Skip to main content

Full development environment


  • Python 3.11
  • Poetry, which is used to manage dependencies
  • Go 1.20
  • Node.js 20
  • PostgreSQL (any recent version will do)
  • Redis (any recent version will do)

Services Setup

For PostgreSQL and Redis, you can use the docker-compose.yml file in /scripts.To use these pre-configured database instances, navigate to the /scripts directory in your local copy of the authentik git repo, and run docker compose up -d. You can also use a native install, if you prefer.


If you use locally installed databases, the PostgreSQL credentials given to authentik should have permissions for CREATE DATABASE and DROP DATABASE, because authentik creates a temporary database for tests.

Backend Setup


Depending on your platform, some native dependencies might be required. On macOS, run brew install libxmlsec1 libpq, and for the CLI tools brew install postgresql redis node@20


As long as this issue about libxmlsec-1.3.0 is open, a workaround is required to install a compatible version of libxmlsec1 with brew, see this comment.

First, you need to create an isolated Python environment. To create the environment and install dependencies, run the following commands in the same directory as your authentik git repository:

poetry shell # Creates a python virtualenv, and activates it in a new shell
make install # Install all required dependencies for Python and Javascript, including development dependencies

To configure authentik to use the local databases, we need a local config file. This file can be generated by running make gen-dev-config.

To apply database migrations, run make migrate. This is needed after the initial setup, and whenever you fetch new source from upstream.

Generally speaking, authentik is a Django application, ran by gunicorn, proxied by a Go application. The Go application serves static files.

Most functions and classes have type-hints and docstrings, so it is recommended to install a Python Type-checking Extension in your IDE to navigate around the code.

Before committing code, run make lint to ensure your code is formatted well. This also requires pyright, which is installed in the web/ folder to make dependency management easier.

Run make gen to generate an updated OpenAPI document for any changes you made.

Frontend Setup

By default, no compiled bundle of the frontend is included so this step is required even if you're not developing for the UI.

To build the UI once, run make web-build.

Alternatively, if you want to live-edit the UI, you can run make web-watch instead. This will immediately update the UI with any changes you make so you can see the results in real time without needing to rebuild.

To format the frontend code, run make web.

Running authentik

Now that the backend and frontend have been setup and built, you can start authentik by running ak server. authentik should now be accessible at http://localhost:9000.


To define a password for the default admin (called akadmin), you can manually enter the /if/flow/initial-setup/ path in the browser address bar to launch the initial flow. Example: http://localhost:9000/if/flow/initial-setup/