Managing Open edX Tips and Tricks

NOTE: These are instructions for the Full Stack or Native configuration, not the Developer Stack.

Managing the server commands

login to the server and change to the /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform directory to use

  • list all commands

source /edx/app/edxapp/edxapp_env
python /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform/ lms --settings production help

  • create or upgrade a user to superuser

    • Execute the following commands (updating the username and email account appropriately)

      sudo su edxapp -s /bin/bash
      source /edx/app/edxapp/edxapp_env
      python /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform/ lms manage_user staff --staff --superuser --settings=production

    • See also Creating an admin user in LMS/CMS, which is written for devstack

  • set or change password 

source /edx/app/edxapp/edxapp_env
python /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform/ lms --settings production changepassword user

  • launch the django shell

source /edx/app/edxapp/edxapp_env
python /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform/ lms --settings production shell

  • importing a course from github

Example using the demo course

cd /var/tmp git clone
source /edx/app/edxapp/edxapp_env
python /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform/ cms --settings=production import /edx/var/edxapp/data /var/tmp/edx-demo-course

  • run migrations

cd /var/tmp git clone
source /edx/app/edxapp/edxapp_env
python /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform/ {lms/cms} syncdb --settings=production

  • delete course 

source /edx/app/edxapp/edxapp_env
python /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform/ cms --settings=production delete_course Organization/CourseNumber/CourseRun 

  • delete course in Cypress version  

source /edx/app/edxapp/edxapp_env
python /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform/ cms --settings=production delete_course course-v1:Organization+CourseNumber+CourseRun commit

See help and help <cmd> for more information!

MySQL access

First install jq, then you should be able to just run this. Note that you lms.auth.json location may be different:

sudo apt-get install jq

sudo mysql $(jq -r '.DATABASES.default | "-u" + .USER + " -p\"" + .PASSWORD + "\" -h" + .HOST + " -P" + ( .PORT | tostring ) + " " + .NAME' /opt/openedx/lms.auth.json)

Use runserver instead of gunicorn (helpful for debugging)

  • Shutdown the lms and cms (and optionally the workers)
sudo /edx/bin/supervisorctl
> stop lms cms edxapp_worker:
  • Launch the lms using the debug server
source /edx/app/edxapp/edxapp_env
python /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform/ lms runserver 8000 --settings production

When you connect your browser requests will go to the debug server instead of gunicorn through nginx. You will still need to compile static assets of they change

See what services are running

sudo /edx/bin/supervisorctl status

you should see something like the following:

certs                            RUNNING    pid 19862, uptime 0:00:04
cms                              RUNNING    pid 19884, uptime 0:00:03
lms                              RUNNING    pid 19879, uptime 0:00:03
edxapp_worker:cms_default_4      RUNNING    pid 19915, uptime 0:00:03
edxapp_worker:cms_high_1         RUNNING    pid 19901, uptime 0:00:03
edxapp_worker:cms_low_3          RUNNING    pid 19890, uptime 0:00:03
edxapp_worker:lms_default_3      RUNNING    pid 19897, uptime 0:00:03
edxapp_worker:lms_high_4         RUNNING    pid 19922, uptime 0:00:03
edxapp_worker:lms_high_mem_2     RUNNING    pid 19894, uptime 0:00:03
edxapp_worker:lms_low_1          RUNNING    pid 19908, uptime 0:00:03
forum                            RUNNING    pid 19855, uptime 0:00:04
ora                              RUNNING    pid 19875, uptime 0:00:04
ora_celery                       RUNNING    pid 19866, uptime 0:00:04
xqueue                           RUNNING    pid 19853, uptime 0:00:04
xqueue_consumer                  RUNNING    pid 19860, uptime 0:00:04

Restarting Services

  • LMS - sudo /edx/bin/supervisorctl restart lms
  • CMS - sudo /edx/bin/supervisorctl restart cms
  • Workers - sudo /edx/bin/supervisorctl restart edxapp_worker:

(Note: the colon character : at the end of the line is mandatory!)

Updating Versions using edX repos

Use the /edx/bin/update to update repo versions on the server.

Allowed repo names [edx-platform, xqueue, cs_comments_service, xserver, ease, edx-ora, configuration, read-only-certificate-code]


  • sudo /edx/bin/update edx-platform master - change edx-platform to use the latest on the master branch
  • sudo /edx/bin/update cs_comments_service master - change the forums service to use the latest on the master branch

Using an edx-platform fork

  • sudo rm -rf /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform - to change the remote you need to remove the existing edx-platform checkout
  • Add the following line to /edx/app/edx_ansible/server-vars.yml - edx_platform_repo: "<user>/edx-platform.git"
  • sudo /edx/bin/update edx-platform master - update edx-platform using the forked repo

Compile assets manually

To compile javascript and css outside of the update script run the following commands:

  • sudo -H -u edxapp bash
  • source /edx/app/edxapp/edxapp_env
  • cd /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform
  • paver update_assets cms --settings=production
  • paver update_assets lms --settings=production

Suggest issuing the following to debug issues with r.js optimizer issues

  • python cms --settings=production collectstatic --noinput
  • python lms --settings=production collectstatic --noinput

Generating dummy translations

To generate dummy translation strings for i18n and right-to-left testing:

  • sudo -H -u edxapp bash
  • source /edx/app/edxapp/edxapp_env
  • cd /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform
  • paver i18n_dummy


Unable to connect to the LMS

Check to see if nginx is running:

  • sudo service nginx status
  • sudo service nginx start

NGINX logs are located in /edx/var/log/nginx NGINX configurations are located in/edx/app/nginx/sites-enabled

Check to see if the lms/cms is running

  • sudo /edx/bin/supervisorctl status lms cms

If you are still unable to connect to the LMS run the following commands:

  • sudo service nginx stop
  • sudo service supervisor stop
  • sudo service supervisor.devpi stop
  • sudo pkill -u www-data
  • sudo service nginx start
  • sudo service supervisor start
  • sudo service supervisor.devpi start
  • stop everything except the LMS and CMS
sudo /edx/bin/supervisorctl stop discern discern_celery \
  forum ora ora_celery xqueue xqueue_consumer xserver edxapp_worker:
  • sudo tail -f /edx/var/log/{lms,cms,nginx}/*log

While tailing the log files try to connect your browser to the LMS or Studio

Log files

  • The Full stack sends all application logs to rsyslog which writes config files to the/edx/var/log directory.
  • Supervisor logs stderr and stdout, its logs are located in /edx/var/log/supervisor

server-vars.yml does not make any changes after running the update bash script

Take a look at this line in the /edx/bin/update bash script to see where the server-vars.yml file should be:

  • This means you are using an older version of the configuration repo, so create and add your settings in /edx/var/edx_ansible/server-vars.yml:
if [[ -f /edx/var/edx_ansible/server-vars.yml ]]; then
  • The following line in /edx/bin/update means you are using the current version of the configuration repo. If so, create and modify your settings in /edx/app/edx_ansible/server-vars.yml:
if [[ -f /edx/app/edx_ansible/server-vars.yml ]]; then
  • Notes: this may be changed in the future