Creating custom channels

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

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

To create a custom channel:

  1. If you have not yet used conda-build, install conda-build:

    conda install conda-build
  2. Organize all the packages in subdirectories for the platforms you wish to serve:

  3. Run conda index on the channel root directory:

    conda index channel/

    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.


    Each time you add or modify a package in the channel, you must rerun conda index for conda to see the update.

  4. To test custom channels, 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 you want a file in the custom channel location /opt/channel/linux-64/, search for files in that location:

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


    The channel URL does not include the platform, as conda automatically detects and adds the platform.


    The option --override-channels ensures that conda searches only 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 get the following output:

    Fetching package metadata: . . . .

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