Management commands

pretalx comes with commands that you can execute from the command line. Run them in the same environment you installed pretalx in. If you followed the installation guide, you should run them as the pretalx user, and either use the /var/pretax/venv/bin/python executable, or activate the virtual environment by running source /var/pretalx/venv/bin/activate.

All commands are run with the python -m pretalx prefix:

python -m pretalx <command> [<flags>] [<options>]

You can add the --no-pretalx-information flag to any of these commands to suppress the printing of the pretalx debug startup header.

Database commands


The migrate command updates the database tables to conform to what pretalx expects. Please execute it once upon installation and then on every update. As migrate touches the database, you should have a backup of the state before the command run. Running migrate if pretalx has no pending database changes is harmless. It will result in no changes to the database.

If migrations touch upon large populated tables, they may run for some time. The Release Notes will include a warning if an upgrade can trigger this behaviour.


If you ran into trouble during migrate, run showmigrations. It will show you the current state of all pretalx migrations. It may be useful debug output to include in bug reports about database problems.


This command will remove old and unusable sessions from the database. We recommend that you run it about once a month to keep your database at a reasonable size.

Debug commands


The shell_scoped command opens a Python shell with the pretalx configuration and environment. You can use it to import pretalx modules and execute methods. For a better environment, install django_extensions and ipython.

You’ll have to provide the event you want to interact with to provide proper database isolation:

$ python -m pretalx shell_scoped --event__slug=myevent

Alternatively, you can specify that you want to be able to access all events:

$ python -m pretalx shell_scoped --override

Core pretalx commands


The rebuild command regenerates all static files. With the --clear flag, it replaces all static files with ones compiled from scratch. Run this command after every upgrade.

Run this command with --npm-install to install or update all frontend dependencies. This option will automatically be used the first time when pretalx detects that you don’t have a node_modules directory, but it’s your responsibility to use it during updates. It’s not the default as running npm install can take a long time.


The regenerate_css command regenerates only the custom CSS for events. It only runs for events with a specified custom colour, or custom uploaded styles. You can specify an event slug with --event. If no event is specified, the files for all relevant events will be rebuilt.


The init command allows you to create a superuser and an organiser. It is useful to give you all the tools to start configuring pretalx in the web interface. Please run this command once in the beginning. You can abort the command at any time, and it will not write anything to the database.

With the --noinput flag, this command will not prompt you interactively on standard input, but will instead read from the environment. This is especially useful for automating invocations of this command. For the first phase (creation of a superuser), set the environment variables DJANGO_SUPERUSER_EMAIL and DJANGO_SUPERUSER_PASSWORD (see also the documentation of the non-interactive mode of the corresponding Django command). For the second phase (creation of an organiser), set the environment variables PRETALX_INIT_ORGANISER_NAME and PRETALX_INIT_ORGANISER_SLUG.


If you need more users after generating your initial administration user, use createsuperuser. Please note that superusers have access to all areas of all events.


Please run the runperiodic command in regular intervals, e.g. every 5-10 minutes.


This command requires an event slug as an argument. You can provide the --zip flag to produce a zip archive instead of a directory structure. The command will print the location of the HTML export upon successful exit.


This command will create a test event for you, with a set of test submissions, and speakers, and the like. You will need to install the freezegun and Faker libraries.

With the --stage flag, you can determine which stage the event in question should be in. The available choices are cfp (CfP still open, plenty of submissions, but no reviews), review (submissions have been reviewed and accepted/rejected), schedule (there is a schedule and the event is currently running), and over. schedule is the default value.

The --slug flag allows you to specify the slug of the event to be created. It defaults to democon. Please only use alphanumerical characters and - in the slug, otherwise you won’t be able to see the event in the web interface.


This command will move a given event (with the --event <event_slug> parameter) event. By default, the event start date will be set to the current day, but you can configure any date using the --date 2021-12-26 argument.

Data moved includes event start and end dates and the dates of all talks, both current and historical. No new schedule versions will need to be created.

This command is intended to be used with demo or test events. If you move an actual event like this, be prepared for some odd behaviour and please release a new schedule version to make sure external tools can process the changes.

Development commands


This command regenerates translation files. It should only be used during pretalx development.


This command generates new migration files for database changed. It should ONLY be used during pretalx development, even if you are running a custom installation, or if the console output of pretalx tells you to run it in case of changes to database models.