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Using Plugins

This doc describes how to use Devbox Plugins with your project. Plugins provide a default Devbox configuration for a Nix package. Plugins make it easier to get started with packages that require additional setup when installed with Nix, and they offer a familiar interface for configuring packages. They also help keep all of your project's configuration within your project directory, which helps maintain portability and isolation.

Using Plugins

Built-in PLguins

If you add one of the packages listed above to your project using devbox add <pkg>, Devbox will automatically activate the plugin for that package.

You can also explicitly add a built-in plugin in your project by adding it to the include section of your devbox.json file. For example, to explicitly add the plugin for Nginx, you can add the following to your devbox.json file:

"include": [

Built-in plugins are available for the following packages. You can activate the plugins for these packages by running devbox add <package_name>

  • Apache (apacheHttpd)
  • Caddy (caddy)
  • Nginx (nginx)
  • MariaDB (mariadb, mariadb_10_6...)
  • MySQL (mysql80, mysql57)
  • PostgreSQL (postgresql)
  • Redis (redis)
  • PHP (php, php80, php81, php82...)
  • Pip (python39Packages.pip, python310Packages.pip, python311Packages.pip...)
  • Ruby(ruby, ruby_3_1, ruby_3_0...)

Local PLugins

You can also define your own plugins and use them in your project. To use a local plugin, add the following to the include section of your devbox.json:

  "include": [

Github Hosted Plugins

Sometimes, you may want to share a plugin across multiple projects or users. In this case, you provide a Github reference to a plugin hosted on Github. To install a github hosted plugin, add the following to the include section of your devbox.json

  "include": [

An Example of a Plugin: Nginx

Let's take a look at the plugin for Nginx. To get started, let's initialize a new devbox project, and add the nginx package:

cd ~/my_proj
devbox init && devbox add nginx

Devbox will install the package, activate the nginx plugin, and print a short explanation of the plugin's configuration

Installing nix packages. This may take a while... done.

nginx NOTES:
nginx can be configured with env variables

To customize:
* Use $NGINX_CONFDIR to change the configuration directory
* Use $NGINX_LOGDIR to change the log directory
* Use $NGINX_PIDDIR to change the pid directory
* Use $NGINX_RUNDIR to change the run directory
* Use $NGINX_SITESDIR to change the sites directory
* Use $NGINX_TMPDIR to change the tmp directory. Use $NGINX_USER to change the user
* Use $NGINX_GROUP to customize.

* nginx

Use `devbox services start|stop [service]` to interact with services

This plugin creates the following helper files:
* ~/my_project/devbox.d/nginx/nginx.conf
* ~/my_project/devbox.d/nginx/fastcgi.conf
* ~/my_project/devbox.d/web/index.html

This plugin sets the following environment variables:
* NGINX_CONFDIR=~/my_project/devbox.d/nginx/nginx.conf
* NGINX_PATH_PREFIX=~/my_project/.devbox/virtenv/nginx
* NGINX_TMPDIR=~/my_project/.devbox/virtenv/nginx/temp

To show this information, run `devbox info nginx`

nginx (nginx-1.22.1) is now installed.

Based on this info page, we can see that Devbox has created the configuration we need to run nginx in our local shell. Let's take a look at the files it created:

% tree
├── devbox.d
│   ├── nginx
│   │   ├── fastcgi.conf
│   │   └── nginx.conf
│   └── web
│   └── index.html
└── devbox.json

These files give us everything we need to run NGINX, and we can modify the nginx.conf and fastcgi.conf to customize how Nginx works.

We can also see in the info page that Devbox has configured an NGINX service for us. Let's start this service with devbox services start nginx, and then test it with curl:

> devbox services start nginx

Installing nix packages. This may take a while... done.
Starting a devbox shell...
Service "nginx" started

> curl localhost:80
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<meta charset="utf-8" />
<title>Hello World!</title>
Hello World!

Plugin Configuration in detail

When Devbox detects a plugin for an installed package, it automatically applies its configuration and prints a short explanation. Developers can review this explanation anytime using devbox info <package_name>.


If your package can run as a daemon or background service, Devbox can configure and manage that service for you with devbox services.

To learn more, visit our page on Devbox Services.

Environment Variables

Devbox stores default environment variables for your package in .devbox/virtenv/<package_name>/.env in your project directory. Devbox automatically updates these environment variables whenever you run devbox shell or devbox run to match your current project, and developers should not check these .env files into source control.

Customizing Environment Variables

If you want to customize the environment variables, you can override them in the init_hook of your devbox.json

Helper Files

Helper files are files that your package may use for configuration purposes, such as NGINX's nginx.conf file. When installing a package, Devbox will check for helper files in your project's devbox.d folder and create them if they do not exist. If helper files are already present, Devbox will not overwrite them.

Customizing Helper Files

Developers should directly edit helper files and check them into source control if needed

Plugins Source Code

Devbox Plugins are written in JSON and stored in the main Devbox Repo. You can view the source code of the current plugins here