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Running Renovate

As end user, you can choose from these ways to run Renovate:

  • You use the Mend Renovate app on GitHub, or
  • You self-host Renovate, for example by running the pre-built Docker image, or
  • Someone else is hosting Renovate, and you install/configure it for the repositories you choose

If you're using the Mend Renovate App on GitHub, or if someone else is hosting Renovate for you, skip ahead to the installing & onboarding page.

Self-Hosting Renovate

When self-hosting Renovate you're the "administrator" of the bot, this means you:

  • provide the infrastructure that Renovate runs on,
  • provision Renovate's global config,
  • make sure Renovate bot runs regularly,
  • make sure Renovate bot itself is updated

If you're self-hosting Renovate on Windows, read Self-hosting on Windows to prevent line endings from confusing Renovate bot.

Available distributions

npm package (CLI)

Renovate's Open Source CLI is built and distributed as the npm package renovate. You can run this package in any Node.js environment - even via npx - and it will process all the repositories it is configured with, before exiting.

When installing Renovate via npm you are responsible for installing any third-party tools or languages like Ruby, Python, Composer, Bundler, Poetry, etc.

The renovate npm package is compatible with all of Renovate's supported platforms.

Docker images

Renovate is also distributed as Docker images on Docker Hub (renovate/renovate) and GitHub container registry ( These Docker images work on all the hosting platforms that Renovate supports.

You must run the Docker images in a linux/amd64 container. We're working on linux/arm64 container support. You can't run the Docker images in a Windows or macOS container.

In general, you can run Renovate natively on Windows as long as you have all tools it will need (e.g. npm, pipenv, etc.) preinstalled before you run Renovate.

There are two flavors:

  • The -slim image
  • The default "full" image, this is the image you'll get if you use the latest tag
The slim image

The -slim image only comes with the Node.js environment. By default, the image installs the required tools when needed. We recommend the -slim image for most users.

If you want, you can map the Docker socket into the container so that Renovate can dynamically invoke "sidecar" images when needed. You'll need to set binarySource=docker for this to work. Read the binarySource config option docs for more information.

The default image

The default image comes with most package managers that Renovate supports, but not all package managers.

You must set binarySource=global, if you don't then Renovate still installs the latest version of the tools or the requested version from the repository. Update your Docker images regularly to keep the pre-installed tools up-to-date.

Renovate supports a persistent cache for downloaded tools, so that it only needs to unpack the tools on later runs. Use the containerbaseDir config option to control where Renovate stores its containerbase cache.

The default image is for users who don't want to download or install things at runtime. The default image has some downsides, because it:

  • Comes pre-installed with one version of each language/manager - usually the latest
  • Weighs several gigabytes

GitHub Action

Renovate's npm tool is also provided as a GitHub Action on renovatebot/github-action. Details on how to use it can be found in the repository.

GitLab Runner

The Renovate team provide a "Renovate Runner" project to make it easier to run Renovate as a CI pipeline job. This supports both and self-hosted GitLab. Details for how it works can be found in the project.

Mend Renovate On-Premises

Mend Renovate On-Premises (WSOP) started out as a commercial product "Renovate Pro", but was renamed and made free to use when Renovate became a part of Mend (formerly WhiteSource) in 2019. It is built similarly to the default "full" Renovate image described above, but with these differences:

  • It is a stateful app and does not exit after processing all repositories
  • It is installed as an App on GitHub, and behaves similarly on GitLab - for example responding to webhooks
  • It includes a priority job queue which prioritizes events like merged PRs over scheduled jobs
  • It is released every 1-2 months in a slower, more stable cadence than Renovate OSS, which releases on every commit
  • It's licensed using an end-user license agreement (EULA) and not the Affero General Public License (AGPL)

WSOP supports GitHub (both and GitHub Enterprise Server) as well as GitLab self-hosted. Documentation can be found in its public GitHub repository whitesource/renovate-on-prem.

Mend Remediate

Mend Remediate is an extension of WSOP available for Mend commercial customers, with full enterprise support. It is integrated with Mend's vulnerability detection capabilities and additionally supports the capability of "horizontal" scalability - the ability to configure many Renovate "worker" containers which share a common job queue in order to not conflict with each other.

Mend Remediate supports GitHub Enterprise Server, GitLab self-hosted, and Bitbucket Server.

Forking Renovate app

"Forking Renovate" is the sister app to the Mend Renovate App on The difference is that Forking Renovate does not need write permissions to create branches within the repo, and instead submits PRs from its own fork. Because of how it works, it functions on public repositories only and additionally cannot support automerge capabilities.

Install Forking Renovate from GitHub App.


Forking Renovate needs only read level access to the code of any repository it runs on.


If you use Forking Renovate, you'll miss out on these features of the regular Renovate app:

  • Automerge
  • The baseBranches config option
  • The app dashboard (

Hosting Renovate

After deciding on a Renovate distribution, you need to decide where and how to run it.

For the GitHub Action and GitLab Runner approaches, they will naturally run on their respective CI infrastructure. For the npm package approach or Docker images, you will need some form of VM or container infrastructure to run Renovate on.

In all the above cases you must make sure that some form of cron-like capability exists to schedule when Renovate runs. We recommend that you run Renovate hourly, if possible.

Mend Renovate On-Premises and Mend Remediate both run as long-lived containers, so they do not need any additional cron-like concept as it is built-in.

Global config

Renovate's server-side/admin config is referred to as its "global" config, and can be set by using either:

  • a config file, or
  • environment variables, or
  • CLI parameters

By default Renovate checks if a file named config.js is present. Any other (*.js, *.json, *.json5, *.yaml or *.yml) file is supported, when you reference it with the RENOVATE_CONFIG_FILE environment variable (for example: RENOVATE_CONFIG_FILE=config.yaml).

Some config is global-only, meaning that either it is only applicable to the bot administrator or it can only be controlled by the administrator and not repository users. Those are documented in Self-hosted Configuration. Your bot's global config can include both global as well as non-global configuration options, while user/repo config can only include non-global options. We recommend that you keep as much of the non-global config as possible in repository config files. This way the Renovate end users can see as much of the bot's configuration as possible.

If you are configuring Renovate using environment variables, there are two possibilities:

  • Upper-cased, camel-cased, RENOVATE_-prefixed single config options like RENOVATE_TOKEN=abc123 or
  • Set RENOVATE_CONFIG to a stringified version of the full JSON config, for example: RENOVATE_CONFIG='{"token":"abc123","gitAuthor":""}'

If you combine both of the above then any single config option in the environment variable will override what's in RENOVATE_CONFIG.


It's also possible to change the default prefix from RENOVATE_ using ENV_PREFIX. For example: ENV_PREFIX=RNV_ RNV_TOKEN=abc123 renovate.

Using config.js

If you use a config.js, it will be expected to export a configuration via module.exports. The value can be either a plain JavaScript object like in this example where config.js exports a plain object:

module.exports = {
  token: 'abcdefg',

config.js may also export a Promise of such an object, or a function that will return either a plain JavaScript object or a Promise of such an object. This allows one to include the results of asynchronous operations in the exported value. An example of a config.js that exports an async function (which is a function that returns a Promise) can be seen in a comment for #10011: Allow autodiscover filtering for repo topic and more examples can be seen in file.spec.ts.


Regardless of platform, you need to select a user account for renovate to assume the identity of, and generate a Personal Access Token. We recommend you use @renovate-bot as username if you're on a self-hosted server where you can set all usernames. We also recommend you configure config.gitAuthor with the same identity as your Renovate user, for example: "gitAuthor": "Renovate Bot <renovate@some.domain.test>".


We recommend you use a single, dedicated username for your Renovate bot. Never share the Renovate username with your other bots, as this can cause flip-flopping.


Read the platform-specific docs to learn how to setup authentication on your platform: token for release notes

If you are running on any platform except, you should also set the environment variable GITHUB_COM_TOKEN and put the Personal Access Token for in it. This account can be any account on GitHub, and needs only read-only access. It's used when fetching release notes for repositories in order to increase the hourly API limit. It's also OK to configure the same as a host rule instead, if you prefer that.


If you're using Renovate in a project where dependencies are loaded from (such as Go modules hosted on GitHub), we highly recommend that you add a PAT (classic). Otherwise you will exceed the rate limit for the API, which will lead to Renovate closing and reopening PRs because it could not get reliable info on updated dependencies.

Self-hosting examples

For more examples on running Renovate self-hosted, read our Self-hosted examples page.