Installing Metagov

This documentation will walk through how to set up Metagov on an Ubuntu server. If you want to set up Metagov for local development, follow the instructions at Local Development instead.

Metagov needs to be installed on the same server as your governance “Driver”:

  • If you’re using PolicyKit as your Driver, head over to the PolicyKit Documentation for instructions on how to install PolicyKit on your server.

  • If you’re using Metagov alongside your existing system, just make sure that you’re installing Metagov on the same server. This is necessary because Metagov and your system will communicate over the local network.

We’ll assume that you don’t have Python or apache2 installed on your Ubuntu system. These installation instructions have only been tested on Ubuntu 20.04.

Clone Metagov

Clone the Metagov repository (or your fork):

git clone
cd metagov-prototype/metagov

Install Dependencies

Install Python3, and create and activate a new virtual environment by following this tutorial from Digital Ocean: how to install python on ubuntu 20.0.4.

Next, install the Metagov requirements:

pip install --upgrade pip
pip install -r requirements.txt

Set up the Metagov Environment

Set up an .env file for storing secrets, and generate a new DJANGO_SECRET_KEY:

cp metagov/.env.example metagov/.env
DJANGO_SECRET_KEY=$(python shell -c 'from import utils; print(utils.get_random_secret_key())')

Next, open up your .env file and set the following values:

ALLOWED_HOSTS=<your host>
DATABASE_PATH=<your database path> # Recommended: /var/databases/metagov/db.sqlite3

Make sure that your database path is not inside the Metagov repository directory, because you need to grant the apache2 user (www-data) access to the database its parent folder.

Set up the Database and Static Files

Run python migrate to set up your database.

Run python collectstatic to create static files.

To test that everything is working correctly, enter the Django shell:

python shell_plus

Deploy with Apache web server

Now that you have Metagov installed on your server, you can deploy it on Apache web server. Make sure you have a domain dedicated to Metagov that is pointing to your server’s IP address.


In the remaining examples, make sure to substitute the following values:

$METAGOV_REPO is the path to your metagov-prototype repository root. (/metagov-prototype)

$METAGOV_ENV is the path to your metagov virtual environment. (/environments/metagov_env)

$SERVER_NAME is your server name. (

  1. Install and start apache2

    sudo apt-get install apache2 libapache2-mod-wsgi-py3
    sudo service apache2 start
  2. Create a new apache2 config file:

    cd /etc/apache2/sites-available
    # replace SERVER_NAME (ie
    cp default-ssl.conf SERVER_NAME.conf
  3. Edit the config file to look like this:

    <IfModule mod_ssl.c>
            <VirtualHost _default_:443>
                ServerName $SERVER_NAME
                ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
                Alias /static $METAGOV_REPO/metagov/static
                # 🚨 IMPORTANT: Restrict internal endpoints to local traffic 🚨
                <Location /api/internal>
                    Require ip YOUR-IP-ADDRESS
                # Grant access to static files for the API docs.
                <Directory $METAGOV_REPO/metagov/static>
                        Require all granted
                # Grant access to file. This is the Django server.
                <Directory $METAGOV_REPO/metagov/metagov>
                            Require all granted
                WSGIDaemonProcess metagov python-home=$METAGOV_ENV python-path=$METAGOV_REPO/metagov
                WSGIProcessGroup metagov
                WSGIScriptAlias / $METAGOV_REPO/metagov/metagov/
                # .. REST ELIDED
  4. Test your config with apache2ctl configtest. You should get a “Syntax OK” as a response.

  5. Enable your site:

    # activate your config
    a2ensite /etc/apache2/sites-available/$SERVER_NAME.conf
    # disable the default config
    sudo a2dissite 000-default-le-ssl.conf
  6. Get an SSL certificate and set it up to auto-renew using LetsEncrypt:

    sudo apt install certbot python3-certbot-apache
    sudo certbot --apache
  7. Add the certificates to your $SERVER_NAME.conf file:

    SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/$SERVER_NAME/fullchain.pem
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/$SERVER_NAME/privkey.pem
  8. Reload the config:

    systemctl reload apache2
  9. Give the Apache2 user access to the database directory and the logging directory (update paths as needed):

    sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/log/django
    sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/databases/metagov
  10. Load your site in the browser.

Check for errors at /var/log/apache2/error.log and /var/log/django/debug.log (or whatever logging path you have defined in The www-data user should own the Django log directory and have write-access to the log file.

  1. Any time you update the code, you’ll need to run systemctl reload apache2 to reload the server.

Set up Celery

Metagov uses Celery to run scheduled tasks for Governance Processes and Plugin listeners. Follow these instructions to run a celery daemon on your Ubuntu machine using systemd. For more information about configuration options, see the Celery Daemonization.


Using PolicyKit with Metagov? These configuration files are designed specifically to work with the setup where PolicyKit and Metagov are deployed together. PolicyKit and Metagov will use separate celery daemons that use separate RabbitMQ virtual hosts, configured using CELERY_BROKER_URL.

Create RabbitMQ virtual host

Install RabbitMQ and create a virtual host:

sudo apt-get install rabbitmq-server

sudo rabbitmqctl add_user 'username' 'password'
sudo rabbitmqctl add_vhost 'metagov-vhost'
sudo rabbitmqctl set_permissions -p 'metagov-vhost' 'username' '.*' '.*' '.*'

In metagov/, set the CELERY_BROKER_URL as follows, substituting values for your RabbitMQ username, password, and virtual host:


Create celery user

If you don’t already have a celery user, create one:

sudo useradd celery -d /home/celery -b /bin/bash

Give the celery user access to necessary pid and log folders:

sudo useradd celery -d /home/celery -b /bin/bash
sudo mkdir /var/log/celery
sudo chown -R celery:celery /var/log/celery
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/log/celery

sudo mkdir /var/run/celery
sudo chown -R celery:celery /var/run/celery
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/run/celery

The celery user will also need write access to the Django log file and the database. To give celery access, create a group that contains both www-data (the apache2 user) and celery. For example, if your Django logs are in /var/log/django and your database is in /var/databases:

sudo groupadd www-and-celery
sudo usermod -a -G www-and-celery celery
sudo usermod -a -G www-and-celery www-data

# give the group read-write access to logs
sudo chgrp -R www-and-celery /var/log/django
sudo chmod -R 775 /var/log/django

# give the group read-write access to database
sudo chgrp -R www-and-celery /var/databases
sudo chmod -R 775 /var/databases

Create Celery configuration files

Next, you’ll need to create three Celery configuration files for Metagov:



# Absolute or relative path to the 'celery' command:

# App instance to use

# How to call

# Extra command-line arguments to the worker
CELERYD_OPTS="--time-limit=300 --concurrency=4"

# - %n will be replaced with the first part of the nodename.
# - %I will be replaced with the current child process index
#   and is important when using the prefork pool to avoid race conditions.

# you may wish to add these options for Celery Beat


Description=Celery Service

ExecStart=/bin/sh -c '${CELERY_BIN} multi start ${CELERYD_NODES} \
-A ${CELERY_APP} --pidfile=${CELERYD_PID_FILE} \
ExecStop=/bin/sh -c '${CELERY_BIN} multi stopwait ${CELERYD_NODES} \
ExecReload=/bin/sh -c '${CELERY_BIN} multi restart ${CELERYD_NODES} \
-A ${CELERY_APP} --pidfile=${CELERYD_PID_FILE} \



Description=Celery Beat Service

ExecStart=/bin/sh -c '${CELERY_BIN} -A ${CELERY_APP}  \
beat --pidfile=${CELERYBEAT_PID_FILE} \
--logfile=${CELERYBEAT_LOG_FILE} --loglevel=${CELERYD_LOG_LEVEL} \


After creating the files (and after any time you change them) run the following command:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Start Celery services

# Start RabbitMQ
sudo service rabbitmq-server start

# Start celery and celerybeat services
systemctl start celery-metagov celerybeat-metagov

# Check status of all celery services
systemctl status 'celery*'
systemctl list-units | grep celery

# Inspect celery metagov logs
less /var/log/celery/mg1.log          # logs from the worker
less /var/log/celery/metagov_beat.log # logs from celerybeat
less /var/log/django/metagov.log      # tasks should log to metagov's normal file handler

# Restart celery. You'll need to do this whenever the task code changes.
systemctl restart celery-metagov

Troubleshooting: If celery or celerybeat fail to start up as a service, try running celery directly to see if there are errors in your code:

celery -A metagov worker -l info --uid celery
celery -A metagov beat -l info --uid celery --schedule=/var/run/celery/celerybeat-metagov-schedule


Some plugins require administrator setup before they can be used.


In order to use the Metagov Slack plugin, the Metagov server administrator needs to create a new Slack App and store its credentials on the Metagov server:

  1. Go to

  2. Click “Create New App” and select “From an app manifest”

  3. Paste in the manifest.yaml file. Replace $METAGOV_SERVER with the URL for your Metagov server under redirect_urls and request_url. Optional: adjust scopes, events, and bot name as desired.

  4. Click “Manage Distribution”->”Activate Public Distribution.” This step is necessary if you want your app to be installable to multiple Slack workspaces.

  5. On the Metagov server, create the Slack .env file and fill in the App ID, Client ID, Client Secret, and Signing Secret.

    cd metagov/plugins/slack/
    cp .env.example .env
  6. Reload apache2:

    systemctl reload apache2


  1. Create a new account for your bot

  2. Apply for a developer account for that account

  3. Go to the developer portal and create a new Project (NOT a standalone app). Follow the prompts.

  4. On completion, you should see the API Key, API Secret Key, and Bearer Token.

  5. On the Metagov server, copy metagov/plugins/twitter/.env.example to metagov/plugins/twitter/.env.

  6. Fill in TWITTER_API_KEY and TWITTER_API_SECRET_KEY with the values from the previous step.

  7. To get the values for TWITTER_ACCESS_TOKEN and TWITTER_ACCESS_TOKEN_SECRET, you’ll need to generate a new access token and secret in the developer portal.

  8. Reload apache2 for the changes to take effect


In order to ues the Metagov Github plugin, the Metagov server administrator needs to create a new Github app and link it to Metagov:

  1. Create a metagov app and get the app ID. You can follow this guide. Don’t forget to set permissions and subscribe to events.

  2. On Github, generate and download a private key. Put the private key in the github plugin folder.

  3. Make a copy of .env.example and rename it to .env. Put the app ID in the file as well as the path to your private key.

The plugin should now work. To use the app in their community, an admin will have to install the app manually on Github. They will then provide the installation ID and organization name as configuration parameters when enabling the plugin. We are working to make this process smoother in the future.