Getting started

Wagtail is built on the Django web framework, so this document assumes you’ve already got the essentials installed. But if not, those essentials are:

  • Python
  • pip (Note that pip is included by default with Python 3.4 and later)

We’d also recommend Virtualenv, which provides isolated Python environments:


Before installing Wagtail, it is necessary to install the libjpeg and zlib libraries, which provide support for working with JPEG, PNG and GIF images (via the Python Pillow library). The way to do this varies by platform - see Pillow’s platform-specific installation instructions.

With the above installed, the quickest way to install Wagtail is:

If you are using Virtualenv, run

$ virtualenv env -p python3
$ source env/bin/activate
$ pip install wagtail

(sudo may be required if installing system-wide or without virtualenv)

Once installed, Wagtail provides a command similar to Django’s django-admin startproject which stubs out a new site/project:

$ wagtail start mysite

This will create a new folder mysite, based on a template containing all you need to get started. More information on that template is available here.

Inside your mysite folder, we now just run the setup steps necessary for any Django project:

$ pip install -r requirements.txt
$ ./ migrate
$ ./ createsuperuser
$ ./ runserver

Your site is now accessible at http://localhost:8000, with the admin backend available at http://localhost:8000/admin/.

This will set you up with a new stand-alone Wagtail project. If you’d like to add Wagtail to an existing Django project instead, see Integrating Wagtail into a Django project.

There are a few optional packages which are not installed by default but are recommended to improve performance or add features to Wagtail, including: