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Help:Toolforge/Tool Accounts

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This page explains what a tool account is, how to create a tool account/tool, and how to add and remove maintainers. For one-time setup steps to get started with Toolforge, see the Toolforge quickstart.

Key concepts

Tools and tool accounts

The terms "tool", "tool account", and "project" have the same meaning in Toolforge; "tool accounts" and "tool" are often used interchangeably. The tool is the basic unit of deployment in Toolforge. Each tool is actually a tool account with resources, processes, and other components in a tool-specific namespace.

A tool account is a group account associated with a tool. A tool account can have one or more members or tool maintainers. You create a separate tool account for each new tool you develop on Toolforge. When you're invited to work on or help maintain a tool, you'll join an existing tool account. Tool accounts enable multiple maintainers to collaboratively manage the software source code, configuration, and jobs for that tool.

Each tool account includes:

  • A home directory on shared storage: /data/project/<TOOL NAME>
  • The ability to run a Web service which is visible at https://<TOOL NAME>.toolforge.org/
  • Database access credentials: $HOME/replica.my.cnf, which provide access to the production database replicas as well as to project-local databases
  • Access to the job and task queues
  • Credentials and a namespace for running containers on the Kubernetes cluster


People who have access to a tool account are called maintainers. Maintainers have access to the tool account's code and data.

Maintainers can:

  • Create tool accounts/tools
  • Join existing tool accounts/tools
  • Leave tool accounts/tools in the care of others
  • Log in (sudo) to the tool accounts/tools

Join an existing tool account

All tool accounts hosted in Toolforge are listed on the tools list. Contact the maintainer to ask them if you can join an existing tool account. The maintainer can follow the instructions below to add you to that tool account.

Add or remove maintainers

Existing maintainers can follow these instructions to add new maintainers to a tool account:

  1. Log in to the Toolforge admin console.
  2. Navigate to the tool listing and select the tool you want to manage from the left sidebar.
  3. Click "Manage maintainers". Add the new maintainers and click "Update".
To add a user as a maintainer, that user must already have applied to join Toolforge or their name won't appear in the autocompletion list.

Create a new tool account / tool

To create a new tool, create a new tool account in toolsadmin:

  1. Go to https://toolsadmin.wikimedia.org/tools/.
  2. Click on the "Tools" tab.
  3. Click the "Create new tool" link at the bottom of the "Your tools" sidebar.
  4. Follow the instructions in the tool account creation form. Note the instructions below about Naming your tool.
  5. After you create the tool account, log off, then log back in to access the new tool account.

Note: If you only recently received access to the tools project, you may get an error about appropriate credentials. Log out and back in to fix the issue.

If you were logged in through ssh when you created the tool account, you must log off and log in again.

Name a tool account / tool

The tool account and tool have the same name. This name is included in the URL for the web service, if the tool has one. Make sure the name is appropriate and is spelled correctly.

Note: Do not prefix the tool name with tools.. This will cause problems during account creation.

Rename a tool account / tool

Tools can't be renamed. You can create a new tool with a new name and copy the code over from the old tool.

Switch to / become a tool account

Whenever you log in to Toolforge, you first SSH to the bastion host, but then you must "become" the tool account you want to work on. Become your tool by using the become command:

$ become <toolname>

You should see the command prompt change to:


Troubleshooting: no such tool

$ become <TOOL NAME>
become: no such tool '<TOOL NAME>'
  • Wait a few minutes for the tool account creation to complete.
  • Check that the spelling of the tool name is correct.

Troubleshooting: You are not a member of the group tools

$ become <TOOL NAME>
You are not a member of the group tools.<TOOL NAME>.
Any existing member of the tool's group can add you to that.
  • If you are already logged in via SSH when you create a new tool, log out, and log in again to activate your new permissions.

Manage files in Toolforge

File permissions

Toolforge is a shared environment, and by default all files you create will be public. This means that when you create files containing passwords or other secret information, you need to set correct file permissions to ensure it stays private. You can use the following command to create a new blank file that only you can read or edit:

$ install -m 600 /dev/null FILE_NAME

Transfer files

You can use scp to copy files from your computer to Toolforge. To make files available to a tool account, copy or move them from your home directory to the tool's home directly:

yourshellaccountname@tools-sgebastion-10:~$ cp somefile ~tools.toolaccount/

Note that the tool account will have to take ownership of the file before it can use it, see below.

Take ownership of files

The take command allows you to change ownership of the file(s) and directories to the calling tool user.

The permissions of the file(s) before take is run must include the tool user as either the owner or group. This prevents take from being abused to take over arbitrary files.

To take ownership of files as your tool account:

  1. become your tool / tool account:
    yourshellaccountname@tools-sgebastion-10:~$ become toolaccount
  2. As your tool/tool account, take ownership of the files:
    tools.toolaccount@tools-sgebastion-10:~$ take FILE

Mount your tools home directory onto your local machine

Modifying files on Toolforge servers may be difficult; after all, you are restricted to terminal-based editors. If you prefer to use modern IDEs such as Visual Studio Code, Eclipse, etc. you can mount the home directory of your tool onto your local Linux machine or virtual machine (VM).

First, create an empty directory on which you would mount the Toolforge remote directory. In the code examples below, it is assumed that you have created a local directory at ~/remote for this purpose.

To mount, use a command like this:

$ sshfs -o allow_other -o workaround=rename login.toolforge.org:/data/project/toolname ~/remote

The allow_other option helps avoid permission issues, and the workaround=rename option helps avoid issues with overwriting existing files.

You may receive a notice said: fusermount3: option allow_other only allowed if 'user_allow_other' is set in /etc/fuse.conf; in such case, just uncomment line user_allow_other in your /etc/fuse.conf.

Remember to specify your Toolforge username if it's different from the one you have locally, i.e. ... toolforge-username@login.toolforge.org:/.... If it's wrong it will cause the generic error message:

read: Connection reset by peer

To unmount, use this command:

$ umount ~/remote

In certain situations, the above command may fail to work (e.g. network issues); if you need to forcefully unmount the network file system, you can use this command:

$ fusermount -zu ~/remote

Transferring files via rsync

Rsync is a good and fast way to copy and synchronize files. This example shows how to copy a directory to your Toolforge home directory. It also enforces permissions for everyone to read the copied files (common for a public_html).

$ rsync --delay-updates -F --compress --archive --no-owner --no-group --chmod=Du=rwx,Dog=rx,Fu=rw,Fgo=r yourLocalDirectory login.toolforge.org:/home/yourshellaccountname/destinationDirectory


  • We do not try to preserve the local user and group as they likely don't match what is on the server anyway.
  • You can add --delete-after to remove files from the destination if they are not present in the source. If you regularly sync the same directory but the filenames change (say a vendor or node_modules directory), this might be useful to avoid the destination dir from filling up with old unnecessary files.

In order to copy to the tool's home directory, you need to ensure that rsync becomes the tool user:

$ rsync --delay-updates -F --compress --archive --no-owner --no-group --rsh='/usr/bin/ssh -S none -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no -o UserKnownHostsFile=/dev/null' --rsync-path='sudo -u tools.toolaccount rsync' --chmod=Dug=rwx,Dg+s,Do=rx,Fug=rw,Fo=r yourLocalDirectory login.toolforge.org:/data/project/toolaccount/destinationDirectory


  • the sudo to a different user
  • forwarding the rsync on the remote server via local ssh/rsync
  • the different destination path
  • different permissions (we give the group write permissions in this example and we preserve the +s

Add a description to your tool account / tool

Each tool can provide a description by creating a toolinfo record using https://toolsadmin.wikimedia.org/tools/. Navigate to your tool's record in ToolsAdmin and look for the "Add toolinfo" button. See the Toolhub documentation for other ways to add a toolinfo record, and details about how to populate the fields.

Delete a tool account

Mark a tool for deletion by using the "Disable tool" button on the tool's detail page on https://toolsadmin.wikimedia.org/. Disabling a tool will immediately stop any running jobs including webservices and prevent maintainers from logging in as the tool. Disabled tools are archived and deleted after 40 days. Disabled tools can be re-enabled at any time prior to being archived and deleted.

Backup Toolforge data

There are no user-accessible backups in Toolforge.

You should use a source or version control tool to preserve your code and make regular backups of data. Learn more.

Communication and support

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Discuss and receive general support
Stay aware of critical changes and plans
Track work tasks and report bugs

Use a subproject of the #Cloud-Services Phabricator project to track confirmed bug reports and feature requests about the Cloud Services infrastructure itself

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Read the Cloud Services Blog (for the broader Wikimedia movement, see the Wikimedia Technical Blog)