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Setup for Local Development


First, see our Local Deployment guide for instructions on how to install the latest release with Kubernetes with Helm 3.

Local Dev Configuration

The local deployment guide explains how to deploy Browsertrix with latest published images.

However, if you are developing locally, you will need to use your local images instead.

We recommend the following setup:

  1. Copy the provided ./chart/examples/local-config.yaml Helm configuration file to a separate file local.yaml, so that local changes to it will not be accidentally committed to git.

    From the root directory:

    cp ./chart/examples/local-config.yaml ./chart/local.yaml
  2. Uncomment backend_image, frontend_image, and pull policies in ./chart/local.yaml, which will ensure the local images are used:

    backend_pull_policy: 'Never'
    frontend_pull_policy: 'Never'


    For microk8s, the pull policies actually need to be set to IfNotPresent instead of Never:

    backend_pull_policy: 'IfNotPresent'
    frontend_pull_policy: 'IfNotPresent'

    This will ensure images are pulled from the MicroK8S registry (configured in next section).

  3. Build the local backend and frontend images. The exact process depends on the Kubernetes environment you've selected in your initial deployment. Environment specific build instructions are as follows:

    Docker Desktop

    Rebuild the local images by running ./scripts/ and/or ./scripts/ scripts to build the images in the local Docker.


    MicroK8s uses its own container registry, running on port 32000.

    1. Ensure the registry add-on is enabled by running microk8s enable registry

    2. Set export REGISTRY=localhost:32000/ and then run ./scripts/ and/or ./scripts/ to rebuild the images into the MicroK8S registry.

    3. In ./chart/local.yaml, also uncomment the following lines to use the local images:

      backend_image: "localhost:32000/webrecorder/browsertrix-backend:latest"
      frontend_image: "localhost:32000/webrecorder/browsertrix-frontend:latest"


    Minikube comes with its own image builder to update the images used in Minikube.

    To build the backend image, run:

    minikube image build -t webrecorder/browsertrix-backend:latest ./backend

    To build a local frontend image, run:

    minikube image build -t webrecorder/browsertrix-frontend:latest ./frontend

    K3S uses containerd by default. To use local images, they need to be imported after rebuilding.

    1. Rebuild the images with Docker by running by running ./scripts/ and/or ./scripts/ scripts. (Requires Docker to be installed as well).

    2. Serializer the images to .tar:

      docker save webrecorder/browsertrix-backend:latest > ./backend.tar
      docker save webrecorder/browsertrix-frontend:latest > ./frontend.tar

    3. Import images into k3s containerd:

      k3s ctr images import --base-name webrecorder/browsertrix-backend:latest ./backend.tar
      k3s ctr images import --base-name webrecorder/browsertrix-frontend:latest ./frontend.tar

  4. To change other options, uncomment them as needed in ./chart/local.yaml or add additional overrides from ./chart/values.yaml.

    For example, to set a superuser email to and password to MySecretPassword!, uncomment that block and set:

    # set this to enable a superuser admin
    # optional: if not set, automatically generated
    # change or remove this
    password: MySecretPassword!

  5. Once the images have been built and config changes made in ./chart/local.yaml, the cluster can be re-deployed by running:

    helm upgrade --install -f ./chart/values.yaml \
    -f ./chart/local.yaml btrix ./chart/


    If using microk8s, the commend will be:

    microk8s helm3 upgrade --install -f ./chart/values.yaml -f ./chart/local.yaml btrix ./chart/

Refer back to the Local Development guide for additional information on running and debugging your local cluster.

Update the Images

After making any changes to backend code (in ./backend) or frontend code (in ./frontend), you'll need to rebuild the images as specified above, before running helm upgrade ... to re-deploy.

Changes to settings in ./chart/local.yaml can be deployed with helm upgrade ... directly.

Deploying Frontend Only

If you are just making changes to the frontend, you can also deploy the frontend separately using a dev server for quicker iteration.