Self-Hosted Healthchecks

Healthchecks is open-source, and is licensed under the BSD 3-clause license.

As an alternative to using the hosted service at, you have the option to host a Healthchecks instance yourself.

The building blocks are:

  • Python 3.6+
  • Django 3
  • PostgreSQL or MySQL

Setting Up for Development

You can set up a development environment in a Python virtual environment on your local system to develop a new feature, write a new integration or test a bugfix.

The following instructions assume you are using a Debian-based OS.

  • Install dependencies:

    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get install -y gcc python3-dev python3-venv
  • Prepare directory for project code and virtualenv. Feel free to use a different location:

    $ mkdir -p ~/webapps
    $ cd ~/webapps
  • Prepare virtual environment (with virtualenv you get pip, we'll use it soon to install requirements):

    $ python3 -m venv hc-venv
    $ source hc-venv/bin/activate
  • Check out project code:

    $ git clone
  • Install requirements (Django, ...) into virtualenv:

    $ pip install wheel
    $ pip install -r healthchecks/requirements.txt
  • Create database tables and a superuser account:

    $ cd ~/webapps/healthchecks
    $ ./ migrate
    $ ./ createsuperuser

    With the default configuration, Healthchecks stores data in a SQLite file hc.sqlite in the project directory (~/webapps/healthchecks/).

  • Run tests:

    $ ./ test
  • Run development server:

    $ ./ runserver
  • From another shell, run the sendalerts management command, responsible for sending out notifications:

    $ ./ sendalerts

At this point, the site should now be running at http://localhost:8000.

Accessing Administration Panel

Healthchecks comes with Django's administration panel where you can manually view and modify user accounts, projects, checks, integrations etc. To access it, if you haven't already, create a superuser account:

$ ./ createsuperuser

Then, log into the site using the superuser credentials. Once logged in, click on the "Account" dropdown in top navigation, and select "Site Administration".

Sending Emails

Healthchecks needs SMTP credentials to be able to send emails: login links, monitoring notifications, monthly reports.

Specify SMTP credentials using the EMAIL_HOST, EMAIL_PORT, EMAIL_HOST_USER, EMAIL_HOST_PASSWORD, and EMAIL_USE_TLS environment variables. Example:

You can read more about handling outbound email in the Django documentation, Sending Email section.

Receiving Emails

Healthchecks comes with a smtpd management command, which starts up a SMTP listener service. With the command running, you can ping your checks by sending email messages.

Start the SMTP listener on port 2525:

$ ./ smtpd --port 2525

Send a test email:

$ curl --url 'smtp://' \
    --mail-from '' \
    --mail-rcpt '' \
    -F '='

Sending Status Notifications

The sendalerts management command continuously polls the database for any checks changing state, and sends out notifications as needed. When sendalerts is not running, the Healthchecks instance will not send out any alerts.

Within an activated virtualenv, run the sendalerts command like so:

$ ./ sendalerts

In a production setup, make sure the sendalerts command can survive server restarts.

Database Cleanup

With time and use the Healthchecks database will grow in size. You may decide to prune old data: inactive user accounts, old checks not assigned to users, old records of outgoing email messages and old records of received pings. There are separate Django management commands for each task:

Remove old records from the api_ping table. For each check, keep 100 most recent pings:

$ ./ prunepings

Remove old records of sent notifications. For each check, remove notifications that are older than the oldest stored ping for the corresponding check.

$ ./ prunenotifications

Remove inactive user accounts:

$ ./ pruneusers

Remove old records from the api_tokenbucket table. The TokenBucket model is used for rate-limiting login attempts and similar operations. Any records older than one day can be safely removed.

$ ./ prunetokenbucket

Remove old records from the api_flip table. The Flip objects are used to track status changes of checks, and to calculate downtime statistics month by month. Flip objects from more than 3 months ago are not used and can be safely removed.

$ ./ pruneflips

When you first try these commands on your data, it is a good idea to test them on a copy of your database, and not on the live system.

In a production setup, you will want to run these commands regularly, as well as have regular, automatic database backups set up.

Next Steps

Get the source code.

See Configuration for a list of configuration options.