You can configure pretalx in two different ways: using config files or environment variables. You can combine those two options, and their precedence is in this order:

  1. Environment variables
  2. Configuration files
    • The config file in the environment variable PRETALX_CONFIG_FILE if present, or:
    • The following three configuration files in this order:
      • The config file pretalx.cfg in the src directory, next to the pretalx.example.cfg file.
      • The config file ~/.pretalx.cfg in the home of the executing user.
      • The config file /etc/pretalx/pretalx.cfg
  1. Sensible defaults

This page explains the options by configuration file section and notes the corresponding environment variable next to it. A config file looks like this:

data = /var/pretalx/data
media = /var/pretalx/data/media
logs = /var/pretalx/data/logs

debug = False
url =

backend = postgresql
name = pretalx
user = pretalx
password = pretalx
host = localhost
port = 5432

from = admin@localhost
host = localhost
port = 25
user = admin
password = something
tls = False
ssl = True

backend = redis://
broker = redis://

The filesystem section


  • The data option describes the path that is the base for the media files directory, and where pretalx will save log files. Unless you have a compelling reason to keep those files apart, setting the data option is the easiest way to configure pretalx.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_DATA_DIR
  • Default: A directory called data next to pretalx’s


  • The media option sets the media directory that contains user generated files. It needs to be writeable by the pretalx process.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_FILESYSTEM_MEDIA
  • Default: A directory called media in the data directory (see above).


  • The logs option sets the log directory that contains logged data. It needs to be writeable by the pretalx process.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_FILESYSTEM_LOGS
  • Default: A directory called logs in the data directory (see above).


  • The statics option sets the directory that contains static files. It needs to be writeable by the pretalx process. pretalx will put files there during the rebuild and collectstatic commands.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_FILESYSTEM_STATIC
  • Default: A directory called static.dist next to pretalx’s

The site section


  • Decides if pretalx runs in debug mode. Please use this mode for development and debugging, not for live usage.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_DEBUG
  • Default: True if you’re executing runserver, False otherwise. Never run a production server in debug mode.


  • This value will appear wherever pretalx needs to render full URLs (for example in emails and feeds), and set the appropriate allowed hosts variables.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_SITE_URL
  • Default: http://localhost


  • Every Django application has a secret that Django uses for cryptographic signing. You do not need to set this variable – pretalx will generate a secret key and save it in a local file if you do not set it manually.
  • Default: None

The database section


  • pretalx supports most SQL databases, although you’ll need to install the appropriate Python library for each of them, as described in the table below. The default is SQLite, which is not a production database. Please use a database like PostgresQL or MySQL.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_DB_TYPE
  • Default: sqlite3
Database Configuration string pip package
PostgresQL postgresql psycopg2-binary
MySQL mysql mysqlclient
SQLite sqlite3
Oracle oracle cx_Oracle


  • The database’s name.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_DB_NAME
  • Default: ''


  • The database user, if applicable.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_DB_USER
  • Default: ''


  • The database password, if applicable.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_DB_PASS
  • Default: ''


  • The database host, or the socket location, as needed..
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_DB_HOST
  • Default: ''


  • The database port, if applicable.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_DB_PORT
  • Default: ''

The mail section


  • The fall-back sender address, e.g. for when pretalx sends event independent emails.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_MAIL_FROM
  • Default: admin@localhost


  • The email server host address.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_MAIL_HOST
  • Default: localhost


  • The email server port.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_MAIL_PORT
  • Default: 25


  • The user account for mail server authentication, if needed.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_MAIL_USER
  • Default: ''


  • The password for mail server authentication, if needed.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_MAIL_PASSWORD
  • Default: ''


  • Should pretalx use TLS when sending mail? Please choose either TLS or SSL.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_MAIL_TLS
  • Default: False


  • Should pretalx use SSL when sending mail? Please choose either TLS or SSL.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_MAIL_SSL
  • Default: False

The celery section


  • The celery backend. If you use a standard redis-based setup, 'redis://' would be a sensible value.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_CELERY_BACKEND
  • Default: ''


  • The celery broker. If you use a standard redis-based setup, 'redis://' would be a sensible value.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_CELERY_BROKER
  • Default: ''

The redis section

If you configure a redis server, pretalx can use it for locking, caching and session storage to speed up operations. You will need to install django_redis.


  • The location of redis, if you want to use it as a cache. 'redis://[:password]@' would be a sensible value, or unix://[:password]@/path/to/socket.sock?db=0 if you prefer to use sockets.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_REDIS
  • Default: ''


  • If you want to use redis as your session storage, set this to True. 'redis://' would be a sensible value.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_REDIS_SESSIONS
  • Default: False

The logging section


  • The email address (or addresses, comma separated) to send system logs to.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_LOGGING_EMAIL
  • Default: ''


  • The log level to start sending emails at. Any of [DEBUG, INFO, WARNING, ERROR, CRITICAL].
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_LOGGING_EMAIL_LEVEL
  • Default: 'ERROR'

The locale section


  • The system’s default locale.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_LANGUAGE_CODE
  • Default: 'en'


  • The system’s default time zone as a pytz name.
  • Environment variable: PRETALX_TIME_ZONE
  • Default: 'UTC'