Configure Renovate (Onboarding PR)

Once you have enabled Renovate on a repository, you will receive a "Configure Renovate" Pull Request looking something like this:


No risk onboarding

Conveniently, Renovate will not make any changes to your repository or raise any further Pull Requests until after you merge this initial Pull Request. If there is anything about the Pull Request that you don't like or understand, take your time to read the documentation or ask questions on the discussions forum on GitHub and merge the PR only once you're satisfied with the result.

You can edit your Renovate configuration within the renovate/configure branch and Renovate will keep updating the description in the PR to match, so you can keep doing that until you're satisfied with the results.

Check for warnings

If you have any Warnings or Errors listed, see if you need or want to make any changes to address them. If you do, then make them in your base branch (e.g. main) so that Renovate can recreate its Configure Renovate PR from it on its next cycle.

Configuration location

The "Configure Renovate" PR will include a renovate.json file in the root directory, with suggested default settings. If you don't want a renovate.json file in your repository you can use one of the following files instead:

  • renovate.json5
  • .github/renovate.json
  • .github/renovate.json5
  • .gitlab/renovate.json
  • .gitlab/renovate.json5
  • .renovaterc
  • .renovaterc.json
  • package.json


You can add the same settings to a "renovate" section in your package.json file instead. The package.json file must be located at the root of your repository. This is handy if you are already using a package.json file anyway, e.g. when you're working on a JavaScript project. The configuration in your package.json will apply to the whole project (this includes other, nested package.json files).

Customised defaults

Most of the settings in the renovate.json onboarding configuration are defaults, however usually this configuration file will have some default overrides in it, such as:

  • Automatically enabling Angular-style semantic commits if your repository uses them
  • Determining whether to use dependency range pinning depending on the detected project type (app vs library)

Common overrides

Please check the docs on this website for an exhaustive Configuration Reference. To help you get started, here are some of the most commonly changed (overridden) configuration settings:

  • rangeStrategy: By default (with zero config) it's "replace" however the "config:base" preset overrides it to "auto". If you don't want to pin dependency versions and retain ranges, add the ":preserveSemverRanges" preset to the extends array
  • labels: Labels to assign to Pull Requests
  • assignees: GitHub user(s) to assign the Pull Requests to

Renovate will update your PR description each time it finds changes.


Once you're done checking and configuring in your Configure Renovate PR, it's time to merge it to enable the real Pull Requests to begin.