Getting started

Play with a live demo

The best way to experience Datasette for the first time is with a demo:

Try Datasette without installing anything using Glitch

Glitch is a free online tool for building web apps directly from your web browser. You can use Glitch to try out Datasette without needing to install any software on your own computer.

Here's a demo project on Glitch which you can use as the basis for your own experiments:

Glitch allows you to "remix" any project to create your own copy and start editing it in your browser. You can remix the datasette-csvs project by clicking this button:

Find a CSV file and drag it onto the Glitch file explorer panel - datasette-csvs will automatically convert it to a SQLite database (using sqlite-utils) and allow you to start exploring it using Datasette.

If your CSV file has a latitude and longitude column you can visualize it on a map by uncommenting the datasette-cluster-map line in the requirements.txt file using the Glitch file editor.

Need some data? Try this Public Art Data for the city of Seattle - hit "Export" and select "CSV" to download it as a CSV file.

For more on how this works, see Running Datasette on Glitch.

Using Datasette on your own computer

First, follow the Installation instructions. Now you can run Datasette against a SQLite file on your computer using the following command:

datasette path/to/database.db

This will start a web server on port 8001 - visit http://localhost:8001/ to access the web interface.

Add -o to open your browser automatically once Datasette has started:

datasette path/to/database.db -o

Use Chrome on OS X? You can run datasette against your browser history like so:

datasette ~/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Chrome/Default/History

Now visiting http://localhost:8001/History/downloads will show you a web interface to browse your downloads data:

Downloads table rendered by datasette

http://localhost:8001/History/downloads.json will return that data as JSON:

    "database": "History",
    "columns": [
    "rows": [

http://localhost:8001/History/downloads.json?_shape=objects will return that data as JSON in a more convenient format:

    "rows": [
            "start_time": 13097290269022132,
            "interrupt_reason": 0,
            "hash": "",
            "id": 1,
            "site_url": "",
            "referrer": "",

datasette --get

The --get option can specify the path to a page within Datasette and cause Datasette to output the content from that path without starting the web server. This means that all of Datasette's functionality can be accessed directly from the command-line. For example:

$ datasette --get '/-/versions.json' | jq .
  "python": {
    "version": "3.8.5",
    "full": "3.8.5 (default, Jul 21 2020, 10:48:26) \n[Clang 11.0.3 (clang-1103.0.32.62)]"
  "datasette": {
    "version": "0.46+15.g222a84a.dirty"
  "asgi": "3.0",
  "uvicorn": "0.11.8",
  "sqlite": {
    "version": "3.32.3",
    "fts_versions": [
    "extensions": {
      "json1": null
    "compile_options": [

The exit code will be 0 if the request succeeds and 1 if the request produced an HTTP status code other than 200 - e.g. a 404 or 500 error. This means you can use datasette --get / to run tests against a Datasette application in a continuous integration environment such as GitHub Actions.

datasette serve --help

Running datasette downloads.db executes the default serve sub-command, and is equivalent to running datasette serve downloads.db. The full list of options to that command is shown below.

$ datasette serve --help

Usage: datasette serve [OPTIONS] [FILES]...

  Serve up specified SQLite database files with a web UI

  -i, --immutable PATH      Database files to open in immutable mode
  -h, --host TEXT           Host for server. Defaults to which means only
                            connections from the local machine will be allowed. Use
                   to listen to all IPs and allow access from other

  -p, --port INTEGER        Port for server, defaults to 8001. Use -p 0 to automatically
                            assign an available port.

  --reload                  Automatically reload if database or code change detected -
                            useful for development

  --cors                    Enable CORS by serving Access-Control-Allow-Origin: *
  --load-extension TEXT     Path to a SQLite extension to load
  --inspect-file TEXT       Path to JSON file created using "datasette inspect"
  -m, --metadata FILENAME   Path to JSON/YAML file containing license/source metadata
  --template-dir DIRECTORY  Path to directory containing custom templates
  --plugins-dir DIRECTORY   Path to directory containing custom plugins
  --static MOUNT:DIRECTORY  Serve static files from this directory at /MOUNT/...
  --memory                  Make :memory: database available
  --config CONFIG           Deprecated: set config option using configname:value. Use
                            --setting instead.

  --setting SETTING...      Setting, see
  --secret TEXT             Secret used for signing secure values, such as signed

  --root                    Output URL that sets a cookie authenticating the root user
  --get TEXT                Run an HTTP GET request against this path, print results and

  --version-note TEXT       Additional note to show on /-/versions
  --help-config             Show available config options
  --pdb                     Launch debugger on any errors
  -o, --open                Open Datasette in your web browser
  --help                    Show this message and exit.