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Nautobot Configuration

This section describes how to get started with configuring Nautobot.

Initializing the Configuration

An initial configuration can be created by executing nautobot-server init. This will generate a new configuration with all of the default settings provided for you, and will also generate a unique SECRET_KEY.

By default (if you haven't set NAUTOBOT_ROOT to some other value), the file will be created at $HOME/.nautobot/

nautobot-server init

Example output:

Configuration file created at '/opt/nautobot/'


The Nautobot Installation Docs example sets NAUTOBOT_ROOT to /opt/nautobot, so would be found at /opt/nautobot/

You may specify a different location for the configuration as the argument to init:

nautobot-server init /tmp/
Configuration file created at '/tmp/'


Throughout the documentation, the configuration file will be referred to by name as If you use a custom file name, you must use that instead.

Specifying your Configuration

If you place your configuration in the default location at $HOME/.nautobot/, you may utilize the nautobot-server command and it will use that location automatically.

If you do not wish to utilize the default location, you have two options:

Config argument

You may provide the --config argument when executing nautobot-server to tell Nautobot where to find your configuration. For example, to start a Nautobot shell with the configuration in an alternate location:

nautobot-server --config=/etc/ nbshell

Environment variable

You may also set the NAUTOBOT_CONFIG environment variable to the location of your configuration file so that you don't have to keep providing the --config argument. If set, this overrides the default location.

export NAUTOBOT_CONFIG=/etc/
nautobot-server nbshell

Nautobot Root Directory

By default, Nautobot will always read or store files in ~/.nautobot to allow for installation without requiring superuser (root) permissions.

The NAUTOBOT_ROOT configuration setting specifies where these files will be stored on your file system. You may customize this location by setting the NAUTOBOT_ROOT environment variable. For example:

export NAUTOBOT_ROOT=/opt/nautobot

This setting is also used in the Nautobot deployment guide to make the nautobot-server command easier to find and use.


The --config argument and the NAUTOBOT_CONFIG environment variable will always take precedence over NAUTOBOT_ROOT for the purpose of telling Nautobot where your can be found.


Do not override NAUTOBOT_ROOT in your It will not work as expected. If you need to customize this setting, please always set the NAUTOBOT_ROOT environment variable.

File Storage

Nautobot is capable of storing various types of files. This includes Jobs, Git repositories, image attachments, and static files (CSS, JavaScript, etc.).

Each of the features requiring use of file storage default to being stored in NAUTOBOT_ROOT. If desired, you may customize each one individually. Please see each feature's respective documentation linked above for how to do that.

Configuration Parameters

While Nautobot has many configuration settings, only a few of them must be defined at the time of installation. These configuration parameters may be set in or by default many of them may also be set by environment variables. Please see the following links for more information:

Optional Authentication Configuration

Changing the Configuration

Configuration settings may be changed at any time. However, the WSGI service (e.g. uWSGI) must be restarted before the changes will take effect. For example, if you're running Nautobot using systemd:

sudo systemctl restart nautobot nautobot-worker

Advanced Configuration

Troubleshooting the Configuration

To facilitate troubleshooting and debugging of settings, try inspecting the settings from a shell.

First get a Nautobot shell, which automatically loads the Django settings:

nautobot-server nbshell


# Shell Plus Model Imports
# Shell Plus Django Imports
from django.conf import settings
# Django version 3.2.18
# Nautobot version 2.0.0a2
Python 3.8.16 (default, Mar 23 2023, 04:48:11)
[GCC 10.2.1 20210110] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

Inspect the SETTINGS_PATH variable. Does it match the configuration you're expecting to be loading?

>>> settings.SETTINGS_PATH

If not, double check that you haven't set the NAUTOBOT_CONFIG environment variable, or if you did, that the path defined there is the correct one.


Adding your own dependencies


Be cautious not to confuse extra applications with Nautobot Apps which are installed using the PLUGINS setting. They are similar, but distinctly different!

Nautobot, being a Django application, allows for installation of additional dependencies utilizing the INSTALLED_APPS settings. Due to the highly specialized nature of Nautobot, you cannot safely do this.

For example, let's assume that you want to install the popular django-health-check application to your Nautobot deployment which requires you to add one or more health_check entries to your INSTALLED_APPS.

If you attempt to modify INSTALLED_APPS yourself, you might see an error such as this:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/local/bin/nautobot-server", line 8, in <module>
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.8/site-packages/nautobot/core/", line 53, in main
    initializer=_configure_settings,  # Called after defaults
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.8/site-packages/nautobot/core/runner/", line 193, in run_app
    management.execute_from_command_line([runner_name, command] + command_args)
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.8/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 401, in execute_from_command_line
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.8/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 377, in execute
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.8/site-packages/django/", line 24, in setup
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.8/site-packages/django/apps/", line 95, in populate
    "duplicates: %s" % app_config.label)
django.core.exceptions.ImproperlyConfigured: Application labels aren't unique, duplicates: health_check

To make it work, you would simply specify EXTRA_INSTALLED_APPS instead:


For more information on installing extra applications, please see the documentation on Extra Applications.

For more information on installing or developing Nautobot Apps, please see the documentation on Apps.