Tool for downloading/managing QGIS plugins from CLI.

QGIS, qgis-plugin, qgis-server, qgis-server-plugin
pip install qgis-plugin-manager==1.5.0



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Mainly designed for QGIS Server plugins, but it works also for desktop.

Not tested on Windows.

The CLI API is not stable yet.


Python 3.7 minimum, you can make a Python venv if needed.

python3 --version
pip3 install qgis-plugin-manager
python3 -m pip install qgis-plugin-manager

Environment variables

QGIS-Plugin-Manager will take care of following variables :

  • QGIS_PLUGIN_MANAGER_SOURCES_FILE for storing a path to the sources.list otherwise, the current folder will be used.
  • QGIS_PLUGIN_MANAGER_CACHE_DIR for storing all XML files downloaded otherwise, the current folder will be used .cache_qgis_plugin_manager
  • QGIS_PLUGIN_MANAGER_SKIP_SOURCES_FILE, boolean when we do not need a sources.list file, for instance to list plugins only
  • QGIS_PLUGIN_MANAGER_RESTART_FILE, path where the file must be created if QGIS server needs to be restarted. Read the documentation.
  • QGIS_PLUGINPATH for storing plugins, from QGIS Server documentation
  • PYTHONPATH for importing QGIS libraries


Either you need to go in the directory where you are storing plugins, or you can use the environment variable QGIS_PLUGINPATH. You can read the documentation on QGIS Server about this variable.

cd /path/where/you/have/plugins
# usually on a server
cd /usr/lib/qgis/plugins
# on unix desktop with the default QGIS profile
cd /home/${USER}/.local/share/QGIS/QGIS3/profiles/default/python/plugins
# or
export QGIS_PLUGINPATH=/path/where/you/have/plugins
$ qgis-plugin-manager --help
usage: qgis-plugin-manager [-h] [-v] {init,list,remote,remove,update,upgrade,cache,search,install} ...

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -v, --version         show program's version number and exit

  qgis-plugin-manager command

    init                Create the `sources.list` with plugins.qgis.org as remote
    list                List all plugins in the directory
    remote              List all remote server
    remove              Remove a plugin by its name
    update              Update all index files
    upgrade             Upgrade all plugins installed
    cache               Look for a plugin in the cache
    search              Search for plugins
    install             Install a plugin


To create the first sources.list in the directory with at least the default repository https://plugins.qgis.org :

$ qgis-plugin-manager init
$ cat sources.list 

You can have one or many servers, one on each line.


List all plugins installed :

$ qgis-plugin-manager list
QGIS server version 3.19.0
List all plugins in /home/etienne/dev/qgis/server_plugin

|  Name            |  Version  | Flags           |  QGIS min  |  QGIS max  |  Author         | Folder owner     | Action ⚠         |
|Lizmap            |master     |                 |3.4         |3.99        |3Liz             | root : 0o755     | Unkown version   |
|wfsOutputExtension|1.5.3      |Server           |3.0         |            |3Liz             | etienne : 0o755  |                  |
|QuickOSM          |1.14.0     |Processing       |3.4         |3.99        |Etienne Trimaille| etienne : 0o755  | Upgrade to 1.16.0|
|cadastre          |1.6.2      |Server,Processing|3.0         |3.99        |3liz             | www-data : 0o755 |                  |
|atlasprint        |3.2.2      |Server           |3.10        |            |3Liz             | www-data : 0o755 |                  |

Install needed plugins only, mainly on QGIS server

Important note, install only plugins you need you. On QGIS desktop, plugins can slow down your computer. On QGIS server, plugins are like hooks into QGIS server, they can alter input or output of QGIS server. They can produce unexpected result if you don't know how the plugin works. Please refer to their respective documentation or the application that needs QGIS server plugins (for instance, plugins for Lizmap Web Client)


$ qgis-plugin-manager remote
List of remotes :


$ cat sources.list 

[VERSION] is a token in the sources.list file to be replaced by the QGIS version, for instance 3.22. If QGIS is upgraded, the XML file will be updated as well.

You don't have to set the TOKEN for all URL :

https://docs.3liz.org/plugins.xml is valid.

Basic authentication

It's possible to add a login and password in the remote URL, with username and password in the query string :


Every URL is parsed, and if some credentials are found, the URL is cleaned and the request is done using the basic authentication.


To fetch the XML files from each repository :

$ qgis-plugin-manager update
Downloading https://plugins.qgis.org/plugins/plugins.xml?qgis=3.19...
$ ls .cache_qgis_plugin_manager/


Check if a plugin is available :

$ qgis-plugin-manager cache atlasprint
Plugin atlasprint : v3.2.2 available


Look for plugins according to tags and title :

$ qgis-plugin-manager search dataviz
Data Plotly


Plugins are case-sensitive and might have spaces in its name :

$ qgis-plugin-manager install dataplotly
Plugin dataplotly latest not found.
Do you mean maybe 'Data Plotly' ?
$ qgis-plugin-manager install 'Data Plotly'

Install the latest version :

$ qgis-plugin-manager install QuickOSM
Installation QuickOSM latest
	Ok QuickOSM.1.16.0.zip

or a specific version :

$ qgis-plugin-manager install QuickOSM==1.14.0
Installation QuickOSM 1.14.0
	Ok QuickOSM.1.14.0.zip

You can use --force or -f to force the installation even if the plugin with the same version is already installed.

Enable a plugin

On QGIS server, there isn't any setting to enable/disable a plugin.

However, on desktop, you still need to enable a plugin, the equivalent of the checkbox in the QGIS graphical plugin manager.

For instance, with the default profile, usually located in :


you need to edit the QGIS.ini file with :



Upgrade all plugins installed :

$ qgis-plugin-manager upgrade

You can use --force or -f to force the upgrade for all plugins despite their version.

Note, like APT, update is needed before to refresh the cache.

Ignore plugins from the upgrade

Some plugins might be installed by hand, without being installed with a remote. This command will try to upgrade all valid plugins found in the directory. However, the command will fail because the plugin has been installed without a remote.

It's possible to ignore such plugin by adding a file ignorePlugins.list, in your plugins' folder, with a list of plugin name on each line. The upgrade will not try to upgrade them.


It's possible to use rm -rf folder_dir but you can also remove by the plugin name. It will take care of the QGIS_PLUGINPATH environment variable.

$ qgis-plugin-manager remove Quickosm
Plugin name 'Quickosm' not found
Do you mean maybe 'QuickOSM' ?
$ qgis-plugin-manager remove QuickOSM
Plugin QuickOSM removed
Tip : Do not forget to restart QGIS Server to reload plugins 😎

Notify upstream if a restart is needed

When a plugin is installed or removed and if the environment variable QGIS_PLUGIN_MANAGER_RESTART_FILE is set, an empty file will be created or touched. It can notify you if QGIS Server needs to be restarted for instance.

Note that you must manually remove this file.

Run tests

export PYTHONPATH=/home/etienne/dev/app/qgis-master/share/qgis/python/:/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/
cd test
python3 -m unittest