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Installing the SDK

You can download and install the latest version of the DFINITY Canister smart contract SDK, called dfx, by running the command below. The topics here provide additional information about installing, upgrading, and removing the SDK.

dfx is natively supported on Linux or macOS 12.* Monterey or later.

To install dfx, run
    sh -ci "$(curl -fsSL"

What gets installed

The SDK installation script installs several components in default locations on your local computer. The following table describes the development environment components that the installation script installs:

ComponentDescriptionDefault location
dfxDFINITY execution command-line interface (CLI)/usr/local/bin/dfx
mocMotoko runtime compiler~/.cache/dfinity/versions/<VERSION>/moc
replicaInternet Computer local network binary~/.cache/dfinity/versions/<VERSION>/replica
uninstall.shScript to remove the SDK and all of its components~/.cache/dfinity/
versionsCache directory that contains a subdirectory for each version of the SDK you install.~/.cache/dfinity/versions

Core components in a versioned directory

The ~/.cache/dfinity/versions directory stores one or more versioned subdirectories of the SDK. Each versioned subdirectory contains the all of the directories and files required for a specific version of the SDK. For example, if you list the contents of the ~/.cache/dfinity/versions/0.9.3 directory you would see the following core components:

total 349192
drwxr-xr-x 17 pubs staff 544 Mar 15 11:55 .
drwxr-xr-x 4 pubs staff 128 Mar 25 14:36 ..
drwxr-xr-x 49 pubs staff 1568 Mar 15 11:55 base
drwxr-xr-x 20 pubs staff 640 Mar 15 11:55 bootstrap
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 66253292 Mar 15 11:55 dfx
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 10496256 Dec 31 1969 ic-ref
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 5663644 Dec 31 1969 ic-starter
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 9604 Dec 31 1969 libcharset.1.0.0.dylib
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 38220 Dec 31 1969 libffi.7.dylib
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 668300 Dec 31 1969 libgmp.10.dylib
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 958248 Dec 31 1969 libiconv.2.4.0.dylib
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 4200 Dec 31 1969 libiconv.dylib
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 96900 Dec 31 1969 libz.1.2.11.dylib
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 15417684 Dec 31 1969 mo-doc
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 14634020 Dec 31 1969 mo-ide
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 15111508 Dec 31 1969 moc
-r-x------ 1 pubs staff 49404128 Dec 31 1969 replica

Motoko base directory

The base directory in the versioned subdirectory of the SDK contains the Motoko base library modules that are compatible with that version of the SDK. Because the Motoko base library is evolving rapidly, you should only use the base modules that are packaged with the version of the SDK that you have installed.

Bootstrap directory

The bootstrap directory contains web server code that is deprecated. Beginning with version 0.7.0, agents can call an HTTP middleware server instead of the bootstrap code. This change enables canisters to respond to HTTP requests directly and operate more like traditional web-based applications.

Upgrading to the latest version

If a new version of the SDK is available for download after your initial installation, you should install the updated version at your earliest convenience to get the latest fixes and enhancements as soon as possible. You can use the dfx upgrade command to compare the version you have currently installed against the latest version available for download. If a newer version of dfx is available, the dfx upgrade command automatically downloads and installs the latest version.

Note that you don't need to uninstall the software before installing the new version. However, if you want to perform a clean installation rather than an upgrade, you can first uninstall the software as described in Removing the software, then re-run the download and installation command.

For information about the features and fixes in the latest release, see the Release notes.

Installing a specific version

The install script looks for the environment variable DFX_VERSION to check if it is supposed to install a specific version of the SDK or to simply install the latest version. If you want to install e.g. version 0.11.1 specifically, you would run this:

DFX_VERSION=0.11.1 sh -ci "$(curl -sSL"

Setting a default version

If defined, dfx will always run the version specified in the project's dfx.json in the key "dfx". For example, if your dfx.json contains "dfx": "0.11.1", any dfx command you run within this project's directory will be executed by dfx of version 0.11.1. Should the defined version not be installed (e.g. because you cloned a repo that was created for a different version than you have installed locally), dfx will report an error.

To set a global default (that gets overwritten by project-specific settings from the project's dfx.json), run the install script with the desired version, even if it is already installed.

Building from source

If you would like to compile dfx by yourself, head over to the sdk repo. The README contains the instructions how you can build it on your own.

Removing the software

When you install the SDK, the installation script puts the required binary files in a local directory and creates a cache. You can remove the SDK binaries and cache from your local computer by running the uninstall script located in the .cache folder.

For example:


If you are uninstalling because you want to immediately reinstall a clean version of dfx, you can run the following command:

~/.cache/dfinity/ && sh -ci "$(curl -sSL"