Pa11y Dashboard

Pa11y Dashboard is a web interface to the Pa11y accessibility reporter; allowing you to focus on fixing issues rather than hunting them down.

Node.js version support
Build status
GPL-3.0 licensed



Pa11y Dashboard is a Node.js application and requires a stable or LTS version of Node, currently version 12 or 14.

⚠️ At the moment, Pa11y Dashboard won't work with Node.js v16. Please use Node.js 12 or 14. ⚠️

Pa11y Dashboard uses a MongoDB database to store the results of the tests. The database doesn't have to be in the same server or computer where Pa11y Dashboard is running from.

Pa11y Dashboard uses puppeteer to create a headless instance of the Chromium browser in order to run the tests. On certain environments this may require additional dependencies to be installed. For example, in Debian/Ubuntu systems you may need to install the libnss3 and libgconf-2-4 libraries in order to be able to run tests on Pa11y Dashboard. Please refer to the documentation from your provider for details on how to do this.

Setting up Pa11y Dashboard

In order to run Pa11y Dashboard, we recommend cloning this repository locally:

git clone

Then installing the dependencies:

cd pa11y-dashboard
npm install

Installing MongoDB

Instructions for installing and running MongoDB are outside the scope of this document. When in doubt, please refer to the MongoDB installation instructions for details of how to install and run MongoDB on your specific operating system. An example of the installation and configuration process for macOS follows.

Pa11y Dashboard currently uses version 3 of the Node.js MongoDB driver, which means that only MongoDB servers of versions 4.4 or older are supported. Please ensure that your MongoDB server fills the requirements before trying to run Pa11y Dashboard.

Example MongoDB installation for macOS

On recent versions of macOS (10.13 or later), you can use Homebrew to install MongoDB Community Edition. More recent versions of MongoDB are untested and unsupported.

Tap the MongoDB Homebrew Tap:

brew tap mongodb/brew

Install a supported Community version of MongoDB:

brew install mongodb-community@4.4

Start the MongoDB server:

brew services start mongodb/brew/mongodb-community@4.4

Check that the service has started properly:

$ brew services list
Name              Status  User       Plist
mongodb-community started pa11y      /Users/pa11y/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.mongodb-community.plist

Configuring Pa11y Dashboard

The last step before being able to run Pa11y Dashboard is to define a configuration for it. This can be done in two ways:

Option 1: Using environment variables

Each configuration can be set with an environment variable rather than a config file. For example to run the application on port 8080 you can use the following:

PORT=8080 node index.js

The available configurations are documented in the next section.

Option 2: Using config files

You can store the configuration for Pa11y Dashboard on a JSON file. You can use a different configuration file for each environment you're planning to run Pa11y Dashboard on. You can choose a specific environment to run the application from by setting the NODE_ENV environment variable:

NODE_ENV=development node index.js

Three example files are provided in this repository, you can copy and customise them to your liking:

cp config/development.sample.json config/development.json
cp config/production.sample.json config/production.json
cp config/test.sample.json config/test.json

The available configurations are documented in the next section.

If you run into problems, check the [troubleshooting guide][#troubleshooting].


The boot configurations for Pa11y Dashboard are as follows. Look at the sample JSON files in the repo for example usage.


(number) The port to run the application on. Set via a config file or the PORT environment variable.


(boolean) If set to true (default), the dashboard will not be indexed by search engines. Set to false to allow indexing. Set via a config file or the NOINDEX environment variable.


(boolean) If set to true, users will not be able to add, delete or run URLs (defaults to false). Set via a config file or the READONLY environment variable.


(string) A message to display prominently on the site home page. Defaults to null.


This can either be an object containing Pa11y Webservice configurations, or a string which is the base URL of a [Pa11y Webservice][pa11y-webservice] instance you are running separately. If using environment variables, prefix the webservice vars with WEBSERVICE_.


There are many ways to contribute to Pa11y Dashboard, we cover these in the contributing guide for this repo.

If you're ready to contribute some code, you'll need to clone the repo and get set up as outlined in the setup guide. You'll then need to start the application in test mode with:

NODE_ENV=test node index.js

You'll now be able to run the following commands:

make verify              # Verify all of the code (ESLint)
make test                # Run all tests
make test-integration    # Run the integration tests

To compile the client-side JavaScript and CSS, you'll need the following commands. Compiled code is committed to the repository.

make less    # Compile the site CSS from LESS files
make uglify  # Compile and uglify the client-side JavaScript

Useful resources


Common issues

  • 500 errors or Could not connect to pa11y-webservice messages are often related to MongoDB. Ensure that you have the [appropriate version of MongoDB][#installing-mongodb] installed, and that it's running - it doesn't always start automatically.
  • Error messages saying that pa11y-webservice isn't running may be due to dependency installation problems. Try deleting your pa11y-dashboard/node_modules directory and running npm install again.

Create a new issue

Check the issue tracker for similar issues before creating a new one. If the problem that you're experiencing is not covered by one of the existing issues, you can create a new issue. Please include your node.js and MongoDB version numbers, and your operating system, as well as any information that may be useful in debugging the issue.

Support and Migration

Pa11y Dashboard major versions are normally supported for 6 months after their last minor release. This means that patch-level changes will be added and bugs will be fixed. The table below outlines the end-of-support dates for major versions, and the last minor release for that version.

We also maintain a migration guide to help you migrate.

Major Version Last Minor Release Node.js Versions Support End Date
❤️ 4 N/A 12+ N/A
3 3.3.0 8+ 2022-05-26
? 2 2.4.2 4+ 2020-01-16
? 1 1.12 0.10–6 2016-12-05

If you're opening issues related to these, please mention the version that the issue relates to.


Pa11y Dashboard is licensed under the GNU General Public License 3.0.

Copyright © 2013–2020, Team Pa11y and contributors