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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Is The Default Behaviour?

Renovate will:

  • Look for configuration options in a configuration file (e.g. renovate.json) and in each package.json file
  • Find and process all package files (e.g. package.json, package.js, Dockerfile, etc) in each repository
  • Use separate branches/PR for each dependency
  • Use separate branches for each major version of each dependency
  • Pin devDependencies to a single version, rather than use ranges
  • Pin dependencies to a single version if it appears not to be a library
  • Update yarn.lock and/or package-lock.json files if found
  • Create Pull Requests immediately after branch creation

What If I Need To .. ?

Use an alternative branch for Pull Request target

If for example your repository default branch is master but your Pull Requests should target branch next, then you can configure this via the baseBranches configuration option. To do this, add this line to the renovate.json in the default branch (i.e. master in this example).

  "baseBranches": ["next"]

You may configure more than one in the above.

Support private npm modules

See the dedicated Private npm module support page.

Control renovate's schedule

Renovate itself will run as often as its administrator has configured it (e.g. hourly, daily, etc). But you may wish to update certain repositories less often, or even specific packages at a different schedule.

If you want to control the days of the week or times of day that renovate updates packages, use the timezone and schedule configuration options.

By default, Renovate schedules will use the timezone of the machine that it's running on. This can be overridden in global config. Finally, it can be overridden on a per-repository basis too, e.g.:

  "timezone": "America/Los_Angeles",

The timezone must be one of the valid IANA time zones.

Now that your timezone is set, you can define days of week or hours of the day in which renovate will make changes. For this we rely on text parsing of the library later and its concepts of "days", "time_before", and "time_after".

Example scheduling:

every weekend
before 5:00am
[after 10pm, before 5:00am]
[after 10pm every weekday, before 5am every weekday]
on friday and saturday

This scheduling feature can be particularly useful for "noisy" packages that are updated frequently, such as aws-sdk.

To restrict aws-sdk to only weekly updates, you could add this package rule:

  "packageRules": [
      "packageNames": ["aws-sdk"],
      "schedule": ["after 9pm on sunday"]

Note that schedule must be in the form of an array, even if only one schedule is present. Multiple entries in the array means "or".

Selectively enable or disable renovate for specific package.json files

You could:

  • Use ignorePaths to ignore certain paths in the repository, or
  • Explicitly list every package file you want renovated, in the packageFiles configuration object, or
  • Add a renovate section to any package.json files you don't want renovated, with the configuration option "enabled": false

Disable renovate for certain dependency types

Define a packageRules entry which has the dependency type(s) in depTypeList and "enabled": false.

Use a single branch/PR for all dependency upgrades

Add a configuration for configuration option groupName set to value "all", at the top level of your renovate.json or package.json.

Use separate branches per dependency, but not one per major release

Set configuration option separateMajorMinor to false.

Keep using semver ranges, instead of pinning dependencies

Set configuration option pinVersions to false.

Keep lock files (including sub-dependencies) up-to-date, even when package.json hasn't changed

This is enabled by default, but its schedule is set to ["before 5am on monday"]. If you want it more frequently, then update the schedule field inside the lockFileMaintenance object.

Wait until tests have passed before creating the PR

Set configuration option prCreation to "status-success". Failing branches will never get a Pull Request created until they eventually pass.

Wait until tests have passed before creating a PR, but create the PR even if they fail

Set configuration option prCreation to "not-pending"

Assign PRs to specific user(s)

Set the configuration option assignees to an array of usernames.

Add labels to PRs

Set the configuration option labels to an array of labels to use

Apply a rule, but only to package abc?

  1. Add a packageRules array to your configuration.
  2. Create one object inside this array
  3. Set field packageNames to value ["abc"]
  4. Add the configuration option to the same object.


"packageRules": [
    "packageNames": ["abc"],
    "assignees": ["importantreviewer"]

Apply a rule, but only for packages starting with abc

Do the same as above, but instead of using packageNames, use packagePatterns and a regex. e.g.

"packageRules": [
    "packagePatterns": "^abc",
    "assignees": ["importantreviewer"]

Group all packages starting with abc together in one PR

As above, but apply a groupName, e.g.

"packageRules": [
    "packagePatterns": "^abc",
    "groupName": ["abc packages"]

Change the default branch name, commit message, PR title or PR description

Set the branchName, commitMessage, prTitle or prBody configuration options:

"branchName": "vroom/{{depName}}-{{newVersionMajor}}.x",
"commitMessage": "Vroom vroom dependency {{depName}} to version {{newVersion}}",
"prTitle": "Vroom {{depName}},

Automatically merge passing Pull Requests

Set configuration option autoMerge to true. Nest it inside config objects patch or minor if you want it to apply to certain types only.

Separate patch releases from minor releases

Renovate's default behaviour is to separate major and minor releases, while patch releases are also consider "minor". For example if you were running q@0.8.7 you would receive one branch for the minor update to q@0.9.7 and a second for the major update to q@1.4.1.

If you set the configuration option separateMinorPatch to true, or you configure automerge to have value "patch", then Renovate will then separate patch releases as well. For example, if you did this when running q@0.8.7 then you'd receive three PRs - for q@0.8.13, q@0.9.7 and q@1.4.1.

Of course, most people don't want more PRs, so you would probably want to utilise this feature to make less work for yourself instead. As an example, you might:

  • Update patch updates daily and automerge if they pass tests
  • Update minor and major updates weekly

The result of this would hopefully be that you barely notice Renovate during the week while still getting the benefits of patch updates.