This documentation is for an old version of IPython. You can find docs for newer versions here.

Running a notebook server

The IPython notebook web-application is based on a server-client structure. This server uses a two-process kernel architecture based on ZeroMQ, as well as Tornado for serving HTTP requests. By default, a notebook server runs on and is accessible only from localhost. This document describes how you can secure a notebook server and how to run it on a public interface.

Securing a notebook server

You can protect your notebook server with a simple single password by setting the NotebookApp.password configurable. You can prepare a hashed password using the function IPython.lib.security.passwd():

In [1]: from IPython.lib import passwd
In [2]: passwd()
Enter password:
Verify password:
Out[2]: 'sha1:67c9e60bb8b6:9ffede0825894254b2e042ea597d771089e11aed'


passwd() can also take the password as a string argument. Do not pass it as an argument inside an IPython session, as it will be saved in your input history.

You can then add this to your ipython_notebook_config.py, e.g.:

# Password to use for web authentication
c = get_config()
c.NotebookApp.password =

When using a password, it is a good idea to also use SSL, so that your password is not sent unencrypted by your browser. You can start the notebook to communicate via a secure protocol mode using a self-signed certificate with the command:

$ ipython notebook --certfile=mycert.pem


A self-signed certificate can be generated with openssl. For example, the following command will create a certificate valid for 365 days with both the key and certificate data written to the same file:

$ openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:1024 -keyout mycert.pem -out mycert.pem

Your browser will warn you of a dangerous certificate because it is self-signed. If you want to have a fully compliant certificate that will not raise warnings, it is possible (but rather involved) to obtain one, as explained in detail in this tutorial.

Keep in mind that when you enable SSL support, you will need to access the notebook server over https://, not over plain http://. The startup message from the server prints this, but it is easy to overlook and think the server is for some reason non-responsive.

Running a public notebook server

If you want to access your notebook server remotely via a web browser, you can do the following.

Start by creating a certificate file and a hashed password, as explained above. Then create a custom profile for the notebook, with the following command line, type:

$ ipython profile create nbserver

In the profile directory just created, edit the file ipython_notebook_config.py. By default, the file has all fields commented; the minimum set you need to uncomment and edit is the following:

c = get_config()

# Notebook config
c.NotebookApp.certfile = u'/absolute/path/to/your/certificate/mycert.pem'
c.NotebookApp.ip = '*'
c.NotebookApp.open_browser = False
c.NotebookApp.password = u'sha1:bcd259ccf...[your hashed password here]'
# It is a good idea to put it on a known, fixed port
c.NotebookApp.port = 9999

You can then start the notebook and access it later by pointing your browser to https://your.host.com:9999 with ipython notebook --profile=nbserver.

Firewall Setup

To function correctly, the firewall on the computer running the ipython server must be configured to allow connections from client machines on the c.NotebookApp.port port to allow connections to the web interface. The firewall must also allow connections from (localhost) on ports from 49152 to 65535. These ports are used by the server to communicate with the notebook kernels. The kernel communication ports are chosen randomly by ZeroMQ, and may require multiple connections per kernel, so a large range of ports must be accessible.

Running with a different URL prefix

The notebook dashboard (the landing page with an overview of the notebooks in your working directory) typically lives at the URL http://localhost:8888/. If you prefer that it lives, together with the rest of the notebook, under a sub-directory, e.g. http://localhost:8888/ipython/, you can do so with configuration options like the following (see above for instructions about modifying ipython_notebook_config.py):

c.NotebookApp.base_url = '/ipython/'
c.NotebookApp.webapp_settings = {'static_url_prefix':'/ipython/static/'}

Using a different notebook store

By default, the notebook server stores the notebook documents that it saves as files in the working directory of the notebook server, also known as the notebook_dir. This logic is implemented in the FileNotebookManager class. However, the server can be configured to use a different notebook manager class, which can store the notebooks in a different format.

The bookstore package currently allows users to store notebooks on Rackspace CloudFiles or OpenStack Swift based object stores.

Writing a notebook manager is as simple as extending the base class NotebookManager. The simple_notebook_manager provides a great example of an in memory notebook manager, created solely for the purpose of illustrating the notebook manager API.

Known issues

When behind a proxy, especially if your system or browser is set to autodetect the proxy, the notebook web application might fail to connect to the server’s websockets, and present you with a warning at startup. In this case, you need to configure your system not to use the proxy for the server’s address.

For example, in Firefox, go to the Preferences panel, Advanced section, Network tab, click ‘Settings...’, and add the address of the notebook server to the ‘No proxy for’ field.