Developer Setup with virtualenv

The following describes how to set up an instance of the site on your computer for development.


Installation with virtualenv is not recommended. If possible, please use Developer Setup with Docker, which is simpler and makes it easier for us to reproduce potential issues.


This guide assumes you have already installed and set up the following:

  1. Git

  2. Python 2.7, pip, and virtualenv

  3. `Node.js 14`_ and npm v7 or later

  4. Postgres 9.4 or 9.5

These docs assume a Unix-like operating system, although the site should, in theory, run on Windows as well. All the example commands given below are intended to be run in a terminal. If you’re on Ubuntu 16.04, you can install all the prerequisites using the following command:

sudo apt install git python-pip nodejs-legacy npm postgresql postgresql-server-dev-9.5 postgresql-contrib-9.5 libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev python-dev libmemcached-dev virtualenv

If you’re on Ubuntu 17.04, you can install all the prerequisites using the following command:

sudo apt install git python-pip nodejs-legacy npm postgresql postgresql-server-dev-9.6 postgresql-contrib-9.6 libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev python-dev libmemcached-dev virtualenv


  1. Clone this repository or your fork:

    git clone
    cd pontoon
  2. Create a virtualenv for Pontoon and activate it:

    virtualenv venv
    source ./venv/bin/activate


    Whenever you want to work on Pontoon in a new terminal you’ll have to re-activate the virtualenv. Read the virtualenv documentation to learn more about how virtualenv works.

  3. Install the dependencies using the latest version of pip:

    pip install --require-hashes -r requirements/default.txt -r requirements/dev.txt -r requirements/test.txt
  4. Create your database, using the following set of commands:

    sudo -u postgres psql
    CREATE DATABASE pontoon;
    GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON DATABASE pontoon to pontoon;
  5. Create a .env file at the root of the repository to configure the settings for your development instance. It should look something like this:


    Make sure to make the following modifications to the template above:

    • SECRET_KEY should be set to some random key you come up with, as it is used to secure the authentication data for your local instance.

    • DATABASE_URL should contain the connection data for connecting to your Postgres database. It takes the form postgres://username:password@server_addr/database_name.

    • SITE_URL should be set to the URL you will use to connect to your local development site. Some people prefer to use instead of localhost. However, should you decide to change the SITE_URL, you also need to request the new FXA_CLIENT_ID and FXA_SECRET_KEY.

  6. Initialize your database by running the migrations:

    python migrate
  7. Create a new superuser account:

    python createsuperuser

    Make sure that the email address you use for the superuser account matches the email that you will log in with via Firefox Accounts.

  8. Pull the latest strings from version control for the Pontoon Intro project (which is automatically created for you during the database migrations):

    python sync_projects --projects=pontoon-intro --no-commit
  9. After you’ve provided credentials for your django-allauth provider, you have to update them in database, because it’s required by django-allauth. You will have to call this command after every change in your django-allauth settings (e.g. client key):

    python update_auth_providers
  10. Install the required Node libraries using npm:

npm install
  1. Build the tag-admin client:

npm run build

Once you’ve finished these steps, you should be able to start the site by running:

python runserver

The site should be available at http://localhost:8000.

Extra settings

The following extra settings can be added to your .env file.


Set your Google Cloud Translation API key to use generic machine translation engine by Google.


Set your Google Cloud AutoML Translation model ID to use custom machine translation engine by Google.


Set your Microsoft Translator API key to use machine translation by Microsoft.


Set your Google Analytics key to use Google Analytics.


Enable Sync button in project Admin.