Installing add-on packages using buildout

These instructions cover add-on installation process for Plone 5, while mostly being valid for Plone 4 and 3.3 as well. Legacy systems are not covered in these instructions.


Not all add-ons have currently (status: 2015-10-31) been upgraded to work with Plone 5. Take care when trying on add-ons. If an add-on has not yet received a Plone 5-compatible release, it may be that there is already a so-called ‘branch’ of the sourcecode that is being worked upon, or it may be that the add-on has been superseded. See the “further help” section.


Plone uses Buildout for installing add-on packages. See installation instructions for how to create a Plone installation suitable for development.


What do you need to know in order to install add-ons for Plone?

  • How to use command line of your operating system. This is a hard requirement - you cannot achieve your goal unless you know how to interact with the command line. Here are basics tutorials for Windows and Linux

  • Working with plain text based configuration files and editing them with a text editor like Notepad

  • First create a development / back-up copy of your site. Never install to the working production server directly, without first testing the add-on on a test instance.

Discovering Plone add-ons and other python packages

The community maintains a list of Popular Plone Add-ons .

However, not all Plone packages out there are listed here.

A lot more packages can be found in the PyPI (the Python Package index).


Always check if a third-party add-on is up to date and compatible with your version of Plone. Most packages will have different versions; sometimes their version 1.x is meant for use with Plone 4, and version 2.x is meant for Plone 5. See the documentation of the add-on in question.


Plone installations are managed using Buildout. Plone add-ons are distributed as Python modules, also known as eggs.

  • Popular Plone Add-ons contains a overview about popular add-ons for Plone .

  • Add-on file downloads are hosted on the PyPi Python package repository - along with many other Python software modules.

  • the buildout.cfg file in your Plone configuration defines which add-ons are available for your sites to install in Site Setup > Add-ons control panel

  • the bin/buildout command (or bin/buildout.exe on Windows) in your Plone installation reads buildout.cfg and automatically downloads required packages when run - you do not need to download any Plone add-ons manually

  • Plone site setup -> Add ons control panel defines which add-ons are installed for the current Plone site (remember, there can be many Plone sites on a single Zope application server)


Plone add-ons, though Python eggs, must be installed through buildout as only buildout will regenerate the config files reflecting newly downloaded and installed eggs. Other Python installation methods like easy_install and pip do not apply for Plone add-ons.

Installing add-ons using buildout

Add-on packages which are uploaded to PyPI can be installed by buildout.

Edit your buildout.cfg file and add the add-on package to the list of eggs:

eggs =


The above example works for the buildout created by the unified installer. If you however have a custom buildout you might need to add the egg to the eggs list in the [instance] section rather than adding it in the [buildout] section.

For the changes to take effect you need to re-run buildout from your console:


Restart your instance for the changes to take effect:

bin/instance restart

Pinning add-on versions

As mentioned above, always make sure to test add-ons, and see if you have the right version for your specific version of Plone.

It is standard, and highly recommended practice to pick specific versions of add-ons. This practice is called “pinning”.

If you don’t pin a specific version, a run of bin/buildout might download a newer version of an add-on, that in turn might depend on newer other software. This can lead to breakage of your site.

Therefore, always put the specific version number of the add-on into the section of buildout.cfg called “versions”, or into the separate file “versions.cfg” if your buildout has one. An example of version-pinning would be to have:

  Products.PloneFormGen = 1.7.17
  collective.supercool = 2.3

When upgrading add-ons also don’t just upgrade to an unspecified ‘newest’ version, but to a specific newer version that you have previously tested.

Installing development version of add-on packages

If you need to use the latest development version of an add-on package you can get the source in your development installation using the buildout extension mr.developer.

‘mr.developer’ can install, or checkout from various places: github, gitlab, subversion, private repositories etcetera. You can pick specific tags and branches to checkout.

For managing the sources it is recommended to create a sources.cfg which you can include in your buildout.

extends =
extensions = mr.developer

auto-checkout =

Adding add-on package names to the auto-checkout list will make buildout check out the source to the src directory upon next buildout run.


It is not recommended to use auto-checkout = *, especially when you extend from a big list of sources, such as the list.


The auto-checkout option only checks out the source. It is also required to add the package to the eggs list for getting it installed, see above.

After creating a sources.cfg you need to make sure that it gets loaded by the buildout.cfg. This is done by adding it to the extends list in your buildout.cfg:

extends =

As always: after modifying the buildout configuration you need to rerun buildout and restart your instance:

bin/buildout -N
bin/instance restart

Further help

More detailed instructions for installing Plone add-ons are available for dealing with legacy systems.

To ask if a particular add-on has already been updated to Plone 5, you can go to

Please visit the help asking guidelines and Plone support options page to find further help if these instructions are not enough. Also, contact the add-on author, as listed on Plone product page, to ask specific instructions regarding a particular add-on.