Conda channels

What is a "conda channel"?

Conda packages are downloaded from remote channels, which are URLs to directories containing conda packages. The conda command searches a default set of channels, and packages are automatically downloaded and updated from You can modify what remote channels are automatically searched. You might want to do this to maintain a private or internal channel. For details, see how to modify your channel lists.

We use conda-forge as an example channel. Conda-forge is a community channel made up of thousands of contributors. Conda-forge itself is analogous to PyPI but with a unified, automated build infrastructure and more peer review of recipes.

Specifying channels when installing packages

  • From the command line use --channel

$ conda install scipy --channel conda-forge

You may specify multiple channels by passing the argument multiple times:

$ conda install scipy --channel conda-forge --channel bioconda

Priority decreases from left to right - the first argument is higher priority than the second.

  • From the command line use --override-channels to only search the specified channel(s), rather than any channels configured in .condarc. This also ignores conda's default channels.

$ conda search scipy --channel file:/<path to>/local-channel --override-channels
  • In .condarc, use the key channels to see a list of channels for conda to search for packages.

Learn more about managing channels.