2.1. Python Package Index

You can install privacyidea usually on any Linux distribution in a python virtual environment. This way you keep all privacyIDEA code in one defined subdirectory.

privacyIDEA currently runs with Python 3.6 to 3.10. Other versions either do not work or are not tested.

You first need to install a package for creating a python virtual environment.

Now you can setup the virtual environment for privacyIDEA like this:

virtualenv /opt/privacyidea

cd /opt/privacyidea
source bin/activate


Some distributions still ship Python 2.7 as the system python. If you want to use Python 3 you can create the virtual environment like this: virtualenv -p /usr/bin/python3 /opt/privacyidea

Now you are within the python virtual environment and you can run:

pip install privacyidea

in order to install the latest privacyIDEA version from PyPI.

2.1.1. Deterministic Installation

The privacyIDEA package contains dependencies with a minimal required version. However, newest versions of dependencies are not always tested and might cause problems. If you want to achieve a deterministic installation, you can now install the pinned and tested versions of the dependencies:

pip install -r lib/privacyidea/requirements.txt

It would even be safer to install the pinned dependencies before installing privacyIDEA. So if you e.g. know that you are going to install version 3.6 you can run:

pip install -r https://raw.githubusercontent.com/privacyidea/privacyidea/v3.6/requirements.txt
pip install privacyidea==3.6 Configuration

2.1.2. Database

privacyIDEA makes use of SQLAlchemy to be able to talk to different SQL-based databases. Our best experience is with MySQL but SQLAlchemy supports many different databases 1.

The database server should be installed on the host or be otherwise reachable.

In order for privacyIDEA to use the database, a database user with the appropriate privileges is needed. The following SQL commands will create the database as well as a user in MySQL:

CREATE USER "pi"@"localhost" IDENTIFIED BY "<dbsecret>";
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON pi.* TO "pi"@"localhost";

You must then add the database name, user and password to your pi.cfg. See The Config File for more information on the configuration.

2.1.3. Setting up privacyIDEA

Additionally to the database connection a new PI_PEPPER and SECRET_KEY must be generated in order to secure the installation:

PEPPER="$(tr -dc A-Za-z0-9_ </dev/urandom | head -c24)"
echo "PI_PEPPER = '$PEPPER'" >> /path/to/pi.cfg
SECRET="$(tr -dc A-Za-z0-9_ </dev/urandom | head -c24)"
echo "SECRET_KEY = '$SECRET'" >> /path/to/pi.cfg

An encryption key for encrypting the secrets in the database and a key for signing the Audit log is also needed (the following commands should be executed inside the virtual environment):

pi-manage create_enckey  # encryption key for the database
pi-manage create_audit_keys  # key for verification of audit log entries

To create the database tables execute:

pi-manage create_tables

Stamping the database to the current database schema version is important for the update process later:

pi-manage db stamp head -d /opt/privacyidea/lib/privacyidea/migrations/

After creating a local administrative user with:

pi-manage admin add <login>

the development server can be started with:

pi-manage runserver


The development server should not be used for a productive environment.

2.1.4. Webserver

To serve authentication requests and provide the management UI a WSGI capable webserver like Apache2 or nginx is needed.

Setup and configuration of a webserver can be a complex procedure depending on several parameter (host OS, SSL, internal network structure, …). Some example configuration can be found in the NetKnights GitHub repositories 2. More on the WSGI setup for privacyIDEA can be found in The WSGI Script.