Installing Zope with zc.buildout

This document describes how to get going with Zope using zc.buildout.

About zc.buildout

zc.buildout is a powerful tool for creating repeatable builds of a given software configuration and environment. The Zope developers use zc.buildout to develop Zope itself, as well as the underlying packages it uses.


In order to install Zope, you must have the following prerequisites available:

  • A supported version of Python, including the development support if installed from system-level packages. Supported versions include:

    • 2.7
    • 3.5
    • 3.6
    • 3.7
  • Zope needs the Python zlib module to be importable. If you are building your own Python from source, please be sure that you have the headers installed which correspond to your system’s zlib.

  • A C compiler capable of building extension modules for your Python (gcc recommended).

  • If you are using a Python interpreter shipping with your Linux distribution, you need to install the matching Python development package. As example, for Python 3 on Ubuntu 18.04, you have to type the following:

    $ sudo apt-get install python3-dev

Installing Zope using zc.buildout

In this configuration, we use zc.buildout to install the Zope software, and then generate a server “instance” inside the buildout environment.

Installing the Zope software

Installing the Zope software using zc.buildout involves the following steps:

  • Download the Zope source distribution from PyPI
  • Bootstrap the buildout
  • Run the buildout
You may need to replace the used Zope version used in the examples (4.0b6) with
he one you actually want to install.

On Linux, this can be done as follows:

$ wget
$ tar xfvz Zope-<Zope version>.tar.gz
$ cd Zope-<Zope version>
$ python3.7 -m venv .
$ bin/pip install -U pip zc.buildout
$ bin/buildout


When using Python 2.7 instead of calling python3.7 -m venv . you have to install virtualenv and then call virtualenv-2.7 ..

Instead of using the buildout configuration shipping with Zope itself, you can also start with a minimum configuration like this:

extends =
parts =

recipe = zc.recipe.egg
interpreter = zopepy
eggs =

Creating a Zope instance


The following steps describe how to install a WSGI based Zope instance. If you want/have to use ZServer instead of WSGI (Python 2 only!) follow the documentation Creating a Zope instance for Zope 2.13, as it has not changed since that version.

Once you’ve installed Zope, you will need to create an “instance home”. This is a directory that contains configuration and data for a Zope server process. The instance home is created using the mkwsgiinstance script:

$ bin/mkwsgiinstance -d .

You will be asked to provide a user name and password for an administrator’s account during mkwsgiinstance. To see the available command-line options, run the script with the --help option:

$ bin/mkwsgiinstance --help

After installation, refer to Configuring and Running Zope for documentation on configuring and running Zope.

Building the documentation with Sphinx

To build the HTML documentation, run the make-docs script (installed by the buildout):

$ bin/make-docs