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Configuring RStudio Server

Administrators can configure RStudio Server (Pro) to automatically use RStudio Package Manager when users install packages.

The necessary configuration files are documented in the RStudio Server admin guide, example configurations are provided here for common scenarios.

A Single Repository

In the most common scenario, users will install all packages from a single RStudio Package Manager repository that may contain CRAN packages and internal packages. An admin can discourage users from changing this repository setting. In this scenario, configure RStudio Server:

  1. In /etc/rstudio/rsession.conf, set:


    The exact URL to use is available in the RStudio Package Manager Setup page for the repository.

  2. (RStudio Server Pro only) To disable the repository option menu and discourage users from changing the repository setting, also include in /etc/rstudio/rsession.conf:


Internal Packages and CRAN Packages

Another common scenario is to set up two repositories in RStudio Package Manager, one to serve CRAN packages and one to serve internal packages. (This setup also applies if you're only using RStudio Package Manager for internal packages and want to allow users to access a public CRAN mirror).

  1. In /etc/rstudio/rsession.conf, remove any existing r-cran-repos configuration.
  2. Create a file called /etc/rstudio/repos.conf. The file should contain:

The name Internal can be replaced with whatever name makes sense for your organization, but the repo containing CRAN packages should be indexed with the keyword CRAN.

Allow Users to Optionally Add Additional Repos

In addition to the two scenarios described above, some organizations may have additional repositories for certain groups of users, e.g. "bleeding edge" packages available in a dedicated "dev" repository. Administrators can configure RStudio's Global Options menu to automatically offer RStudio Package Manager repositories as optional, secondary repos that a user can opt into using.

In /etc/rstudio/rsession.conf, set:


Binary Packages

RStudio Package Manager supports serving precompiled binary packages for the CRAN source, which can significantly speed up CRAN package installations.

To enable binary packages for users, follow the Configuration Steps and the R Configuration Steps for Linux or Windows to set up your R environment. For Linux binaries, also configure RStudio Server to use the binary repository URLs.

Bioconductor Repositories

RStudio Server can be configured to use a Bioconductor repository as the default Bioconductor mirror. Unlike CRAN repositories, the default Bioconductor mirror must be configured separately in an R startup file.

We recommend setting the default Bioconductor mirror in the site-wide R startup file (, which applies to all users for a single version of R.

  1. Find the location of the file at R_HOME/etc/ For a given version of R, R_HOME can be found by running the R RHOME command at a terminal:
    $ R RHOME
    << /opt/R/4.0.3/lib/R
    << # is located at:
    << /opt/R/4.0.3/lib/R/etc/
  2. Create the R_HOME/etc/ file if it does not already exist.
  3. In R_HOME/etc/, add the repository setup code from the Setup page of a Bioconductor repository:
    # Set the default Bioconductor mirror
    options(BioC_mirror = "https://<package-manager-server-address>/<bioconductor-repo-name>")
    This may also include setup code to enable Bioconductor use in an offline environment.

For more information on configuring R startup files, see this article.

Precedence of Settings

If you have a site-wide R startup file ( that modifies the repository setting, that file will take precedence over RStudio Server's rsession.conf and repos.conf files.


Some Ubuntu and Debian R binaries (installed via apt-get install) include an file that modifies the repository option. Unless you intended to have this file, we recommend removing /usr/lib/R/etc/

Users can still modify the repository setting for their project needs using a user or project-level .Rprofile file, which takes precedence over, rsession.conf, and repos.conf.

Checking For Success

Once edits have been made to the appropriate configuration files (see above), start a new RStudio Server session. Closing and reopening the browser tab or pressing the reload button on the browser does not start a new session.

At that point, running options('repos') from the RStudio Server console should show the URL of the RSPM instance. If you've configured the default Bioconductor mirror, running options('BioC_mirror') should also show the URL of the RSPM instance.

For a complete test, you can also confirm that packages are installed from the RSPM instance by default. To test a CRAN or internal package repository, run the following commands to install a package in the repository:


# Install a package in the repository

# Check that the package's DESCRIPTION file includes "Repository: RSPM"

While you can install any package as a test, one that is small and has few dependencies will be the quickest. The A3 package on CRAN is the first alphabetically that meets this criteria.

To test the Bioconductor mirror, you can download and install a Bioconductor package:


# Install the BiocManager package from CRAN

# Check that BiocManager uses RSPM for the Bioconductor repositories

# Install a Bioconductor package
BiocManager::install("BiocVersion", update = FALSE)

# Check that the package's DESCRIPTION file includes "Repository: RSPM"