Command-line install

This guide covers running the Urbit runtime (Vere) using the command line. This can be run on your local machine or a server in the cloud, we just cover the local case here. The runtime is what interprets the Urbit kernel code (Arvo) into commands your specific machine (macOS or Linux) understands.

Note there is a much more comprehensive cloud hosting guide which walks through setting up Urbit on a Digital Ocean VPS.

1. System Requirements

  • Processor: 1 core
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage: At least a few GB, 40-50GB preferable
  • Network: Any

A note on memory: By default, the Urbit runtime needs 2GB of free memory, and will fail to boot without it. Urbit usually only uses a portion of this, so it's possible to use a swap file to makeup for a shortfall without degrading performance. For instructions on how to configure a swap file on Linux, see this guide.

A note on storage: Urbit saves every event it processes to its Event Log. This means its disk usage slowly grows over time. Until event log truncation is implemented, it's advisable to have 40 or 50GB of disk space available, so you don't have to worry about running out for a long time. If you don't have that much, your ship will still run fine, but you may run out of space some months down the line.

2. Install Urbit

Choose your operating system and run the given command in your terminal to download the Urbit runtime, this command downloads the latest build, unpacks it, and runs the binary with no arguments to show you the help output:

  • Linux x86_64
  • Linux AArch64
  • macOS x86_64
  • macOS AArch64
curl -L | tar xzk --transform='s/.*/urbit/g' && ./urbit

If successful, you will see a block of output beginning with the line:

Urbit: a personal server operating function

3. Boot Urbit

An Urbit instance is intrinsically tied to a unique identity called an Urbit ID. There are five classes of Urbit ID, but we will consider two here: comets and planets.

  • Comet: A comet is an identity which anyone can generate themselves, for free. It's a good option to try out Urbit. Comets are limited by the fact they cannot be "factory reset", meaning if your urbit somehow becomes broken or corrupted then you'll have to start again with a new identity. In that sense, they are impermanent.

  • Planet: A planet is a permanent identity which you own forever. Planets are the class intended for individuals. While there are essentially an unlimited number of comets, planets are more scarce (preventing spamming, among other things). This scarcity means they usually aren't free (though sometimes nice people give them away). This guide will assume you've already acquired a planet. If you haven't, you can refer to the "Get an Urbit ID" guide before continuing.

Follow the instructions for your case:

  • Boot a Comet
  • Boot a Planet

In the terminal, with the urbit binary you installed in the previous step, a comet can be booted with the -c option:

./urbit -c mycomet

mycomet will be the name given to the folder it will create. You can choose any name you like.

It may take a while to initialize the comet (usually only a couple of minutes, but it could take longer). When it's done, it'll take you to the dojo prompt (the dojo is Urbit's shell):

ames: live on 31337
http: web interface live on http://localhost:8080
http: loopback live on http://localhost:12321

You can shut down the comet again by typing |exit in the dojo or hitting Ctrl+D. When it's first shut down, the runtime will be copied inside the data folder, so you can start it up again by doing:


Linux users need to run this command in another terminal window to access your urbit on port 80 every time you upgrade your runtime (otherwise it'll default to port 8080):

sudo apt-get install libcap2-bin
sudo setcap 'cap_net_bind_service=+ep' <pier>/.run

Since comets are often used temporarily and then discarded, kernel updates are not enabled by default. If you plan to use your comet for a while, it's a good idea to enable updates with the following command in the dojo:

|ota (sein:title our now our)

Lastly most people use their urbit via Landscape, the browser-based UI. In order to access Landscape, you need your web login code. You can get this by running the following command in the dojo:


It'll spit out a code that'll look something like lidlut-tabwed-pillex-ridrup. Copy the code it gives you to the clipboard.

4. Login

While your urbit is running, the web interface called Landscape can be accessed in the browser. Its URL will usually be either localhost or localhost:8080, depending on your platform. To check the address, you can look at the boot messages in the terminal. You should see a line like:

http: web interface live on http://localhost:8080

Whichever address and port it says there is the one to open in the browser.

Once open, you'll be presented with the login screen. Paste in the web login code you copied from the dojo in the previous step and hit "continue". You'll now be taken to your homescreen, with tiles for the default apps such as Groups, Talk, and Terminal.

5. Runtime Upgrades

When new versions of the Urbit runtime (Vere) are available, you'll have to shutdown your urbit and then run the next command in order to upgrade.

:dojo> |exit
<pier>/.run next

Note that <pier> in this case is the folder that was created when you first booted your urbit. When you run this command your urbit will download the latest binary and place it inside the .bin directory inside your pier folder. You can then start your ship with the following and you'll be on the latest runtime version:


Linux users need to run this command in another terminal window to access your urbit on port 80 every time you upgrade your runtime (otherwise it'll default to port 8080):

sudo apt-get install libcap2-bin
sudo setcap 'cap_net_bind_service=+ep' <pier>/.run

If you've been running Urbit for a while (from before runtime version 1.9) and these .run commands don't work for you, it probably means you need to dock your pier. You can do this with the following command:

./urbit dock <pier>

Then .run should work as expected and future runtime upgrades can be done via next.

Next steps

Learn how to get around your urbit.