Installing Pelican

Pelican currently runs best on Python 2.7.x; earlier versions of Python are not supported. There is provisional support for Python 3.3+, although there may be rough edges, particularly with regards to optional 3rd-party components.

You can install Pelican via several different methods. The simplest is via pip:

pip install pelican

(Keep in mind that operating systems will often require you to prefix the above command with sudo in order to install Pelican system-wide.)

While the above is the simplest method, the recommended approach is to create a virtual environment for Pelican via virtualenv before installing Pelican. Assuming you have virtualenv installed, you can then open a new terminal session and create a new virtual environment for Pelican:

virtualenv ~/virtualenvs/pelican
cd ~/virtualenvs/pelican
source bin/activate

Once the virtual environment has been created and activated, Pelican can be be installed via pip install pelican as noted above. Alternatively, if you have the project source, you can install Pelican using the distutils method:

cd path-to-Pelican-source
python install

If you have Git installed and prefer to install the latest bleeding-edge version of Pelican rather than a stable release, use the following command:

pip install -e "git+"

Once Pelican is installed, you can run pelican --help to see basic usage options. For more detail, refer to the Publish section.

Optional packages

If you plan on using Markdown as a markup format, you’ll need to install the Markdown library:

pip install Markdown

Typographical enhancements can be enabled in your settings file, but first the requisite Typogrify library must be installed:

pip install typogrify


When Pelican is installed, the following dependent Python packages should be automatically installed without any action on your part:

  • feedgenerator, to generate the Atom feeds
  • jinja2, for templating support
  • pygments, for syntax highlighting
  • docutils, for supporting reStructuredText as an input format
  • pytz, for timezone definitions
  • blinker, an object-to-object and broadcast signaling system
  • unidecode, for ASCII transliterations of Unicode text
  • six, for Python 2 and 3 compatibility utilities
  • MarkupSafe, for a markup safe string implementation
  • python-dateutil, to read the date metadata


If you installed a stable Pelican release via pip and wish to upgrade to the latest stable release, you can do so by adding --upgrade:

pip install --upgrade pelican

If you installed Pelican via distutils or the bleeding-edge method, simply perform the same step to install the most recent version.

Kickstart your site

Once Pelican has been installed, you can create a skeleton project via the pelican-quickstart command, which begins by asking some questions about your site:


Once you finish answering all the questions, your project will consist of the following hierarchy (except for pages — shown in parentheses below — which you can optionally add yourself if you plan to create non-chronological content):

├── content
│   └── (pages)
├── output
├── Makefile
├──       # Main settings file
└──       # Settings to use when ready to publish

The next step is to begin to adding content to the content folder that has been created for you.