Building Grafana from source

This guide will help you create packages from source and get grafana up and running in dev environment. Grafana ships with its own required backend server; also completely open-source. It’s written in Go and has a full HTTP API.


  • Go 1.9.2
  • Git
  • NodeJS LTS
  • node-gyp is the Node.js native addon build tool and it requires extra dependencies: python 2.7, make and GCC. These are already installed for most Linux distros and MacOS. See the Building On Windows section or the node-gyp installation instructions for more details.

Get Code

Create a directory for the project and set your path accordingly (or use the default Go workspace directory). Then download and install Grafana into your $GOPATH directory:

export GOPATH=`pwd`
go get

On Windows use setx instead of export and then restart your command prompt:

setx GOPATH %cd%

You may see an error such as: package no buildable Go source files. This is just a warning, and you can proceed with the directions.

Building the backend

cd $GOPATH/src/
go run build.go setup
go run build.go build              # (or 'go build ./pkg/cmd/grafana-server')

Building on Windows

The Grafana backend includes Sqlite3 which requires GCC to compile. So in order to compile Grafana on windows you need to install GCC. We recommend TDM-GCC.

node-gyp is the Node.js native addon build tool and it requires extra dependencies to be installed on Windows. In a command prompt which is run as administrator, run:

npm --add-python-to-path='true' --debug install --global windows-build-tools

Build the Frontend Assets

For this you need nodejs (v.6+).

npm install -g yarn
yarn install --pure-lockfile
npm run build

Running Grafana Locally

You can run a local instance of Grafana by running:


If you built the binary with go run build.go build, run ./bin/grafana-server

If you built it with go build ., run ./grafana

Open grafana in your browser (default http://localhost:3000) and login with admin user (default user/pass = admin/admin).

Developing Grafana

To add features, customize your config, etc, you’ll need to rebuild the backend when you change the source code. We use a tool named bra that does this.

go get

bra run

You’ll also need to run npm run watch to watch for changes to the front-end (typescript, html, sass)

Running tests

  • You can run backend Golang tests using “go test ./pkg/…”.
  • Execute all frontend tests with “npm run test”

Writing & watching frontend tests (we have two test runners)

  • jest for all new tests that do not require browser context (React+more)
    • Start watcher: npm run jest
    • Jest will run all test files that end with the name “.jest.ts”
  • karma + mocha is used for testing angularjs components. We do want to migrate these test to jest over time (if possible).
    • Start watcher: npm run karma
    • Karma+Mocha runs all files that end with the name “_specs.ts”.

Creating optimized release packages

This step builds linux packages and requires that fpm is installed. Install fpm via gem install fpm.

go run build.go build package

Dev config

Create a custom.ini in the conf directory to override default configuration options. You only need to add the options you want to override. Config files are applied in the order of:

  1. grafana.ini
  2. custom.ini

Set app_mode to development

In your custom.ini uncomment (remove the leading ;) sign. And set app_mode = development.

Learn more about Grafana config options in the Configuration section

Create a pull requests

Please contribute to the Grafana project and submit a pull request! Build new features, write or update documentation, fix bugs and generally make Grafana even more awesome.


Problem: PhantomJS or node-sass errors when running grunt

Solution: delete the node_modules directory. Install node-gyp properly for your platform. Then run yarn install --pure-lockfile again.

Problem: When running bra run for the first time you get an error that it is not a recognized command.

Solution: Add the bin directory in your Go workspace directory to the path. Per default this is $HOME/go/bin on Linux and %USERPROFILE%\go\bin on Windows or $GOPATH/bin (%GOPATH%\bin on Windows) if you have set your own workspace directory.

Problem: When executing a go get command on Windows and you get an error about the git repository not existing.

Solution: go get requires Git. If you run go get without Git then it will create an empty directory in your Go workspace for the library you are trying to get. Even after installing Git, you will get a similar error. To fix this, delete the empty directory (for example: if you tried to run go get then delete %USERPROFILE%\go\src\\Unknwon\bra) and run the go get command again.

Problem: On Windows, getting errors about a tool not being installed even though you just installed that tool.

Solution: It is usually because it got added to the path and you have to restart your command prompt to use it.