Installation for local development or test usage is similar to other Django / Wagtail projects, with a few small caveats. You'll need a Python v3 installation, which should be included if you're doing this on a Linux machine, or you can download a Mac version of Python from

Once you have a version of Python 3 installed, go through the following steps, executing the bolded commands in a terminal window. Commands and actions you perform are in red.

Initial Setup

Step 1. Download the latest release from the main repository, or clone/fork the development branch if you plan to make changes to the underlying code. If you unzip it to your home folder you should be able to move to that folder (replace with wherever you unzipped or cloned the repo to):

cd ~/rentfree

Step 2. Make a virtual environment

python3 -m venv ~/rentfreelibs

Step 3. Activate it


Step 4. Install the required dependencies

pip install -r requirements.txt

Step 5. Make migrations and migrate

python3 makemigrations

python3 migrate

Step 6. Create an admin user

python3 createsuperuser

Step 7. Start the local test server

python3 runserver

At this point the test site should be up and running at You should check that in your browser to make sure it's working. It will say "Welcome to your new Wagtail site" (or something similar if that message changes since this was written).

Let's first get rid of the default page and specify the site settings.

A New Home Page

Once the test server is running, head to and login with the admin email and password that you provided in the above step.

Then, lets make a page to replace the "welcome to Wagtail" default page. Click on pages in the left hand grey menu, then click on the home icon at the very top of the pop-out menu. You should arrive at a page titled Root.

From here, add a child page and give it a random title (we'll come back and change it in a minute), and then save draft.

After you've saved the new page, go to settings all the way at the bottom of the left hand main admin menu, and click on sites in the pop-out menu. From here, change the port to 8000 since that is the port your test server is running on, and change the hostname to since that is is the address where the test server is running.

Lastly, choose the new page you just created as the home page for the site, and then save.

At this point you can navigate back to pages at the top of the left hand main admin menu, go back to the root pages section via the house icon at the top, and delete the "Welcome to Wagtail" default home page. You do so by moving your mouse over the page, and selecting delete from the more menu.

Once you've deleted the default home page, you can edit the page you created a minute ago into your new home page. Change the title of the page to "Home" (capitalization will be respected here), under the SEO tab atop the page editor change the slug of the page to "home" (this is the URL of pages other than the default home page), and under the Layout tab of the page editor, select "home page without title and cover image" as the template.

After doing all of this click the preview button next to "save draft" and a new window should open in your browser with a preview of the page you're about to publish. It's always a good idea to preview before publishing for obvious reasons: as pages get more complex you need to check for errors before pages "go live." After the preview shows you the spiffy blank white page you have created, click the lower arrow next to "save draft" and select publish.

Congratulations, at this point you have published your first page. You can click view live in the green menu if you like to show the live page, and it should be blank rather than saying "Welcome to your new Wagtail site." Your browser back button after viewing the live page should bring you back to the admin section.

Important Concepts in This Section

  1. Save draft makes a page that is only visible to other editors and admins. A page isn't public until you publish it. Feel free to use this collaboratively, that's what it's there for. Multiple people can work on a draft, and only publish when they're sure it's all ready to go.
  2. The slug under the SEO tab is the page's permanent URL. By default the CMS will choose one for you based on the first page title you type in the title field, but it's a good idea to double check, and you can always change it if you like, with the caveat that since slugs are URLs they must be unique.
  3. The settings portion of the main admin menu contains global settings for the entire site. Feel free to go through the other menus and fill in things that make obvious sense. For instance there are social media URL fields, a Google Analytics API field if you use Google Analytics, a SEO metadata section, etc. Don't worry if some don't make sense or can't be selected yet, we'll cover them all over the course of this tutorial.
  4. It's always a good idea to preview before publishing a page to check for mistakes. Preview will always reload your most recent changes to the page editor, even if the page hasn't been saved yet. Preview will also alert you to any errors in the page editor forms, such as required fields that you have neglected to fill in, for example.

Now head to the Publishing Indexes section of this guide, and lets make a podcast.