Custom channels

Channels are the path that conda takes to look for packages, and the easiest way to use and manage custom channels is to use a private or public repository on, formerly known as If you designate your repository as private, then only you, and those you grant access, can access your private repository.

If you do not wish to upload your packages to the internet, however, you can build a custom repository served either through a web server, or locally using a file:// url.

Custom channel/private repository summary

  1. Organize packages into platform subdirectories.
  2. Run conda index on each of the platform subdirectories.
  3. Test custom channels.

1. Organize packages into platform subdirectories

To create a custom channel, first organize all the packages in subdirectories for the platforms you wish to serve.



2. Run conda index on each of the platform subdirectories

The ‘conda index’ command is part of the conda-build package. If you have not yet used conda build, begin by installing conda build:

conda install conda-build

Now run conda index on each of the platform subdirectories as shown:

conda index channel/linux-64 channel/osx-64

The conda index command generates a file repodata.json, saved to each repository directory, which conda uses to get the metadata for the packages in the channel.

Note: Each time you add or modify a package in the channel, you must re-run conda index for conda to see the update.

3. Test custom channels

You can now serve the custom channel using a web server, or using a file:// url to the channel directory. Test by sending a search command to the custom channel.

Example: if a file you want from the custom channel location is located at /opt/channel/linux-64/

Then search for files in that location as shown:

conda search -c file://opt/channel/ --override-channels

Note: The channel url does NOT include the platform, as conda will automatically detect and add the platform.

Note: the –override-channels is to be sure conda only searches your specified channel and no other channels, such as default channels or any other channels you may have listed in your .condarc file.

If you have set up your private repository correctly, you will see:

Fetching package metadata: . . . .

This will be followed by a list of the conda packages found. This verifies that you have set up and indexed your private repository successfully.