Get Started

How to get up to speed with LocalStack.

LocalStack is a cloud service emulator that runs in a single container on your laptop or in your CI environment. With LocalStack, you can run your AWS applications or Lambdas entirely on your local machine without connecting to a remote cloud provider! Whether you are testing complex CDK applications or Terraform configurations, or just beginning to learn about AWS services, LocalStack helps speed up and simplify your testing and development workflow.

LocalStack supports a growing number of AWS services, like AWS Lambda, S3, DynamoDB, Kinesis, SQS, SNS, and many more! The Pro version of LocalStack supports additional APIs and advanced features. You can find a comprehensive list of supported APIs on our ⭐ Feature Coverage page.

LocalStack also provides additional features to make your life as a cloud developer easier! Check out LocalStack’s Cloud Developer Tools.

Get LocalStack Up and Running

The first thing when getting started with LocalStack is to choose your preferred way of starting and managing your LocalStack instance.
LocalStack currently provides the following options:

  • LocalStack CLI
    The easiest way to start and manage LocalStack - either on your machine, in a Docker container on your machine, or even on a remote Docker host.

  • Docker
    Use the docker CLI to manually start the LocalStack Docker container.

  • Docker-Compose
    Use docker-compose to configure and start your LocalStack Docker container.

  • Helm
    Use helm to create a LocalStack deployment in a Kubernetes cluster.

LocalStack CLI

The LocalStack CLI aims to simplify starting and managing LocalStack. It provides convenience features to start LocalStack on your local machine, as a Docker container on your machine, or even on a remote Docker host. In addition you can easily check the status or open a shell in your LocalStack instance if you want to take a deep-dive.


Please make sure to install the following tools on your machine before moving on:

  • python (Python 3.6 up to 3.9 is supported)
  • pip (Python package manager)
  • docker


The easiest way to install the LocalStack CLI is via pip:

$ python3 -m pip install localstack

Afterwards you should be able to use the LocalStack CLI in your terminal:

$ localstack --help
Usage: localstack [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

  The LocalStack Command Line Interface (CLI)



The installation is successful, but I cannot execute localstack on my terminal.

If you can successfully install LocalStack using pip but you cannot use it in your terminal, you most likely haven’t set up your operating system’s / terminal’s PATH variable (in order to tell them where to find programs installed via pip).

  • If you are using Windows, you can enable the PATH configuration when installing Python, as described in the official docs of Python.
  • If you are using a MacOS or Linux operating system, please make sure that the PATH is correctly set up - either system wide, or in your terminal.

As a workaround you can call the LocalStack CLI python module directly:

$ python3 -m localstack.cli.main

Starting LocalStack with the LocalStack CLI

By default, LocalStack is started inside a Docker container by running:

$ localstack start


If you do not want to use the LocalStack CLI, you can also decide to manually start the LocalStack Docker container.


Please make sure that you have a working docker environment on your machine before moving on. You can check if docker is correctly configured on your machine by executing docker info in your terminal. If it does not report an error (but shows information on your Docker system), you’re good to go.

Starting LocalStack with Docker

You can start the Docker container simply by executing the following docker run command:

$ docker run --rm -it -p 4566:4566 -p 4571:4571 localstack/localstack


If you want to manually manage your Docker container, it’s usually a good idea to use docker-compose in order to simplify your container configuration.


Starting LocalStack with Docker-Compose

You can use the docker-compose.yml file from the official LocalStack repository and use this command (currently requires docker-compose version 1.9.0+):

$ docker-compose up

Please note that there’s a few pitfalls when configuring your stack manually via docker-compose (e.g., required container name, Docker network, volume mounts, environment variables, etc.). We recommend using the LocalStack CLI to validate your configuration, which will print warning messages in case it detects any (potential) misconfigurations:

$ localstack config validate


If you want to deploy LocalStack in your Kubernetes cluster, you can use Helm.


Deploy LocalStack using Helm

You can deploy LocalStack in a Kubernetes cluster by running these commands:

$ helm repo add localstack-repo
$ helm upgrade --install localstack localstack-repo/localstack

The Helm charts are not maintained in the main repository, but in a separate one.

Ran into trouble?

We strive to make it as easy as possible for you to use LocalStack, and we are very grateful for any feedback. If you run into any issues or problems with this guide, please submit an issue.

What’s next?

Now that you have LocalStack up and running, the following resources might be useful for your next steps:

LocalStack Pro

Use your API key to start LocalStack Pro.