Adding Packages

At some point you may need to install packages that are't pre-installed by your engine. Nanobox maintains its own custom-compiled package library from which packages can be downloaded, installed, and included in both your development and production environments.

Don't Use apt-get

Each Nanobox server is provisioned using a bare-bones Ubuntu image. Generally, apt-get is used to download and install packages in Linux, but with Nanobox, apt-get shouldn't be used.

apt-get installs packages in the /usr directory. Nanobox only includes the /data and /app directories in your deployed runtime, so any packages installed with apt-get will not get deployed and will not be available in production.

Installing Packages

The extra_packages and dev_packages options in the boxfile.yml allow you to include packages in your app's runtime.

Packages listed as extra_packages are installed and will be available in both local development and production environments. Packages listed as dev_packages are only installed and available in your local development environment. They are not included in your deployed runtime.


  # ...
    - curl
    - nodejs


  # ...
    - inotify-tools

Specific Package Versions in dev_packages

If you need a specific package version in dev_packages, you need to list the entire package name, including the major, minor, and patch versions (leaving off the .tgz extension). For example, nodejs-8.1.2 would work, but nodejs-8 would not.

pkgin isn't able to properly remove packages with partial version numbers. All dev_packages get removed before the your app is deployed.

Where to Find Packages

Only packages included in the Nanobox pkgsrc can be installed as extra_packages or dev_packages. Use the link below to browse avialable packages.

Note: This is currently only a system-generated list of all the available packages, but we do have plans to provide an easy-to-use, searchable pkgsrc UI.

Requesting Packages

If you need a package that isn't available in the Nanobox pkgsrc, feel free to create a new issue on the Nanobox pkgsrc repository, reach out in the Nanobox Slack Channel, or email us at

Reach out to and we'll try to help.