Upgrading JupyterHub

JupyterHub offers easy upgrade pathways between minor versions. This document describes how to do these upgrades.

If you are using a JupyterHub distribution, you should consult the distribution’s documentation on how to upgrade. This document is if you have set up your own JupyterHub without using a distribution.

It is long because is pretty detailed! Most likely, upgrading JupyterHub is painless, quick and with minimal user interruption.

Read the Changelog

The changelog contains information on what has changed with the new JupyterHub release, and any deprecation warnings. Read these notes to familiarize yourself with the coming changes. There might be new releases of authenticators & spawners you are using, so read the changelogs for those too!

Notify your users

If you are using the default configuration where configurable-http-proxy is managed by JupyterHub, your users will see service disruption during the upgrade process. You should notify them, and pick a time to do the upgrade where they will be least disrupted.

If you are using a different proxy, or running configurable-http-proxy independent of JupyterHub, your users will be able to continue using notebook servers they had already launched, but will not be able to launch new servers nor sign in.

Backup database & config

Before doing an upgrade, it is critical to back up:

  1. Your JupyterHub database (sqlite by default, or MySQL / Postgres if you used those). If you are using sqlite (the default), you should backup the jupyterhub.sqlite file.
  2. Your jupyterhub_config.py file.
  3. Your user’s home directories. This is unlikely to be affected directly by a JupyterHub upgrade, but we recommend a backup since user data is very critical.

Shutdown JupyterHub

Shutdown the JupyterHub process. This would vary depending on how you have set up JupyterHub to run. Most likely, it is using a process supervisor of some sort (systemd or supervisord or even docker). Use the supervisor specific command to stop the JupyterHub process.

Upgrade JupyterHub packages

There are two environments where the jupyterhub package is installed:

  1. The hub environment, which is where the JupyterHub server process runs. This is started with the jupyterhub command, and is what people generally think of as JupyterHub.
  2. The notebook user environments. This is where the user notebook servers are launched from, and is probably custom to your own installation. This could be just one environment (different from the hub environment) that is shared by all users, one environment per user, or same environment as the hub environment. The hub launched the jupyterhub-singleuser command in this environment, which in turn starts the notebook server.

You need to make sure the version of the jupyterhub package matches in both these environments. If you installed jupyterhub with pip, you can upgrade it with:

python3 -m pip install --upgrade jupyterhub==<version>

Where <version> is the version of JupyterHub you are upgrading to.

If you used conda to install jupyterhub, you should upgrade it with:

conda install -c conda-forge jupyterhub==<version>

Where <version> is the version of JupyterHub you are upgrading to.

You should also check for new releases of the authenticator & spawner you are using. You might wish to upgrade those packages too along with JupyterHub, or upgrade them separately.

Upgrade JupyterHub database

Once new packages are installed, you need to upgrade the JupyterHub database. From the hub environment, in the same directory as your jupyterhub_config.py file, you should run:

jupyterhub upgrade-db

This should find the location of your database, and run necessary upgrades for it.

SQLite database disadvantages

SQLite has some disadvantages when it comes to upgrading JupyterHub. These are:

  • upgrade-db may not work, and you may need delete your database and start with a fresh one.
  • downgrade-db will not work if you want to rollback to an earlier version, so backup the jupyterhub.sqlite file before upgrading

What happens if I delete my database?

Losing the Hub database is often not a big deal. Information that resides only in the Hub database includes:

  • active login tokens (user cookies, service tokens)
  • users added via JupyterHub UI, instead of config files
  • info about running servers

If the following conditions are true, you should be fine clearing the Hub database and starting over:

  • users specified in config file, or login using an external authentication provider (Google, GitHub, LDAP, etc)
  • user servers are stopped during upgrade
  • don’t mind causing users to login again after upgrade

Start JupyterHub

Once the database upgrade is completed, start the jupyterhub process again.

  1. Log-in and start the server to make sure things work as expected.
  2. Check the logs for any errors or deprecation warnings. You might have to update your jupyterhub_config.py file to deal with any deprecated options.

Congratulations, your JupyterHub has been upgraded!