A Fresh Approach to R Package Installation

pak installs R packages from CRAN, Bioconductor, GitHub, URLs, local files and directories. It is an alternative to install.packages() and devtools::install_github(). pak is fast, safe and convenient.


Pre-built binaries

Install a binary build of pak from our repository on GitHub:

install.packages("pak", repos = sprintf("https://r-lib.github.io/p/pak/stable/%s/%s/%s", .Platform$pkgType, R.Version()$os, R.Version()$arch))

This is supported for the following systems:

OS CPU R version
Linux x86_64 R 3.4.0 - R-devel
Linux aarch64 R 3.4.0 - R-devel
macOS High Sierra+ x86_64 R 3.4.0 - R-devel
macOS Big Sur+ aarch64 R 4.1.0 - R-devel
Windows x86_64 R 3.4.0 - R-devel

For macOS we only support the official CRAN R build. Other builds, e.g. Homebrew R, are not supported.

Install from CRAN

Install the released version of the package from CRAN as usual:

This potentially needs a C compiler on platforms CRAN does not have binaries packages for.

Nightly builds

We have nightly binary builds, for the same systems as the table above:

install.packages("pak", repos = sprintf("https://r-lib.github.io/p/pak/devel/%s/%s/%s", .Platform$pkgType, R.Version()$os, R.Version()$arch))


Call pkg_install() to install CRAN or Bioconductor packages:


To install packages from GitHub, use the user/repo syntax:


All dependencies will be installed as well, to the same library.

On GitHub Actions

The setup-r-dependencies action at r-lib/actions uses pak to install packages. See the examples directory for example workflows.

Why pak?


  • Fast downloads and HTTP queries. pak performs all HTTP requests concurrently.

  • Fast installs. pak builds and installs packages concurrently.

  • Metadata and package cache. pak caches package metadata and all downloaded packages locally. It does not download the same package files over and over again.

  • Lazy installation. pak only installs the packages that are really necessary for the installation. If the requested package and its dependencies are already installed, pak does nothing.


  • Private library (pak’s own package dependencies do not affect your regular package libraries and vice versa).

  • Every pak operation runs in a sub-process, and the packages are loaded from the private library. pak avoids loading packages from your regular package libraries. (These package files would be locked on some systems, and locked packages cannot be updated. pak does not load any package in the main process, except for pak itself).

  • To avoid updating locked packages, pak offers the choice of unloading them from the current R session, and/or killing other R sessions locking them.

  • Dependency solver. pak makes sure that you end up in a consistent, working state of dependencies. It finds conflicts up front, before attempting installation.

  • System package support. pak automatically installs system dependencies on several Linux distributions.


  • BioC packages. pak supports Bioconductor packages out of the box. It uses the Bioconductor version that is appropriate for your R version.

  • GitHub packages. pak supports GitHub packages out of the box. It also supports the Remotes entry in DESCRIPTION files, so that GitHub dependencies of GitHub packages will also get installed. See e.g. https://cran.r-project.org/package=remotes/vignettes/dependencies.html

  • Easy time travel with MRAN and RSPM, to a specific date or when a certain R or package version was released.

  • Package sizes. For CRAN packages pak shows the total sizes of packages it needs to download.

  • Other package sources:

    • local package files and directories,
    • URLs to package files or package tree archives.


  • Cache locally installed packages.
  • Update installed packages.
  • Better integration with renv.
  • Support more package sources: Enterprise GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket and SVN repositories.
  • Support older CRAN and Bioconductor packages.
  • More comprehensive system requirements support.


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