Reference: CKAN Configuration Options

You can change many important CKAN settings in the CKAN config file. This is the file called std.ini that you first encountered in Create an Admin User. It is usually located at /etc/ckan/std/std.ini.

The file is well-documented, but we recommend reading this section in full to learn about the CKAN config options available to you.


After editing this file, you will need to restart Apache for the changes to take effect.


The CKAN config file also includes general Pylons options. All CKAN-specific settings are in the [app:main] section.

Database Settings



sqlalchemy.url = postgres://tester:[email protected]/ckantest3

This defines the database that CKAN is to use. The format is:

sqlalchemy.url = postgres://USERNAME:[email protected]/DBNAME

Front-End Settings




Default value: (none)

This is for a description, or tag line for the site, as displayed in the header of the CKAN web interface.



ckan.favicon =

Default value: /images/icons/ckan.ico

This sets the site’s favicon. This icon is usually displayed by the browser in the tab heading and bookmark.



ckan.site_about=${g.site_title} is a community-driven catalogue of open data for the Greenfield area.

Default value:

What was the <a href="">average price</a> of a house in the UK in 1935? When will India's projected population <a href="">overtake</a> that of China? Where can you see <a href="">publicly-funded art</a> in Seattle? Data to answer many, many questions like these is out there on the Internet somewhere - but it is not always easy to find.</p>

 <p i18n:msg="">${g.site_title} is a community-run catalogue of useful sets of data on the Internet. You can collect links here to data from around the web for yourself and others to use, or search for data that others have collected. Depending on the type of data (and its conditions of use), ${g.site_title} may also be able to store a copy of the data or host it in a database, and provide some basic visualisation tools.

This changes the text about the site on the ‘About’ page. i.e. replaces the text in the “About <site_name” section. The other sections of the About page are not affected.

Format tips:

  • multiline strings can be used by indenting following lines
  • the format is basically HTML, but with Genshi-format strings
  • the about text will be automatically be placed with-in paragraph tags <p>...</p> but you can start new paragraphs within that by using </p><p>


Whilst the default text is translated into many languages (switchable in the page footer), the text in this configuration option will not be translatable.



package_hide_extras = my_private_field other_field

Default value: (empty)

This sets a space-separated list of extra field key values which will not be shown on the dataset read page.


While this is useful to e.g. create internal notes, it is not a security measure. The keys will still be available via the API and in revision diffs.



rdf_packages =

Configure this if you have an RDF store of the same datasets as are in your CKAN instance. It will provide three sorts of links from each dataset page to the equivalent RDF URL given in rdf_packages:

  1. 303 redirects for clients that content-negotiate rdf-xml or turtle. e.g. client GETs with accept header application/rdf+xml curl -H "Accept: application/rdf+xml" CKAN’s response is a 303 redirect to which can be obtained with: curl -L -H "Accept: application/rdf+xml"
  2. Embedded links for browsers that are aware. e.g. <link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rdf+xml” href=””>
  3. A visible RDF link on the page. e.g. <a href=””>

dumps_url & dumps_format


ckan.dumps_url =
ckan.dumps_format = CSV/JSON

If there is a page which allows you to download a dump of the entire catalogue then specify the URL and the format here, so that it can be advertised in the web interface. dumps_format is just a string for display.

For more information on using dumpfiles, see Database Dumps.


ckan.recaptcha.publickey = 6Lc...-KLc ckan.recaptcha.privatekey = 6Lc...-jP

Setting both these options according to an established Recaptcha account adds captcha to the user registration form. This has been effective at preventing bots registering users and creating spam packages.

To get a Recaptcha account, sign up at:

And there is an option for the default expiry time if not specified:

ckan.cache.default_expires = 600



ckan.datasets_per_page = 10

Default value: 20

This controls the pagination of the dataset search results page. This is the maximum number of datasets viewed per page of results.

Authentication Settings



openid_enabled = False

Default value: True

CKAN operates a delegated authentication model based on OpenID.

Setting this option to False turns off OpenID for login.

Internationalisation Settings




Default value: en (English)

Use this to specify the locale (language of the text) displayed in the CKAN Web UI. This requires a suitable mo file installed for the locale in the ckan/i18n. For more information on internationalization, see Internationalize CKAN. If you don’t specify a default locale, then it will default to the first locale offered, which is by default English (alter that with ckan.locales_offered and ckan.locales_filtered_out.



ckan.locales_offered=en de fr

Default value: (none)

By default, all locales found in the ckan/i18n directory will be offered to the user. To only offer a subset of these, list them under this option. The ordering of the locales is preserved when offered to the user.



ckan.locales_filtered_out=pl ru

Default value: (none)

If you want to not offer particular locales to the user, then list them here to have them removed from the options.



ckan.locale_order=fr de

Default value: (none)

If you want to specify the ordering of all or some of the locales as they are offered to the user, then specify them here in the required order. Any locales that are available but not specified in this option, will still be offered at the end of the list.

Storage Settings

Example: = ckan

Default value: None

This setting will change the bucket name for the uploaded files.



ofs.storage_dir = /data/uploads/

Default value: None

Use this to specify where uploaded files should be stored, and also to turn on the handling of file storage. The folder should exist, and will automatically be turned into a valid pairtree repository if it is not already.

Theming Settings




To customise the display of CKAN you can supply replacements for the Genshi template files. Use this option to specify where CKAN should look for additional templates, before reverting to the ckan/templates folder. You can supply more than one folder, separating the paths with a comma (,).

For more information on theming, see Theming and Customizing Appearance.



extra_public_paths = /home/okfn/brazil_ckan_config/public

To customise the display of CKAN you can supply replacements for static files such as HTML, CSS, script and PNG files. Use this option to specify where CKAN should look for additional files, before reverting to the ckan/public folder. You can supply more than one folder, separating the paths with a comma (,).

For more information on theming, see Theming and Customizing Appearance.


HTML content to be inserted just before </head> tag (e.g. extra stylesheet)


ckan.template_head_end = <link rel="stylesheet" href="" type="text/css">

You can also have multiline strings. Just indent following lines. e.g.:

ckan.template_head_end =
 <link rel="stylesheet" href="/css/extra1.css" type="text/css">
 <link rel="stylesheet" href="/css/extra2.css" type="text/css">

Form Settings



package_form = ca

Default value: standard

This sets the name of the Formalchemy form to use when editing a dataset.


This setting only applies to the deprecated Formalchemy forms. For enabling forms defined with a Navl schema, see Customizing Forms.

The value for this setting can be a Formalchemy form defined in the core CKAN code or in another setuputils-managed python module. The only requirement is that the file has an entry point for the form defined in the ckan.forms section.

For more information on forms, see Customizing Forms.

package_new_return_url & package_edit_return_url


package_new_return_url =<NAME>
package_edit_return_url =<NAME>

If integrating the Edit Dataset and New Dataset forms into a third-party interface, setting these options allows you to set the return address. When the user has completed the form and presses ‘commit’, the user is redirected to the URL specified.

The <NAME> string is replaced with the name of the dataset edited. Full details of this process are given in Form Integration.


A url pointing to a JSON file containing a list of licence objects. This list determines the licences offered by the system to users, for example when creating or editing a dataset.

This is entirely optional - by default, the system will use an internal cached version of the CKAN list of licences available from the

More details about the license objects - including the licence format and some example licence lists - can be found at the Open Licenses Service.


licenses_group_url = file:///path/to/my/local/json-list-of-licenses.json
licenses_group_url =

Messaging Settings




This is the messaging library backend to use. Options:

* ``pyamqplib`` - AMQP (e.g. for RabbitMQ)

* ``pika`` - alternative AMQP

* ``stomp`` - python-stomp

* ``queue`` - native Python Queue (default) - NB this doesn't work inter-process

See the Carrot documentation for details.

amqp_hostname, amqp_port, amqp_user_id, amqp_password



These are the setup parameters for AMQP messaging. These only apply if the messaging library has been set to use AMQP (see carrot_messaging_library). The values given above are the default values.

Search Settings



ckan.site_id = my_ckan_instance

CKAN uses Solr to index and search packages. The search index is linked to the value of the ckan.site_id, so if you have more than one CKAN instance using the same solr_url, they will each have a separate search index as long as their ckan.site_id values are different. If you are only running a single CKAN instance then this can be ignored.

Note, if you change this value, you need to rebuild the search index.



solr_url =

Default value:

This configures the Solr server used for search. The Solr schema found at that URL must be one of the ones in ckan/config/solr (generally the most recent one). A check of the schema version number occurs when CKAN starts.

Optionally, solr_user and solr_password can also be configured to specify HTTP Basic authentication details for all Solr requests.

Note, if you change this value, you need to rebuild the search index.

Site Settings



ckan.site_title=Open Data Scotland

Default value: CKAN

This sets the name of the site, as displayed in the CKAN web interface.




Default value: (none)

The primary URL used by this site. Used in the API to provide datasets with links to themselves in the web UI.




Default value: /api

The URL that resolves to the CKAN API part of the site. This is useful if the API is hosted on a different domain, for example when a third-party site uses the forms API.



apikey_header_name = API-KEY

Default value: X-CKAN-API-Key & Authorization

This allows another http header to be used to provide the CKAN API key. This is useful if network infrastructure block the Authorization header and X-CKAN-API-Key is not suitable.

Authorization Settings


This allows you to set the default authorization roles (i.e. permissions) for new objects. Currently this extends to new datasets, groups, authorization groups and the system object. For full details of these, see Set and Manage Permissions.

The value is a strict JSON dictionary of user names visitor (any user who is not logged in) and logged_in (any user who is logged in) with lists of their roles.


ckan.default_roles.Package = {"visitor": ["editor"], "logged_in": ["editor"]}
ckan.default_roles.Group = {"visitor": ["reader"], "logged_in": ["reader"]}

With this example setting, visitors and logged-in users can only read datasets that get created.

Defaults: see in ckan/model/ for: default_default_user_roles

Plugin Settings



ckan.plugins = disqus datapreview googleanalytics follower

Specify which CKAN extensions are to be enabled.


If you specify an extension but have not installed the code, CKAN will not start.

Format as a space-separated list of the extension names. The extension name is the key in the [ckan.plugins] section of the extension’s For more information on extensions, see Add Extensions.

Directory Settings



ckan.log_dir = /var/log/ckan/

This is the directory to which CKAN cron scripts (if there are any installed) should write log files.


This setting is nothing to do with the main CKAN log file, whose filepath is set in the [handler_file] args.



ckan.dump_dir = /var/lib/ckan/dump/

This is the directory to which JSON or CSV dumps of the database are to be written, assuming a script has been installed to do this.


It is usual to set up the Apache config to serve this directory.



ckan.backup_dir = /var/backups/ckan/

This is a directory where SQL database backups are to be written, assuming a script has been installed to do this.




ckan.restrict_template_vars = true

Default value: false

This is used to limit the functions available via h in templates. It also forces correct usage of functions as some function signatures have changed. It’s main purpose is to allow transition to a cleaner world.