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.
- Install on Mac/Linux
- Install on Windows
sh -ci "$(curl -fsSL https://smartcontracts.org/install.sh)"
There is no native support for
dfx on Windows. However, by installing the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), you can run
dfx also on a Windows system as described below.
Installing WSL 2
Follow Microsoft's instructions for installing the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Make sure you are running Windows 10 (version 2004 or higher) or Windows 11.
Supported WSL Versions
Theoretically, WSL 1 and WSL 2 should both allow you to run
dfx. However, we recommend WSL 2. WSL Comparison explains the differences between WSL1 and WSL 2.
Check your WSL version
Run the command
wsl –list –verbose (wsl -l -v) to check the Linux distributions installed on your Windows machine. Below is an example output.
NAME STATE VERSION
* Ubuntu Running 2
To learn more about the
wsl command, check the command reference for WSL.
Upgrade from WSL 1
If you have WSL 1 installed, follow the upgrade instructions to upgrade to WSL 2. Basically you need to:
- Install the WSL 2 Linux kernel update package.
- Run the following command to set your Linux distributions to version 2.
wsl --set-version <distribution name> 2
After you have WSL installed, you can launch the Linux distributions by name.
Ubuntu.exe is the command to start the
Ubuntu distribution from the command line.
Once you have WSL installed, you can install
dfx within your WSL Linux terminal as described in Installing the SDK.
Node.js is not properly installed
WSL 2 has node.js
10.x.x installed by default. But the latest
dfx requires node.js
16.0.0 or higher.
Permission Denied when running
Projects created from
dfx need to be on the Linux filesystem instead of the Windows filesystem. Usually
cd ~ or
cd $HOME in the WSL terminal will bring you to the home directory, and creating projects in there should work.
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:
|dfx||DFINITY execution command-line interface (CLI)|
|moc||Motoko runtime compiler|
|replica||Internet Computer local network binary|
|uninstall.sh||Script to remove the SDK and all of its components|
|versions||Cache directory that contains a subdirectory for each version of the SDK you install.|
Core components in a versioned directory
~/.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:
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
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 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.
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
If you are uninstalling because you want to immediately reinstall a clean version of
dfx, you can run the following command:
~/.cache/dfinity/uninstall.sh && sh -ci "$(curl -sSL https://smartcontracts.org/install.sh)"