Table of Contents

Using Registries

The latest version of this documentation is available on GitHub.

There are two parts to using registries; this documents the use side of the relationship. In order to learn more about creating registries for others to use, please read this documentation.

Table of Contents


From a high level perspective, everything that a project needs to define about registries is contained in the vcpkg configuration file. In classic mode, the configuration file lies in the vcpkg root; for manifest mode, the file must exist next to the project's vcpkg.json file. This file is named vcpkg-configuration.json, and it's a simple top-level object file.

Registry Objects

Registries are defined in JSON as objects. They must contain at least the "kind" and "baseline" fields, and additionally the different kinds of registry will have their own way of defining where the registry can be found:

Registry Objects: "kind"

The "kind" field must be a string:

Registry Objects: "baseline"

The "baseline" field must be a string. For git registries and for the built-in registry, it should be a 40-character commit ID. For filesystem registries, it can be any string that the registry defines.

Registry Objects: "repository"

This should be a string, of any repository format that git understands:

Registry Objects: "path"

This should be a path; it can be either absolute or relative; relative paths will be based at the directory the vcpkg-configuration.json lives in.

Configuration: "default-registry"

The "default-registry" field should be a registry object. It defines the registry that is used for all packages that are not claimed by any package registries. It may also be null, in which case no packages that are not claimed by package registries may be installed.

Configuration: "registries"

The "registries" field should be an array of registry objects, each of which additionally contain a "packages" field, which should be an array of package names. These define the package registries, which are used for the specific packages named by the "packages" field.

The "packages" fields of all the package registries must be disjoint.

Example Configuration File

Let's assume that you have mirrored at this will be your default registry. Additionally, you want to use North Wind Trader's registry for their beison and beicode libraries. The following vcpkg-configuration.json will work:

  "default-registry": {
    "kind": "git",
    "repository": "",
    "baseline": "eefee7408133f3a0fef711ef9c6a3677b7e06fd7"
  "registries": [
      "kind": "git",
      "repository": "",
      "baseline": "dacf4de488094a384ca2c202b923ccc097956e0c",
      "packages": [ "beicode", "beison" ]

Package Name Resolution

The way package name resolution works in vcpkg is fairly distinct from many package managers. It is very carefully designed to never implicitly choose the registry that a package is fetched from. Just from vcpkg-configuration.json, one can tell exactly from which registry a package definition will be fetched from.

The name resolution algorithm is as follows:

Versioning Support

Versioning with custom registries works exactly as it does in the built-in registry. You can read more about that in the versioning documentation.