2.2. Installation on Windows

There are two ways to install CouchDB on Windows.

2.2.1. Installation from binaries

This is the simplest way to go.

  1. Get the latest Windows binaries from CouchDB web site. Old releases are available at archive.
  2. Follow the installation wizard steps:
    • Next on “Welcome” screen
    • Accept the License agreement
    • Select the installation directory
    • Specify “Start Menu” group name
    • Approve that you’d like to install CouchDB as service and let it be started automatically after installation (probably, you’d like so)
    • Verify installation settings
    • Install CouchDB
  3. Open up Futon (if you hadn’t selected autostart CouchDB after installation, you have to start it first manually)
  4. It’s time to Relax!


In some cases you might been asked to reboot Windows to complete installation process, because of using on different Microsoft Visual C++ runtimes by CouchDB.


Upgrading note

It’s recommended to uninstall previous CouchDB version before upgrading, especially if the new one is built against different Erlang release. The reason is simple: there may be leftover libraries with alternative or incompatible versions from old Erlang release that may create conflicts, errors and weird crashes.

In this case, make sure you backup of your local.ini config and CouchDB database/index files.

2.2.2. Installation from sources

If you’re Windows geek, this section is for you!


Please work through these in order if you experience any problems.


You should have the following installed:

You will only need libcurl if you plan to run the JavaScript test suite. And help2man is only need if you plan on installing the CouchDB man pages. Python and Sphinx are only required for building the online documentation.

General Notes

  • When installing Cygwin, be sure to select all the development tools.
  • When installing Erlang, you must build it from source.
  • The CouchDB build requires a number of the Erlang build scripts.
  • All dependent libraries should be built with the same version of Microsoft SDK.
  • Do not try to link against libraries built with, or included in, Cygwin or MingW. They are not compatible with the Erlang/OTP or CouchDB build scripts.
  • ICU version 4.6 and later will build cleanly using MSBuild.
  • Python and Sphinx are optional for building the online documentation. Use cygwin-provided Python and install Sphinx via easy_install or pip. Further information is here http://pypi.python.org/pypi/setuptools#id4

Setting Up Cygwin

Before starting any Cygwin terminals, run:

set CYGWIN=nontsec

To set up your environment, run:


Replace [VS_BIN] with the path to your Visual Studio bin directory.

You must check that:

  • The which link command points to the Microsoft linker.
  • The which cl command points to the Microsoft compiler.
  • The which mc command points to the Microsoft message compiler.
  • The which mt command points to the Microsoft manifest tool.
  • The which nmake command points to the Microsoft make tool.

If you do not do this, the build may fail due to Cygwin ones found in /usr/bin being used instead.

Building Erlang

You must include Win32 OpenSSL, built statically from source. Use exactly the same version as required by the Erlang/OTP build process.

However, you can skip the GUI tools by running:

echo "skipping gs" > lib/gs/SKIP

echo "skipping ic" > lib/ic/SKIP

echo "skipping jinterface" > lib/jinterface/SKIP

Follow the rest of the Erlang instructions as described.

After running:

./otp_build release -a

You should run:

./release/win32/Install.exe -s

This will set up the release/win32/bin directory correctly. The CouchDB installation scripts currently write their data directly into this location.

To set up your environment for building CouchDB, run:

eval `./otp_build env_win32`

To set up the ERL_TOP environment variable, run:

export ERL_TOP=[ERL_TOP]

Replace [ERL_TOP] with the Erlang source directory name.

Remember to use /cygdrive/c/ instead of c:/ as the directory prefix.

To set up your path, run:

export PATH=$ERL_TOP/release/win32/erts-5.8.5/bin:$PATH

If everything was successful, you should be ready to build CouchDB.


Building CouchDB

Note that win32-curl is only required if you wish to run the developer tests.

The documentation step may be skipped using --disable-docs if you wish.

Once you have satisfied the dependencies you should run:

./configure \
    --with-js-include=/cygdrive/c/path_to_spidermonkey_include \
    --with-js-lib=/cygdrive/c/path_to_spidermonkey_lib \
    --with-win32-icu-binaries=/cygdrive/c/path_to_icu_binaries_root \
    --with-erlang=$ERL_TOP/release/win32/usr/include \
    --with-win32-curl=/cygdrive/c/path/to/curl/root/directory \
    --with-openssl-bin-dir=/cygdrive/c/openssl/bin \
    --with-msvc-redist-dir=/cygdrive/c/dir/with/vcredist_platform_executable \
    --disable-init \
    --disable-launchd \

This command could take a while to complete.

If everything was successful you should see the following message:

You have configured Apache CouchDB, time to relax.


To install CouchDB you should run:

make install

If everything was successful you should see the following message:

You have installed Apache CouchDB, time to relax.


To build the .exe installer package, you should run:

make dist

Alternatively, you may run CouchDB directly from the build tree, but to avoid any contamination do not run make dist after this.

First Run

You can start the CouchDB server by running:


When CouchDB starts it should eventually display the following message:

Apache CouchDB has started, time to relax.


To check that everything has worked, point your web browser to:

From here you should run the verification tests in Firefox.