There are several reasons why it makes sense to run Home Assistant in a virtual environment. A virtualenv encapsulates all aspect of a Python environment within a single directory tree. That means the Python packages you install for Home Assistant won’t interact with the rest of your system and vice-versa. It means a random upgrade for some other program on your computer won’t break Home Assistant, and it means you don’t need to install Python packages as root.
Virtualenvs are pretty easy to setup. This example will walk through one method of setting one up (there are certainly others). We’ll be using Debian in this example (as many Home Assistant users are running Raspbian on a Raspberry Pi), but all of the Python related steps should be the same on just about any platform.
$ sudo apt-get update $ sudo apt-get upgrade $ sudo apt-get install python-pip python3-dev $ sudo pip install --upgrade virtualenv
This step is optional, but it’s a good idea to give services like Home Assistant their own user. It gives you more granular control over permissions, and reduces the exposure to the rest of your system in the event there is a security related bug in Home Assistant. This is a reasonably Linux oriented step, and will look different on other operating systems (or even other Linux distributions).
$ sudo adduser --system homeassistant $ sudo addgroup homeassistant
Home Assistant stores its configuration in
$HOME/.homeassistant by default, so in this case, it would be in
If you plan to use a Z-Wave controller, you will need to add this user to the
$ sudo usermod -G dialout -a homeassistant
This can be anywhere you want. As example we put it in
/srv. You also need to change the ownership of the directory to the user you created above (if you created one).
$ sudo mkdir /srv/homeassistant $ sudo chown homeassistant:homeassistant /srv/homeassistant
This is obviously only necessary if you created a
homeassistant user, but if you did, be sure to switch to that user whenever you install things in your virtualenv, otherwise you’ll end up with mucked up permissions.
$ sudo su -s /bin/bash homeassistant
su command means ‘switch’ user. We use the ‘-s’ flag because the
homeassistant user is a system user and doesn’t have a default shell by default (to prevent attackers from being able to log in as that user).
All this step does is stick a Python environment in the directory we’re using. That’s it. It’s just a directory. There’s nothing special about it, and it is entirely self-contained.
It will include a
bin directory, which will contain all the executables used in the virtualenv (including Home Assistant itself). It also includes a script called
activate which we will use to activate the virtualenv.
$ virtualenv -p python3 /srv/homeassistant
$ source /srv/homeassistant/bin/activate
After that, your prompt should include
Once your virtualenv has been activated, you don’t need to
sudo any of your
pip will be installing things in the virtualenv, which the
homeassistant user has permission to modify.
(homeassistant)$ pip3 install --upgrade homeassistant
And that’s it… you now have Home Assistant installed, and you can be sure that every bit of it is contained in
There are two ways to launch Home Assistant. If you are in the virtualenv, you can just run
hass and it will work as normal. If the virtualenv is not activated, you just use the
hass executable in the
bin directory mentioned earlier. There is one caveat… Because Home Assistant stores its configuration in the user’s home directory, we need to be the user
homeassistant user or specify the configuration with
$ sudo -u homeassistant -H /srv/homeassistant/bin/hass
-H flag is important. It sets the
$HOME environment variable to
hass can find its configuration.
Upgrading Home Assistant is simple, just repeat steps 3, 5 and 6.
The autostart instructions will work just fine, just be sure to replace
/srv/homeassistant/bin/hass and specify the
homeassistant user where appropriate.