Installation in Python virtual environment

Beginners should check our getting started guide first.

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. 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.

Basic guide

The basic guide is for testing Home Assistant. Also check the advanced guide for instances used in production.

Step 1: Install dependencies

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade
$ sudo apt-get install python3-pip python3-dev python3-venv
$ sudo pip3 install --upgrade virtualenv

Step 2: Setup virtualenv

$ python3 -m venv $HOME/homeassistant

Step 3: Install or update Home Assistant

$ source $HOME/homeassistant/bin/activate
(homeassistant)$ pip3 install --upgrade homeassistant

Step 4: Run Home Assistant

$ $HOME/homeassistant/bin/hass

Advanced guide

Separate user & group for Home Assistant (Basic guide step 2)

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 /home/homeassistant/.homeassistant.

If you plan to use a Z-Wave controller, you will need to add this user to the dialout group:

$ sudo usermod -G dialout -a homeassistant

Custom installation directory for Home Assistant (Basic guide step 2)

This can be anywhere you want. We chose to put it in /srv. You also need to change the ownership of the directory to the user you created above.

$ sudo mkdir /srv/homeassistant
$ sudo chown homeassistant:homeassistant /srv/homeassistant
$ python3 -m venv /srv/homeassistant

Install or update Home Assistant

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

The 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).

$ source /srv/homeassistant/bin/activate
(homeassistant)$ pip3 install --upgrade homeassistant

Run Home Assistant (Basic guide step 4)

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 or specify the configuration with -c.

$ sudo -u homeassistant -H /srv/homeassistant/bin/hass

The -H flag is important. It sets the $HOME environment variable to /home/homeassistant so hass can find its configuration.

Starting Home Assistant on boot

The autostart instructions will work just fine, just be sure to replace /usr/bin/hass with /srv/homeassistant/bin/hass and specify the homeassistant user where appropriate.