The official balena CLI tool.
If you want to install the CLI directly through npm, you'll need the below. If this looks difficult, we do now have an experimental standalone binary release available, see 'Standalone install' below.
- NodeJS (>= v6)
- The following executables should be correctly installed in your shell environment:
ssh: Any recent version of the OpenSSH ssh client (required by
- if you need
sshto work behind the proxy you also need
proxytunnelinstalled (available as
proxytunnelpackage for Ubuntu, for example)
- if you need
rsync: >= 2.6.9 (required by
Before installing balena-cli, you'll need a working node-gyp environment. If you don't already have one you'll see native module build errors during installation. To fix this, run
npm install -g --production windows-build-tools in an administrator console (available as 'Command Prompt (Admin)' when pressing windows+x in Windows 7+).
balena sync and
balena ssh have not been thoroughly tested on the standard Windows cmd.exe shell. We recommend using bash (or a similar) shell, like Bash for Windows 10 or Git for Windows.
If you still want to use
cmd.exe you will have to use a package manager like MinGW or chocolatey. For MinGW the steps are:
- Install MinGW.
- Install the
- Add MinGW to the
%PATH%if this hasn't been done by the installer already. The location where the binaries are places is usually
C:\MinGW\msys\1.0\bin, but it can vary if you selected a different location in the installer.
- Copy your SSH keys to
- If you need
sshto work behind the proxy you also need to install proxytunnel
If you've got all the requirements above, you should be able to install the CLI directly from npm. If not, or if you have any trouble with this, please try the new standalone install steps just below.
This might require elevated privileges in some environments.
$ npm install balena-cli -g --production --unsafe-perm
--unsafe-perm is only required on systems where the global install directory is not user-writable.
This allows npm install steps to download and save prebuilt native binaries. You may be able to omit it,
especially if you're using a user-managed node install such as nvm.
In some environments, this process will need to build native modules. This may require a more complex build environment, and notably requires Python 2.7. If you hit any problems with this, we recommend you try the alternative standalone install below instead.
If you don't have node or a working pre-gyp environment, you can still install the CLI as a standalone binary. This is experimental and may not work perfectly yet in all environments, but it seems to work well in initial cross-platform testing, so it may be useful, and we'd love your feedback if you hit any issues.
To install the CLI as a standalone binary:
- Download the latest zip for your OS from https://github.com/balena-io/balena-cli/releases.
- Extract the contents, putting the
balena-clifolder somewhere appropriate for your system (e.g.
- Add the
balena-clifolder to your
PATH(Windows instructions, Linux instructions, OSX instructions)
balenain a fresh command line should print the balena CLI help.
To update in future, simply download a new release and replace the extracted folder.
Have any problems, or see any unexpected behaviour? Please file an issue!
$ balena login
(Typically useful, but not strictly required for all commands)
Take a look at the full command documentation at https://balena.io/docs/tools/cli/, or by running
Optionally you can enable tab completions for the bash shell, enabling the shell to provide additional context and automatically complete arguments to
balena. To enable bash completions, copy the
balena-completion.bash file to the default bash completions directory (usually
/etc/bash_completion.d/) or append it to the end of
Where is my configuration file?
The per-user configuration file lives in
%UserProfile%\_balenarc.yml, in Unix based operating systems and Windows respectively.
The balena CLI also attempts to read a
balenarc.yml file in the current directory, which takes precedence over the per-user configuration file.
How do I point the balena CLI to staging?
The easiest way is to set the
BALENARC_BALENA_URL=balena-staging.com environment variable.
Alternatively, you can edit your configuration file and set
balenaUrl: balena-staging.com to persist this setting.
How do I make the balena CLI persist data in another directory?
The balena CLI persists your session token, as well as cached images in
Pointing the balena CLI to persist data in another location is necessary in certain environments, like a server, where there is no home directory, or a device running balenaOS, which erases all data after a restart.
You can accomplish this by setting
BALENARC_DATA_DIRECTORY=/opt/balena or adding
dataDirectory: /opt/balena to your configuration file, replacing
/opt/balena with your desired directory.
You can also get in touch with us in the balena forums.
The CLI was originally written in CoffeeScript, but we have decided to migrate to TypeScript in order to take advantage of static typing and formal programming interfaces. The migration is taking place gradually, as part of maintenance work or the implementation of new features.
After cloning this repository and running
npm install you can build the CLI using
npm run build.
You can then run the generated build using
In order to ease development:
- you can build the CLI using the
npm run build:fastvariant which skips some of the build steps or
- you can use
./bin/balena-devwhich live transpiles the sources of the CLI.
In either case, before opening a PR make sure to also test your changes after doing a full build with
npm run build.
The project is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license.