Installation on Unix

If you have a prepackaged version of Cherokee available in your Unix/Linux favorite variant, please use the provided installation mechanism of choice. This will provide you with automatic bootup scripts, consistency and dependency checks, and an easy upgrade path tailored to your system whenever a new package is available.

Skip through to the APT section of this document if you are using Debian or Ubuntu.

If you do not find a prepackaged version that suits your needs, you can always download and compile your own.


  1. Download a fresh copy of Cherokee

  2. Configure the package for your system:

    ./configure --localstatedir=/var     \
                --prefix=/usr            \
                --sysconfdir=/etc        \
  3. Compile the package:

  4. Install the programs and any data files:

    make install
  5. Start cherokee-admin

Advanced parameters

If you want to learn more about configure you can run ./configure --help. The list of parameter is extensive, so you might want to take a look at it, particularly if you are a developer. Some of the most used parameters are these:

Parameter Description


Specify the webserver root directory


Custom username under which the server will run


Custom group under which the server will run


Disable epoll() support


Disable threading support


Disable readdir_r usage


Disable IPv6 support


Disable PAM support


Skips cherokee-admin installation


omit support for large files


Enable internal PCRE


do not use Native Language Support


Enable beta development


Enable the tracing mechanism


Enable backtraces on error


Disable epoll() support


build listed modules as static. Accepts ALL


If you need the cherokee webserver to start at boot (through init’s runlevel) you can find a start/stop script in the contrib source directory:

cp contrib/cherokee /etc/init.d/

Additionally, you need to create symlinks at the correct rc directory of the appropriate runlevel. This can be done in many ways and usually each distribution offers its own tools to do so.


This section is intended for those who use Debian and Ubuntu and want to use the latest -and greatest- version of Cherokee when it is not yet available on the APT repositories. You can do several things besides installing manually.

For Ubuntu users, simply use the PPA repository. Normally when a new Cherokee version is released, the repositories will be swiftly updated. Simply type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cherokee-webserver

That will add the PPA keys. You just need to sudo apt-get update afterwards.

Please note that there are two Launchpad Cherokee repositories: the current (stable) repository and the new repository called i-tse (new in Cherokee language).

Everytime a new cherokee version is released it goes straight to the the i-tse repository. If no critical bugs are found or no new version is released within 8 days, this version is then moved moved to the current PPA. It is also pushed to Debian Unstable.

Doing this ensures that production servers using the current version get a tested version every time they upgrade.

If you want to use the i-tse ( NEW ) version just add the new repository:

Ubuntu Lucid
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cherokee-webserver/i-tse
Karmic, Jaunty, Hardy: add this to your sources.list

For Debian users, you will have to use packages from Unstable or Testing if you want to keep up.

Cherokee does not have deep dependencies, so apt-pinning might be enough for you.

The APT suite can handle more than one set of packages with different priorities. If you want to get the latest Cherokee off unstable, you can make your /etc/apt/sources.list be:

 deb lenny main
 deb-src lenny main

 deb sid main
 deb-src sid main

And set your preferences to lenny in /etc/apt/preferences:

 Package: *
 Pin: release a=stable
 Pin-priority: 900

 Package: *
 Pin: release a=testing
 Pin-priority: 200

Just make the pin-priority lower. Then, aptitude update to get the full lists, and install Cherokee from unstable:

# aptitude -t testing install cherokee

This will probably pull newer versions of libssl-dev, libssl0.9.8 and mysql-common to fulfill dependencies. Of course, this might break other packages depending on those specific versions, but it is not very likely.

Debian package from source

PPA and Unstable repositories keep up to date with the latest Cherokee releases. Usually the time lapse between releasing a new version and having the repositories updated is really short.

However, in the event that they arent, some options remain if you want to enjoy the latest Cherokee enhancements. Besides building directly from our SVN repository, you can build from source for Debian/Ubuntu. You will be able to build it cleanly in a .deb package with dependencies, and push the new release as fast as possible to production.

The process is very straight forward. As with any Debian package, it should be enough just to download the source package, get its build-dependencies, and build.

$ apt-get source cherokee
$ sudo apt-get build-dep cherokee
$ cd cherokee-*     # depending on your version
$ debuild

Of course, if you want to contribute to Debian/Ubuntu packaging, it is a bit more involved.

You should instead clone the Git repository at git://

After that, the process for building is very similar. You only need to get Cherokee’s official sources, which can be done running the following command within the Cherokee tree:

$ uscan --force

And build using git-buildpackage:

$ git-buildpackage

That’s it.