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Apache CouchDB README

Apache CouchDB is alpha software and still under heavy development. Please be
aware that important areas such as the public API or internal database format
may see backwards incompatible changes between versions.

Building From Checkout

You can skip this section if you are installing from a release tarball.


To build Apache CouchDB from checkout you need some of the following installed:

 * GNU Automake (>=1.6.3) (
 * GNU Autoconf (>=2.59)  (
 * GNU Libtool            (
 * GNU help2man           (

Debian-based (inc. Ubuntu) Systems

You can install the dependencies by running:

    apt-get install automake autoconf libtool help2man

Mac OS X

You can install the dependencies using MacPorts by running:

    port install automake autoconf libtool help2man


Note: You must repeat this step every time you update your checkout.

Bootstrap the pristine source by running:


Installation and First Run

UNIX-like Operating Systems (inc. Mac OS X)


To build and install Apache CouchDB you will need the following installed:

 * Erlang OTP (>=R12B)     (
 * ICU                     (
 * OpenSSL                 (
 * Mozilla SpiderMonkey    (
 * libcurl                 (
 * GNU Make                (
 * GNU Compiler Collection (

It is recommended that you install Erlang OTP R12B-4 or above where possible.

Debian-based (inc. Ubuntu) Systems

You can install the dependencies by running:

    apt-get install build-essential erlang libicu-dev libmozjs-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev

If you get an error regarding the `libicu38` or `libicu-dev` be sure to check
the version used by your distribution (using `apt-cache search libicu`) and
install those packages instead. `libcurl4-openssl-dev` is the current version of
`libcurl-dev` supplied by Ubuntu. You may need to specify an alternate package
name for libcurl bindings.

Mac OS X

To install GNU Make and the GNU Compiler Collection on Mac OS X you should
install the Xcode Tools metapackage by running:

    open /Applications/Installers/Xcode\ Tools/XcodeTools.mpkg

You can install the dependencies using MacPorts by running:

    port install icu erlang spidermonkey curl


Once you have satisfied the dependencies you should run:


Note: Apache CouchDB is installed into `/usr/local` by default. If you want to
change where Apache CouchDB is installed (or where to find Erlang) be sure to
read the output from running the `./configure --help` command.

Note: All the examples assume you have installed into `/usr/local`.

If everything was successful you should see the following message:

    You have configured Apache CouchDB, time to relax.


To install Apache CouchDB you should then run the following command:

    make && sudo make install

Note: The use of the `sudo` command is only required if you are installing into
a system owned directory. You do not need to do this if you are installing
elsewhere, such as your home directory.

If you are having problems running `make` you may want to try running `gmake` if
this is available on your system.

More options can be found by reading the `INSTALL` file.

Security Considerations

It is not advisable to run Apache CouchDB as the superuser. We strongly
recommend that you create a specific user to run Apache CouchDB and own the
data/log directories.

You can use whatever tool your system provides to create a new `couchdb` user.

On many UNIX-like systems you can run:

    adduser --system --home /usr/local/var/lib/couchdb --no-create-home \
            --shell /bin/bash --group --gecos "CouchDB Administrator" couchdb

Mac OS X provides the standard Accounts option from the System Preferences
application or you can optionally use the Workgroup Manager application which
can be downloaded as part of the Server Admin Tools:

You should make sure that the `couchdb` user has a working POSIX shell and set
the home directory to `/usr/local/var/lib/couchdb` which is the Apache CouchDB
database directory.

Change the ownership of the Apache CouchDB directories by running:

    chown -R couchdb:couchdb /usr/local/etc/couchdb
    chown -R couchdb:couchdb /usr/local/var/lib/couchdb
    chown -R couchdb:couchdb /usr/local/var/log/couchdb

Change the permission of the Apache CouchDB directories by running:

    chmod -R 0770 /usr/local/etc/couchdb
    chmod -R 0770 /usr/local/var/lib/couchdb
    chmod -R 0770 /usr/local/var/log/couchdb

Running Manually

You can start the Apache CouchDB server by running:

    sudo -i -u couchdb couchdb -b

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

When Apache 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 run the test suite.


If you're getting a cryptic error message, visit the wiki:

For general troubleshooting, visit the wiki:

Running as a Daemon

Note: These instructions assume you have created the `couchdb` user. See the
specific system information included below to learn how to reconfigure this.

Note: If any of these methods report a failure you can run the `couchdb` command
manually to see the error messages it is displaying.

The `/usr/local/etc/logrotate.d/couchdb` file is provided as a logrotate
configuration that you can use to rotate Apache CouchDB's logs.

SysV/BSD-style Systems

Depending on your system the `couchdb` init script will be installed into a
direcory called `init.d` (for SysV-style systems) or `rc.d` (for BSD-style
systems). These examples use the `[init.d|rc.d]` notation to indicate this.

You can control the Apache CouchDB daemon by running:

    /usr/local/etc/[init.d|rc.d]/couchdb [start|stop|restart|force-reload|status]

If you wish to configure how the init script works, such as which user to run
Apache CouchDB as, you must edit the `/usr/local/etc/default/couchdb` file as
appropriate. If you are running the init script as a non-superuser you need to
remove the line with the `COUCHDB_USER` setting.

If you wish the Apache CouchDB daemon to run as a system service you need to
copy the `/usr/local/etc/[init.d|rc.d]/couchdb` script into your system wide
`/etc/[init.d|rc.d]` directory and update your system configuration.

You may be able to configure your system using the following command:

    sudo update-rc.d couchdb defaults

Consult your system documentation for more information.

Mac OS X

You can use the `launchctl` command to control the Apache CouchDB daemon.

You can load the launchd configuration by running:

    sudo launchctl load /usr/local/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.couchdb.plist

You can stop the Apache CouchDB daemon by running:

    sudo launchctl unload /usr/local/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.couchdb.plist

You can start Apache CouchDB by running:

    sudo launchctl start org.apache.couchdb

You can restart Apache CouchDB by running:

    sudo launchctl stop org.apache.couchdb

You can change the launchd configuration by running:

    open /usr/local/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.couchdb.plist

If you want the Apache CouchDB daemon to run at startup, copy the
`/usr/local/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.couchdb.plist` file to your system
`/Library/LaunchDaemons` directory.


See for all the gory details.