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What is a channel?

A channel is a location (a URL) where conda will look for packages.

The Anaconda-curated repository provides the following channels for use, categorized by package type:

  • main
  • msys2
  • r
  • free

Channel types

Anaconda channels

The Anaconda channels connect to the repository that is curated and maintained by Anaconda. These channels provide you with thousands of the most popular data science platform packages available today. It is possible to apply a policy filter to the Anaconda channels. That policy filter will not affect Organization channels that are created from the same source Anaconda channel.

Virtual channels

Your organization’s channels are virtual copies of the Anaconda channels. You can apply a policy filter to a channel to restrict the packages that are available through that channel, which customizes its contents, making it unique. For example, you can have two channels that both pull from the Anaconda main channel, but the available packages they provide can be different due to the policy filter that have been applied to the channels.

External channels

External channels will point to a location (a URL) that is outside of Anaconda to look for packages.


You cannot apply policy filters to external channels. Currently, Anaconda only supports connection to external channels located at, but we plan to support any URL soon.

Channel access

There are two levels of permissions associated with channels in Anaconda: internal and private.

Internal channels

Internal channels are visible to all members of your organization who have been assigned a seat.

Private channels

Private channels have their contents restricted to those members who are part of the group the channel is assigned to. For more information about assigning channels to a group, see Groups.

Creating an organization channel

  1. From the Channels page, click Add channel to open the Create Channel dialog.

  2. In the Create Channel dialog:

    1. Enter a unique channel name.
    2. Select a channel type.
    3. Select a source channel from the Source dropdown or enter the address for your external source channel.
    4. Set the access level for the channel.
    5. Click Save.

Your new channel will appear on the Channels page.


If you set the channel access level as private, you will also be prompted to add the channel to a group. If you do not wish to add the newly-created private channel to a group, click Cancel in the Assign Groups to Channel dialog.

Assigning channel access

You can change the access level of a channel at any time from the Channels page.

  1. Open the Actions menu of your channel.

  2. Select either Make Channel Internal or Make Channel Private. Your available option depends on the current access level of the channel.


    Private channels that are not assigned to a group are only visible to organization administrators.

Viewing channel details

You can view the details of your channels from your organization’s Channels page.

Select a channel to view the packages within that channel.


Select one of those packages to view the files within that package.


You can then view the version number, CVE status, and upload date of each file within the package, along with details of the package itself.


Adding an organization channel to your .condarc file

In order to pull packages from any of your organizations’ virtual channels, you must first configure your .condarc file to tell conda where the channel is located. Complete the following steps to add one of your organizations’ channels to your .condarc file.

  1. Navigate to your Organizations page.

  2. Select your organization.

  3. From the left-hand navigation, select Channels.

  4. Select the copy channel path copy icon.

  5. Open your terminal and run the following conda config command:

    # Replace <CHANNEL_PATH> with the copied channel path
    conda config --prepend channels <CHANNEL_PATH>

    This will configure conda to check the specified channel for packages first, but will still look in the default_channels if defaults is present in the channel list. If you want to restrict where you pull packages from to one specific channel in your organization—for example, one with a policy filter applied to it—update your .condarc file to only include that channel in the channels list.

    Your .condarc file might look something like this:

      - defaults
    add_anaconda_token: true
    restore_free_channel: false


    You can add the default channels to your .condarc file’s channels: list at any time by running the command: conda config --append channels defaults

Removing a channel from your .condarc file

To remove a channel from your channels: list, open a terminal and run the following command:

# Replace <CHANNEL> with the URL listed in the channels: section of the .condarc file
conda config --remove channels <CHANNEL>

For example, if you don’t want to pull packages from the default channels, you can run the following command:

conda config --remove channels defaults


This will leave the channels listed under default_channels: in the .condarc file for later use if needed, but won’t look for packages in those locations.