Option 1: Package Installation

This section describes how to install CKAN from packages. This is the recommended and by far the easiest way to install CKAN.

Package install requires you to use Ubuntu 10.04: either locally, through a virtual machine or Amazon EC2. Your options are as follows:

  • Using Ubuntu 10.04 directly.
  • Option A: Using VirtualBox. This is suitable if you want to host your CKAN instance on a machine running any other OS.
  • Option B: Using Amazon EC2. This is suitable if you want to host your CKAN instance in the cloud, on a ready-made Ubuntu OS.


We recommend you use package installation unless you are a core CKAN developer or have no access to Ubuntu 10.04 through any of the methods above, in which case, you should use Option 2: Install from Source.

For support during installation, please contact the ckan-dev mailing list.

Prepare your System

CKAN runs on Ubuntu 10.04. If you are already using Ubuntu 10.04, you can continue straight to Run the Package Installer.

However, if you’re not, you can either use VirtualBox to set up an Ubuntu VM on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and Solaris. Alternatively, you can use an Amazon EC2 instance.

Option A: Using VirtualBox

This option is suitable if you want to install CKAN on a machine running an OS other than Ubuntu 10.04. VirtualBox lets you set up a virtual machine to run Ubuntu 10.04.

Pre-requisites and Downloads

First, check your machine meets the pre-requisites for VirtualBox. These include a fairly recent processor and some spare memory.

Then download the installation files.

Install VirtualBox


This tutorial is for a Mac, but you can find instructions for installing VirtualBox on any OS in the VirtualBox Manual.

To install, double-click on the VirtualBox installer:

The VirtualBox installer - getting started

Click Continue to begin the installation process. Enter your password when required, and wait for the installation to finish.

Create Your Virtual Machine

Go to Applications and open VirtualBox, then click New:

The VirtualBox installer - the New Virtual Machine Wizard

Give your VM a name - we’ll call ours ubuntu_ckan. Under OS Type, choose Linux and Ubuntu 64-bit.

The VirtualBox installer - choosing your operating system

Leave the memory size as 512MB, and choose Create new hard disk. This will open a new wizard:

The VirtualBox installer - creating a new hard disk

You can leave the defaults unchanged here too - click Continue, and then Done, and Done again, to create a new VM.

Next, choose your VM from the left-hand menu, and click Start:

Starting your new VM

This will open the First Run Wizard:

The VirtualBox First Run Wizard

After clicking Continue, you’ll see Select Installation Media. This is where we need to tell our VM to boot from Ubuntu. Click on the file icon, and find your Ubuntu .iso file:

When you get to Select Installation Media, choose your Ubuntu .iso file

Click Done, wait for a few seconds, and you will see your Ubuntu VM booting.

Set Up Ubuntu

During boot, you will be asked if you want to try Ubuntu, or install it. Choose Install Ubuntu:

Booting Ubuntu - choose the Install Ubuntu option

You can then follow the usual Ubuntu installation process.

After Ubuntu is installed, from the main menu, choose System > Administration > Update Manager. You’ll be asked if you want to install updates - say yes.

When all the updates have been downloaded and installed, you’ll be prompted to reboot Ubuntu.

At this point, you can proceed to Run the Package Installer.

Option B: Using Amazon EC2

If you prefer to run your CKAN package install in the cloud, you can use an Amazon EC2 instance, which is a fairly cheap and lightweight way to set up a server.

Create an Amazon Account

If you don’t already have an Amazon AWS account you’ll need to create one first. You can create an Amazon AWS account for EC2 here.

Configure EC2

Once you have an EC2 account, you’ll need to configure settings for your CKAN instance.

Start by logging into your Amazon AWS Console and click on the EC2 tab.

Select the region you want to run your CKAN instance in - the security group you set up is region-specific. In this tutorial, we use EU West, so it will be easier to follow if you do too.

Set up a Security Group

Click the Security Groups link in the My Resources section in the right-hand side of the dashboard.


Create a security group called web_test that gives access to ports 22, 80 and 5000 as shown below. This is needed so that you’ll actually be able to access your server once it is created. You can’t change these settings once the instance is running, so you need to do so now.

_images/3a.png _images/3b.png
Create a Keypair

Now create a new keypair ckan_test to access your instance:


When you click Create, your browser will prompt you to save a keypair called ckan_test.pem:


In this tutorial, we save the keypair in ~/Downloads/ckan_test.pem, but you should save it somewhere safe.


If you plan to boot your EC2 instance from the command line, you need to remember where you’ve put this file.

Boot the EC2 Image

CKAN requires Ubuntu 10.04 to run (either the i386 or amd64 architectures). Luckily Canonical provide a range of suitable images.

The cheapest EC2 instance is the micro one, but that isn’t very powerful, so in this tutorial, we’ll use the 32-bit small version.

We’re in eu-west-1 and we’ll use an instance-only image (i.e. all the data will be lost when you shut it down) so we need the ami-3693a542 AMI.


There are more recent Ubuntu images at http://cloud.ubuntu.com/ami/ but we need the older 10.04 LTS release.

At this point, you can either boot this image from the AWS console or launch it from the command line.

Option 1: Boot the EC2 Image AMI via the AWS Console

From the EC2 dashboard, choose Launch instance >:

Choose launch instance from the EC2 dashboard

Now work through the wizard as shown in the following screenshots.

In the first step search for ami-3693a542 and select it from the results (it may take a few seconds for Amazon to find it).


No image other than ami-3693a542 will work with CKAN.

Search for image ami-3693a542

You can keep the defaults for all of the following screens:

Keep the defaults while setting up your instance Keep the defaults while setting up your instance Keep the defaults while setting up your instance Keep the defaults while setting up your instance

Choose the web_test security group you created earlier:

Choose the web_test security group you created earlier

Then finish the wizard:

Finish the wizard

Finally click the View your instances on the Instances page link:

View your instance

After a few seconds you’ll see your instance has booted. Now skip to Log in to the Instance.

Option 2: Boot the EC2 Image AMI from the Command Line

[You can skip this section if you’ve just booted from the AWS console and go straight to Log in to the Instance]

To boot from the command line you still need the same information but you enter it in one command. I’ll show you now.

Install The EC2 Tools Locally

If you are on Linux, you can just install the tools like this:

sudo apt-get install ec2-ami-tools
sudo apt-get install ec2-api-tools

If you are on Windows or Mac you’ll need to download them from the Amazon website.

Once the software is installed you can use the files you’ve just downloaded to do create your instance.

Get Security Certificates

Next click on the Account link, right at the top of the screen, and you’ll see this screen:

The Account screen

From this screen choose Security Credentials from the left hand side. Once the page has loaded scroll down and you’ll see the Access Credentials section. Click on the X.509 Certificate tab:

The Access Credentials screen

Here you’ll be able to create an X.509 certificate and private key.


You can only have two X.509 certificates at any given time, so you might need to inactivate an old one first and then delete it before you are allowed to create a new one, as in the screenshot above.

Once you click the Create New Certificate link you get a popup which allows you to download the certificate and private key - do this. Once again, ours are in ~/Downloads, but you should save it somewhere safe.

Download your certificate


Amazon will only give you a private key file once when you create it so although you can always go back to get a copy of the certificate, you can only get the private key once. Make sure you save it in a safe place.

You now have:

  • Your private key (pk-[ID].pem)
  • Your certificate file (cert-[ID].pem)
  • Your new keypair (ckan-test.pem)

The private key and the certificate files have the same name in the ID part.

Create an Ubuntu Instance

Once the tools are installed, run this command:

ec2-run-instances ami-3693a542 --instance-type m1.small --region eu-west-1 --group web_test \
    --key ckan_test \
    --private-key ~/Downloads/pk-[ID].pem \
    --cert ~/Downloads/cert-[ID].pem


The --key argument is the name of the keypair (ckan_test), not the certificate itself (ckan_test.pem).


Amazon charge you for a minimum of one hour usage, so you shouldn’t create and destroy lots of EC2 instances unless you want to be charged a lot.

Log in to the Instance

Once your instance has booted, you will need to find out its public DNS. Give it a second or two for the instance to load then browse to the running instance in the AWS console. If you tick your instance you’ll be able to find the public DNS by scrolling down to the bottom of the Description tag.

Find the public DNS

Here you can see that our public DNS is ec2-79-125-86-107.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com. The private DNS only works from other EC2 instances so isn’t any use to us.

Once you’ve found your instance’s public DNS, ensure the key has the correct permissions:

chmod 0600 "ckan_test.pem"

You can then log in like this:

ssh -i ~/Downloads/ckan_test.pem [email protected]

The first time you connect you’ll see this, choose yes:

RSA key fingerprint is 6c:7e:8d:a6:a5:49:75:4d:9e:05:2e:50:26:c9:4a:71.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
Warning: Permanently added 'ec2-79-125-86-107.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com,' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.

When you log in you’ll see a welcome message. You can now proceed to Run the Package Installer.


If this is a test install of CKAN, when you have finished using CKAN, you can shut down your EC2 instance through the AWS console.


Shutting down your EC2 instance will lose all your data. Also, Amazon charge you for a minimum usage of one hour, so don’t create and destroy lots of EC2 instances unless you want to be charged a lot!

Run the Package Installer

On your Ubuntu 10.04 system, open a terminal window and switch to the root user:

sudo -s

Install the CKAN packages as follows:

echo 'deb http://apt.okfn.org/ubuntu_ckan-std_dev lucid universe' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/okfn.list
wget -qO-  http://apt.okfn.org/packages.okfn.key | sudo apt-key add -
apt-get update
apt-get install ckan-std

Wait for the output to finish, then create your CKAN instance:


If you are using Amazon EC2, you will additionally need to set the hostname of your server. To do this, run the command below, replacing ec2-46-51-149-132.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com with the public DNS of your EC2 instance. Leave the / at the end, as it is part of the sed command. Then restart Apache. You can skip this if installing on VirtualBox or a local server.

sudo sed -e "s/ServerAlias \(.*\)/ServerAlias ec2-46-51-149-132.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com/" \
         -i /etc/apache2/sites-available/std.common
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Finally visit your CKAN instance - either at your Amazon EC2 hostname, or at http://localhost. You’ll be redirected to the login screen because you won’t have set up any permissions yet, so the welcome screen will look something like this.


You can now proceed to Post-Installation Setup.