Compiling from source

Installation from source

You should install go and set up your go environment correctly. In particular, it is recommended to set the $GOPATH environment variable and to add the go bin directory or directories ${GOPATH//://bin:}/bin to the $PATH. See the Go wiki entry for GOPATH.

Next, install Node.js with npm which is required to build the JavaScript and CSS files. The minimum supported Node.js version is 20.

Note: When executing make tasks that require external tools, like make misspell-check, Forgejo will automatically download and build these as necessary. To be able to use these, you must have the "$GOPATH/bin" directory on the executable path. If you don’t add the go bin directory to the executable path, you will have to manage this yourself.

Note 2: Go version 1.20 or higher is required. However, it is recommended to obtain the same version as the continuous integration.


First, we must retrieve the source code. Since, the advent of go modules, the simplest way of doing this is to use Git directly as we no longer have to have Forgejo built from within the GOPATH.

git clone

Decide which version of Forgejo to build and install. Currently, there are multiple options to choose from. The forgejo branch represents the current development version.

To work with tagged releases, the following commands can be used:

git branch -a
git checkout v1.20.0-5

To build Forgejo from source at a specific tagged release (like v1.20.0-5), list the available tags and check out the specific tag.

List available tags with the following.

git tag -l
git checkout v1.20.0-5


To build from source, the following programs must be present on the system:

  • go v1.20 or higher, see here
  • node 20 or higher with npm, see here
  • make

Depending on requirements, the following build tags can be included.

  • bindata: Build a single monolithic binary, with all assets included. Required for production build.
  • sqlite sqlite_unlock_notify: Enable support for a SQLite3 database. Suggested only for small installations.
  • pam: Enable support for PAM (Linux Pluggable Authentication Modules). Can be used to authenticate local users or extend authentication to methods available to PAM.

Using the bindata build tag is required for production deployments. You could exclude bindata when you are developing/testing Forgejo or able to separate the assets correctly.

To include all assets, use the bindata tag:

TAGS="bindata" make build

In the default release build of the continuous integration system, the build tags are: TAGS="bindata sqlite sqlite_unlock_notify". The simplest recommended way to build from source is therefore:

TAGS="bindata sqlite sqlite_unlock_notify" make build

The build target is split into two sub-targets:

  • make backend which requires Go v1.20 or greater.
  • make frontend which requires Node.js 20 or greater.

If pre-built frontend files are present it is possible to only build the backend:

TAGS="bindata" make backend

Webpack source maps are by default enabled in development builds and disabled in production builds. They can be enabled by setting the ENABLE_SOURCEMAP=true environment variable.


After following the steps above, a forgejo binary will be available in the working directory. It can be tested from this directory or moved to a directory with test data. When Forgejo is launched manually from command line, it can be killed by pressing Ctrl + C.

./forgejo web

To run and continuously rebuild when the source files change:

make watch

NOTE: do not set the bindata tag such as in TAGS="bindata" make watch or the browser may fail to load pages with an error like Failed to load asset