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Installing a standalone server

Audience: Developers and Admins


This guide walks through how to get started creating your very own Backstage customizable app. This is the first step in evaluating, developing on, or demoing Backstage.

By the end of this guide, you will have a standalone Backstage installation running locally with a SQLite database and demo content. To be clear, this is not a production-ready installation, and it does not contain information specific to your organization.


If you are planning to contribute a new feature or bug fix to the Backstage project, we advise you to follow the Contributors guide instead to do a repository-based installation.


This guide assumes a basic understanding of working on a Linux based operating system and have some experience with the terminal, specifically, these commands: npm, yarn.

1. Create your Backstage App


The Backstage app we'll be creating will only have demo data until we set up integrations with your specific data sources!

To install the Backstage Standalone app, we will make use of npx. npx is a tool that comes preinstalled with Node.js and lets you run commands straight from npm or other registries. Before we jump in to running the command, let's chat about what it does.

This command will create a new directory with a Backstage app inside. The wizard will ask you for the name of the app. This name will be created as sub directory in your current working directory.

create app

Inside that directory, it will generate all the files and folder structure needed for you to run your app.

General folder structure

Below is a simplified layout of the files and folders generated when creating an app.

├── app-config.yaml
├── catalog-info.yaml
├── package.json
└── packages
  ├── app
   └── backend
  • app-config.yaml: Main configuration file for the app. See Configuration for more information.
  • catalog-info.yaml: Catalog Entities descriptors. See Descriptor Format of Catalog Entities to get started.
  • package.json: Root package.json for the project. Note: Be sure that you don't add any npm dependencies here as they probably should be installed in the intended workspace rather than in the root.
  • packages/: Lerna leaf packages or "workspaces". Everything here is going to be a separate package, managed by lerna.
  • packages/app/: An fully functioning Backstage frontend app, that acts as a good starting point for you to get to know Backstage.
  • packages/backend/: We include a backend that helps power features such as Authentication, Software Catalog, Software Templates and TechDocs amongst other things.

Now, that we know what it does, let's run it!

npx @backstage/create-app@latest

This may take a few minutes to fully install everything. Don't stress if the loading seems to be spinning nonstop, there's a lot going on in the background.


If this fails on the yarn install step, it's likely that you will need to install some additional dependencies which are used to configure isolated-vm. You can find out more in their requirements section, and then run yarn install manually again after you've completed those steps.

2. Run the Backstage app

You Backstage app is fully installed and ready to be run! Now that the installation is complete, you can go to the application directory and start the app using the yarn dev command. The yarn dev command will run both the frontend and backend as separate processes (named [0] and [1]) in the same window.

cd my-backstage-app # your app name
yarn dev

Screenshot of the command output, with the message web pack compiled successfully

Here again, there's a small wait for the frontend to start up. Once the frontend is built, your browser window should automatically open.

Browser window didn't open

When you see the message [0] webpack compiled successfully, you can navigate directly to http://localhost:3000 to see your Backstage app.

You can start exploring the demo immediately.

Screenshot of the Backstage portal.


This tutorial walked through how to deploy Backstage using the npx @backstage/create-app@latest command. That command created a new directory that holds your new Backstage app. That app is currently only configured for development purposes, as it is using an in-memory database and contains demo data.

Next steps

Choose the correct next steps for your user role, if you're likely to be deploying and managing a Backstage instance for your organization, look through the Admin section. If you're likely to be developing on/for Backstage, take a look through the Developer section.



Share your experiences, comments, or suggestions with us: on discord, file issues for any feature or plugin suggestions, or bugs you have, and feel free to contribute!