you). Nikola will work either way, but if you don’t enable symlinks, Nikola will have to fix them, which changes the working tree.
\as path separator (instead of
\r\n) as the line separator (instead of LF
Installing Nikola on macOS is easy. You can use Homebrew, MacPorts, Fink, or the Apple-provided Python 3 interpreter.
We recommend using Homebrew. After you install it, you can run
brew install python3 to install Python 3. You can then follow the instructions on the right/below. Your venvs may require fixing, reconfiguration or recreating if you update Python.
Other package/port managers, such as MacPorts or Fink may be used if you prefer them and have those installed. Make sure to use only one manager to avoid conflicts.
The Apple-provided Python 3 will work too. Starting with Catalina, Python 3 is available, and it seems to be updated reasonably often. You might need to install Xcode Command Line Tools (
xcode-select --install), or possibly the full Xcode environment (from the App Store), to use it.
Nikola is packaged for some Linux distributions, you may get that instead of installing via
pip (which is the recommended way). Keep in mind that those packages might be outdated and that we don’t support versions that are too old. Proceed with care!
You can also install Nikola from GitHub. This will get you the code that is still under development. It probably has bugs, but there are often new features or bugfixes. Start by creating and activating a virtual environment.
$ pip install "git+https://github.com/getnikola/nikola#egg=Nikola[extras]"
For development work, or if you otherwise want a local clone of the repository, use this:
$ git clone https://github.com/getnikola/nikola # wherever you store your projects; you may also use a ssh remote address $ cd nikola $ pip install -e ".[extras]"
You should not need to compile any C extension modules to run Nikola. Both lxml and Pillow have pre-compiled wheels available for Windows, macOS and Linux (compatible with all distributions).
However, if pip still attempts to compile those packages, you may need to do the following:
pip install -U pip setuptools wheel(on Windows, use
py -m pip)
Python.h, you need to install development packages for Python (eg. python3-dev or python3-devel).
There are unofficial Docker images by Olaf Meeuwissen (based on Alpine Linux) available:
$ docker pull registry.gitlab.com/paddy-hack/nikola $ docker run --rm -it -v $PWD:/site -w /site -u $(id -u):$(id -g) \ registry.gitlab.com/paddy-hack/nikola nikola init .
Check out the image’s README for details and usage hints.
There is also a Dockerfile by Rob Brewer, based on Arch Linux and official Arch packages.
There are also Snapcraft packages (
snap install nikola --edge), but those inherit many limitations of the platform and are not recommended for daily use.
First, make sure Python 3 is installed.
On macOS, we recommend getting Python from Homebrew.
On Debian/Ubuntu, you also need the python3-venv package.
When you are done installing, run:
$ python3 -m venv nikola-env $ cd nikola-env $ bin/python -m pip install -U pip setuptools wheel $ bin/python -m pip install -U "Nikola[extras]" ...snip... Successfully installed NikolaYou can now use Nikola by launching the script directly: $ bin/nikola Or you can activate the environment before working with Nikola and use the nikola command: $ source bin/activate $ nikola
First, install Python 3. Then you can run:
> py -m venv nikola-env > cd nikola-env > Scripts\python -m pip install -U pip setuptools wheel > Scripts\python -m pip install -U "Nikola[extras]" ...snip... Successfully installed NikolaYou can now use Nikola by launching the script directly: > Scripts\nikola Or you can activate the environment before working with Nikola and use the nikola command: > Scripts\activate > nikola
After installing Nikola, you should create a site. A site is a collection of all assets needed to create your site: configuration, posts, pages, images, and all other files and customizations. This is the important data, so put it where you put that kind of things.
To create a site, you need to run
nikola init --demo <directory_name>. A friendly wizard will be launched, letting you configure your site easily. The
--demo option is used to fill your site with some demo content. (If you do not want the wizard, use the
If you’re using a virtual environment, you should use the path to the Nikola script in your virtual environment (
bin/nikola init on *nix,
Scripts\nikola init on Windows), or alternatively, you can activate the environment (
source bin/activate on *nix,
Scripts\activate on Windows) and use the
nikola command directly.
Do not store your site inside your virtual environment. Virtual environments are meant to be ephemeral (you should be able to delete and recreate one at any time).
$ nikola init --demo my_first_site Creating Nikola Site ==================== This is Nikola. We will now ask you a few easy questions about your new site. If you do not want to answer and want to go with the defaults instead, simply restart with the `-q` parameter. --- Questions about the site --- Site title [My Nikola Site]: My First Nikola Site ...a couple more questions... That's it, Nikola is now configured. Make sure to edit conf.py to your liking. If you are looking for themes and addons, check out https://themes.getnikola.com/ and https://plugins.getnikola.com/. Have fun! INFO: init: A new site with example data has been created at my_first_site. INFO: init: See README.txt in that folder for more information.
You can now build the site you created. Just run
nikola build inside your site directory. The output directory will then be filled with the contents of your site, which is now ready to deploy.
$ cd my_first_site $ nikola build Scanning posts....done! . render_galleries:output/galleries . render_galleries:output/galleries/demo . render_galleries:output/galleries/index.html . render_galleries:output/galleries/rss.xml . render_galleries:output/galleries/demo/tesla4_lg.thumbnail.jpg ...and many more files in between... . render_tags:output/categories/cat_nikola.xml . render_pages:output/stories/social_buttons/index.html . render_pages:output/stories/quickref/index.html . render_tags:output/categories/python.xml . generate_rss:output/rss.xml . render_pages:output/stories/a-study-in-scarlet/index.html . sitemap:output/sitemap.xml . sitemap:output/sitemapindex.xml . robots_file:output/robots.txt
Your site currently contains demo content — that is, some Nikola documentation, a demo gallery and listing, and a blog post welcoming you.
You should make it more interesting and personal. Write your own post!
To do that, you can just use
nikola new_post -e. (The
-e option will open the post in your text editor of choice; many more options are available)
The command will create the file for you in the right place, with the metadata headers and a writing prompt.
By default, Nikola creates posts in reStructuredText. You can read the reStructuredText Primer to get accustomed to the syntax.
If you prefer Markdown, it is also available and configured by default: run
nikola new_post -e -f markdown to create a new Markdown post.
You can also use many other input formats; to do this, your site needs some special configuration.
If you want a static site that does not have any blog-related elements, see our Creating a Site (Not a Blog) with Nikola guide.
$ nikola new_post -e Creating New Post ----------------- Title: My First Blog Post! Scanning posts....done! INFO: new_post: Your post's text is at: posts/my-first-blog-post.rst
When you’re done writing your post, you must rebuild your site to make it visible on your site. Run
nikola build again.
Note that the list of files is much shorter now: Nikola does fast, incremental rebuilds (courtesy of doit). Nikola built only the pages for this post, the indexes, the feeds, and the previous post (to add a Next post navigation button). All the demo pages and assets were left untouched, saving you time and resources (it does not have to work on building some larger things, and
rsync will not have to upload everything)
$ nikola build Scanning posts....done! . render_posts:timeline_changes . render_posts:cache/posts/my-first-blog-post.html . render_sources:output/posts/my-first-blog-post/index.rst . render_archive:output/2018/index.html . render_archive:output/archive.html . render_indexes:output/index.html . render_pages:output/posts/welcome-to-nikola/index.html . generate_rss:output/rss.xml . render_pages:output/posts/my-first-blog-post/index.html . sitemap:output/sitemap.xml . sitemap:output/sitemapindex.xml
You’re done! You just created a Nikola site, wrote your first post and built your site. Congratulations!
nikola serve --browser to start the development server and open your site in a web browser. Press Ctrl+C to stop the server.
$ nikola serve --browser INFO: serve: Serving HTTP on 0.0.0.0 port 8000... INFO: serve: Opening http://0.0.0.0:8000/ in the default web browser...
conf.pyfile to your liking.
Input formats other than reStructuredText, Markdown, and raw HTML need some configuration, which has been described in The Nikola Handbook.
When you’re done exploring, you should remove the demo content before deploying it to your server. Remove the demo stories, welcome post, demo gallery and listing manually. Run
nikola build to make them disappear from the archives. Note that this is not enough; you need to delete the now orphaned files. Nikola can do it for you — run
nikola check --clean-files. Note that this command will delete all files in the output directory it does not know about, which can be dangerous — please back up your files or find out what will be deleted by using
Hint: files in the
files/ directory are copied to the output directory as-is.
The development server (
nikola serve) should not be used outside of your local network. Instead, you should use a more serious web server. Nikola sites work on any web server which can host html files. You can use shared hosting, your own server (VPS/dedicated), GitHub Pages, or any other service that lets you host a website. For more details on deployment and related configuration, see the Deployment section in the Handbook.