Kuma via Vagrant

Core developers run Kuma in a Vagrant-managed virtual machine so we can run the entire MDN stack. (Django, KumaScript, Search, Celery, etc.) If you’re on Mac OS X or Linux and looking for a quick way to get started, you should try these instructions.


If you have problems getting vagrant up, check Errors below.

Install and run everything

  1. Install VirtualBox 4.x from


    (Windows) After installing VirtualBox you need to set PATH=C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\VBoxManage.exe;

  2. Install vagrant >= 1.6 using the installer from

  3. Install the vagrant-vbguest plugin.


    (OSX) If you have not previously run xCode and agreed to the terms of service you will have to do that first.

  4. Fork the project. (See GitHub and Webdev Bootcamp)

  5. Clone your fork of Kuma and update submodules:

    git clone<your_username>/kuma.git
    cd kuma
    git submodule update --init --recursive
  6. Copy a vagrantconfig_local.yaml file for your VM:

    cp vagrantconfig_local.yaml-dist vagrantconfig_local.yaml
  7. Start the VM and install everything. (approx. 30 min on a fast net connection).:

    vagrant up


    VirtualBox creates VMs in your system drive. Kuma’s VM is 3GB. If it won’t fit on your system drive, you will need to change that directory to another drive.

    At the end, you should see:

    => default: notice: Finished catalog run in .... seconds

    If the above process fails with an error, check Errors.

  8. Add the hostnames to the end of your hosts file with this shell command:

    echo '' | sudo tee -a /etc/hosts
  9. Log into the VM with ssh:

    vagrant ssh
  10. Use foreman inside the VM to start all site services:

    foreman start

    You should see output like:

    20:32:59 web.1        | started with pid 2244
    20:32:59 celery.1     | started with pid 2245
    20:32:59 kumascript.1 | started with pid 2246
    20:32:59 stylus.1     | started with pid 2247
  11. Visit and add an exception for the security certificate if prompted

  12. Visit the homepage at

  13. You’ve installed Kuma! If you want the badge ...

email a screenshot of your browser to mdn-dev at mozilla dot com.

Create an admin user

You will want to make yourself an admin user to enable important site features.

  1. Sign up/in with Persona

  2. After you sign in, SSH into the vm and make yourself an admin:

    vagrant ssh
    mysql -uroot kuma
    UPDATE auth_user set is_staff = 1, is_active=1, is_superuser = 1 WHERE username = 'YOUR_USERNAME';

    You should see:

    Query OK, 1 row affected (0.01 sec)
    Rows matched: 1  Changed: 1  Warnings: 0

Enable Important Site Features

You’ll need to use feature toggles to enable some basic features.

GitHub Auth

To enable GitHub authentication ...

Register your own OAuth application on GitHub:

Add a django-allauth social app for GitHub:

  • Provider: GitHub
  • Name:
  • Client id: <your GitHub App Client ID>
  • Secret key: <your GitHub App Client Secret>
  • Sites: -> Chosen sites

GitHub auth is also (temporarily) behind a waffle flag. So, add a waffle flag called github_login and set “Everyone” to “Yes”.

Now you can sign in with GitHub at

Wiki Editing

The central feature of MDN is wiki editing. We use a waffle flag called kumaediting to control edits to the wiki. So we can effectively put the site into “read-only” and/or “write-by-staff-only” modes.

To enable wiki editing on your MDN vm, add a waffle flag called kumaediting and set “Everyone” to “Yes”.


To enable KumaScript (Kuma’s template system):

  1. Sign in
  2. Visit the constance config admin panel
  3. Change KUMASCRIPT_TIMEOUT to 600
  4. Click “Save” at the bottom

KumaScript is now enabled. You will also want to import the KumaScript auto-loaded modules. You can simply copy & paste them from the production site to your local site at the same slugs. Or you can email the list to get a .json file to load in your local django admin interface as described in this comment.

Create pages

You can visit to create new wiki pages as needed.

Many core MDN contributors create a personal User:<username> page as a testing sandbox.

Developing with Vagrant

Edit files as usual on your host machine; the current directory is mounted via NFS at /home/vagrant/src within the VM. Updates should be reflected without any action on your part.

  • See development for tips not specific to vagrant.

  • Useful vagrant sub-commands:

    vagrant ssh     # Connect to the VM via ssh
    vagrant suspend # Sleep the VM, saving state
    vagrant halt    # Shutdown the VM
    vagrant up      # Boot up the VM
    vagrant destroy # Destroy the VM

Errors during vagrant up

vagrant up starts the virtual machine. The first time you run vagrant up it also provisions the vm - i.e., it automatically installs and configures Kuma software on the vm. We provision the vm with puppet manifests in the puppet/manifests directory.

Sometimes we put puppet declarations in the wrong order. Which means some errors can be fixed by simply provisioning the vm again:

vagrant provision

In some rare occasions you might need to run this multiple times. If you find an error that is fixed by running vagrant provision again, please email us the error at and we’ll see if we can fix it.

If you see the same error over and over, please ask for more help.


If you see errors like:

notice: /Stage[main]/Kuma_config/Exec[kuma_south_migrate]

try to manually run database migrations in the vm. To do so:

vagrant ssh
python migrate

If you get an error, please ask for more help.


On Ubuntu, vagrant up might fail after being unable to mount NFS shared folders. First, make sure you have the nfs-common and nfs-server packages installed and also note that you can’t export anything via NFS inside an encrypted volume or home dir.

If that doesn’t help you can disable nfs by setting the nfs flag in the vagrantconfig_local.yaml file you just created.

nfs: false

Note: If you decide to run nfs: false, the system will be a lot slower. There is also the potential of running into weird issues with puppet, since the current puppet configurations do not currently support nfs: false.

If you have other problems during vagrant up, please check Troubleshooting.