9 License Management

9.1 Product Activation

9.1.1 Activation Basics

When RStudio Workbench is first installed on a system it operates in evaluation mode for a period of time and then subsequently requires activation for continued use.

To determine the current license status of your system you can use the following command:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager status

After purchasing a license to RStudio Workbench you’ll receive a license key that can be used to activate the license on a given system.

You can activate your license key with the command:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager activate <product-key>

If you want to move your license of RStudio Workbench to another system you should first deactivate it on the old system with the command:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager deactivate

9.2 License Details

RStudio Workbench licenses include some details that you’ll see when you run the status command. These are part of the license and can’t be changed without purchasing a different license. They are as follows:

Value Meaning
enable-launcher Whether the Job Launcher is enabled.
sessions The maximum number of concurrent R sessions that can be run; 0 if unlimited.
users The maximum number of users that can connect to the server; 0 if unlimited.

Typically, RStudio Workbench licenses either disable the Launcher but allow for unlimited local users and sessions, or enable the Launcher and provide limits on users and/or sessions. If you have questions about the best kind of license for your use case, contact for help.

Note that when named user licenses are in effect (users is greater than 0), R Session Auditing is enabled by default to help you keep track of which users are using the product.

9.3 Connectivity Requirements

In order to activate or deactivate RStudio Workbench, internet connectivity is required for communication with the licensing server. If your server is behind an internet proxy or not connected to the Internet at all this section describes what’s required to successfully activate.

Additionally, your server should have a synchronized system clock, using ntp or some other clock syncing service. If the server’s clock is sufficiently incorrect, licensing verification will fail.

9.3.1 Proxy Servers

If your server is behind an internet proxy, you may need to add an additional command line flag indicating the address and credentials required to communicate through the proxy. This may not be necessary if either the http_proxy or all_proxy environment variable is defined (these are read and used by the license manager when available).

If you do need to specify a proxy server explicitly you can do so using the --proxy command line parameter. For example:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager --proxy= activate <product-key>

Proxy settings can include a host-name, port, and username/password if necessary. The following are all valid proxy configurations:

If the port is not specified, the license manager will default to using port 1080.

9.3.2 Offline Activation

If your system has no connection to the Internet it’s also possible to perform an offline activation. To do this, we recommend using our offline activation application which will walk you through the process: RStudio Offline Activation

To activate your license offline, you first generate an offline activation request as follows:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager activate-offline-request <product-key>

Executing this command will print an offline activation request to the terminal which you should copy and paste and enter into our offline activation application or send to RStudio customer support (). You will receive a reply with a file attachment that can be used to activate offline as follows:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager activate-offline <activation-file>

If you are renewing your license or want to move your license of RStudio Workbench to another system you can also perform license deactivation offline. You can do this as follows:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager deactivate-offline

Executing this command will print an offline deactivation request to the terminal which you should copy and paste and enter into the offline activation application then send to RStudio customer support ().

You can also perform an offline check of your current license status using the following command:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager status-offline

9.4 Evaluations

9.4.1 Extending Evaluations

If you are unable to complete your evaluation of RStudio Connect during the initial evaluation period, contact your Customer Success Representative or RStudio Sales () to speak about your evaluation process and how we may be able to help with the remaining items you need to test.

Once you have the key, supply it to RStudio Workbench using the extend-evaluation command.

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager extend-evaluation <key>

If you are performing the evaluation on a physical machine (not on virtualized hardware or containers) without a network connection, you may also request an offline evaluation extension key, which does not require an internet connection. This key may be supplied to RStudio Workbench as follows:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager extend-evaluation-offline <key>

Note that offline evaluation extension keys are valid only on machines which do not have Internet access and are not virtualized. For most offline evaluation extensions, you will need to generate an offline evaluation request (see below for details).

9.4.2 Connectivity Requirements Beginning Evaluations

Generally speaking, there are no network requirements during the evaluation period. Inside virtual machines or sandboxes (such as Docker), however, Internet access is required to begin the evaluation period.

If you have a proxy, you can supply it using the --proxy argument as described above. If however you have no means of connecting to the Internet from inside the virtual environment, you can begin the evaluation as follows:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager begin-evaluation-request

Executing this command will print an offline activation request to the terminal which you should copy and paste and then send to RStudio customer support (). You will receive a reply with a file attachment that can be used to begin the evaluation offline as follows:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager begin-evaluation-offline <evaluation-file> Extending Evaluations

You may extend evaluations offline using the same pattern described above (just use extend-evaluation-request and extend-evaluation-offline):

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager extend-evaluation-request

Then, when you’ve received the evaluation file:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager extend-evaluation-offline <evaluation-file>

9.5 Floating Licensing

If you stop and start RStudio Workbench instances frequently, for instance because you’re running them inside virtual machines or containers, you may wish to use floating licensing instead of traditional licensing.

To use floating licensing, you run a small, lightweight server, which holds a license that grants you the right to run a certain number of concurrent RStudio Workbench instances.

When RStudio Workbench starts, it will connect to the license server and obtain a temporary lease, releasing it when RStudio Workbench is stopped. Using this method, you can have any number of RStudio Workbench instances, so long as you do not run more instances at once than specified in your license.

9.5.1 Floating License Keys

A license key which distributes floating license leases is not the same as a traditional license key, and the two cannot be used interchangeably. If you have purchased traditional license keys and wish to exchange them for a floating license key, or vice versa, please get in touch with RStudio customer support ().

9.5.2 The RStudio Workbench License Server

The RStudio Workbench License server supplies licenses to RStudio Workbench. It is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. A license server can supply licenses to any platform; for instance, you can run your license server on Windows and distribute licenses to RStudio Workbench instances running Linux. Linux

The RStudio License Server site contains Linux license server downloads for all RStudio products. Download and install the license server for RStudio Workbench. You then activate your license key with the command:

$ sudo dpkg -i rsp-license-server-1.1.2-x86_64.deb
$ sudo rsp-license-server activate <product-key>
$ sudo rsp-license-server start

The file /etc/rsp-license-server.conf contains configuration settings for the RStudio Workbench License server, including the network port to listen on and any proxy settings required for connecting to the Internet. Mac and Windows

The RStudio License Server site contains downloads for the Mac and Windows license servers. These require a few additional configuration steps. They can be set up as follows (order is important):

  1. Download the license server (TurboFloatServer) appropriate to your platform, and place it in the directory where you wish it to run.
  2. Copy the file /usr/lib/rstudio-server/bin/license-manager.conf to the same directory as TurboFloatServer, and change its name to TurboActivate.dat.
  3. If activating online, run the command TurboFloatServer.exe -a="ABCD-EFGH-IJKL-MNOP-QRST-UVWX".
  4. If activating offline, follow the offline activation steps. Note that it is necessary to supply the fully qualified path to file arguments to TurboFloatServer, even if they are in the same directory as the executable.
  5. After successful activation, TurboFloatServer.exe -i with administrator permissions. This will install the license server as a service that will start automatically and run in the background.

For additional help with Mac and Windows license server installation and configuration, refer to the official TurboFloat Server documentation.

9.5.3 License Server Hardware Requirements

While the license server is designed to distribute licenses to ephemeral virtual machines or containers, which may move freely between hosts, the license server itself must stay on the same physical host on which it was activated.

It is acceptable to run the license server inside a container or a virtual machine, as long as the container or the VM always runs on the same hardware. Stopping the license server, moving it to a different physical host, and starting it again will cause it to become deactivated. Because it’s often impractical to try to ensure that the server only runs on a particular host, we recommend running the license server outside containers and virtualization software.

Note that the system requirements for the license server are very low, so it can be run on almost any server. If your environment will not allow for ensuring that the server stays on a single physical host, please contact to discuss alternate licensing options.

9.5.4 License Server Offline Activation

The rsp-license-server activate command requires an internet connection. If your license server has no connection to the Internet it’s also possible to perform an offline activation. The process for doing this on the license server is identical to the process used to activate RStudio Workbench offline. Generate an offline activation request as follows:

$ sudo rsp-license-server activate-offline-request <product-key>

Executing this command will print an offline activation request to the terminal which you should copy and paste and then send to RStudio customer support (). You will receive a reply with a file attachment that can be used to activate offline as follows:

$ sudo rsp-license-server activate-offline <activation-file>
$ sudo rsp-license-server restart

9.5.5 License Server Deactivation

If you are permanently decommissioning your license server, or need to transfer its license to a different license server, you should deactivate (remove) its license as follows:

sudo rsp-license-server deactivate

9.5.6 Using Floating Licensing

Once your license server is up and running, you need to tell RStudio Workbench to use floating licensing instead of traditional licensing.



The value remote indicates that RStudio Workbench should connect to a remote licensing server to obtain a license; the value local can be used to explicitly specify traditional (local) activation.

Then, tell RStudio Workbench which licensing server to connect to:

$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager license-server <server-hostname-or-ip>
$ sudo rstudio-server restart

You only need to run the license-server command once; RStudio Workbench saves the server name and will use it on each subsequent startup.

Depending on your system configuration, it is possible that the RStudio Workbench service will be started before the service which allows hostname resolution (this is known to be the case for example on some Amazon EC2 systems). If this is the case, you’ll want to specify the license server using a private IP address rather than a hostname, so that RStudio Workbench can acquire a license immediately when starting up.

Note: If you are renewing your floating license offline or if you want to move your floating license for RStudio Workbench to another system, then you should first perform license deactivation offline.

To renew your floating license offline or to move your floating license, run the following to perform license deactivation offline:

$ sudo rstudio-server deactivate-offline-request <product-key>

9.5.7 Specifying a License Server

RStudio supports three methods for connecting to a license server. You can select the method by specifying the license server as follows: Connecting Over TCP


$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager license-server mylicensehost:9403

By default, the RStudio Workbench License Server listens via raw TCP on port 8989. If you specify the only the hostname or IP address of the license server, this the kind of connection you’ll get.

If you wish to use a different port, you will need to specify the port in /etc/rsp-license-server.conf, and specify license-server to RStudio Workbench as <server-hostname-or-ip:port>. Connecting Over HTTPS


$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager license-server https://mylicensehost/

You can also connect to the license server via HTTPS rather than raw TCP. This can be useful when using proxies or load balancers in front of the license server. Note that the license server does not use HTTPS by default, so you can only use this connectivity method if you have configured your license server to use HTTPS.

Configuring the license server for HTTPS support is outside the scope of this guide. You can read instructions here:

Configuring TurboFloat Server for HTTPS Communication Connecting to a Hosted Server


$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager license-server 871A2BFA-87C5-11E9-BD16-4749DB7B7927

Finally, if you are connecting to a hosted license server, specify the UUID of the server rather than its hostname. Hosted license servers are run by our licensing vendor, WyDay, and do not require you to run anything in your own network. Read more about setting up a hosted license server and getting a UUID here:

Creating a LicenseChest Server

9.5.8 Configuring License Leases

When using floating licenses, you can optionally determine how long the license leases last by setting the lease length value on the licensing server. This value is in seconds, so for instance to make license leases last 30 minutes you would use the following syntax:


<lease length="1800"/>

The lease length controls how frequently the RStudio Workbench instances need to contact the licensing server to renew their license leases in order for the lease to remain valid.

A shorter lease length will increase tolerance to failures on RStudio Workbench instances by making leases available for reuse more quickly. RStudio Workbench will release its lease immediately if shut down normally, but if abnormally terminated, the lease will not be released until it expires.

A longer lease length will increase tolerance to transient failures on the network and the RStudio Workbench License Server. Any such issues that can be resolved before the lease is due for renewal won’t interrupt use of RStudio Workbench.

We generally recommend using a longer lease length. Use a short lease length only if your environment routinely encounters abnormal terminations of the server or the container/instance on which it runs.

9.5.9 License Server Downtime Tolerance

RStudio Workbench does not wait until its lease has fully expired before it renews it. It renews its lease when it is halfway to expiry. For instance, if you use 30 minute leases, RStudio Workbench will actually renew its lease every 15 minutes.

This means that it is possible to take down the license server for a short period of time without affecting any running RStudio Workbench instances. Because of the aforementioned behavior, no existing lease will be more than halfway to expiry if the server goes down.You have a grace period of N/2 (where N is the length of the lease) during which the server can be offline without consequences. For instance, if you use 30 minute leases, your license server can be offline for 15 minutes.

9.5.10 Lease Expiration and Renewal

Under normal conditions RStudio Workbench will automatically renew its license lease in a configurable interval as described above. However, there are situations in which it will be unable to do so, such as a network problem, or an issue on the host running the license server.

When RStudio Workbench cannot obtain a license lease, either because there are no leases currently available or because it can’t reach the licensing server, it will begin automatically attempting to acquire a lease every 10 seconds. This interval is configurable; for instance, to retry every 30 seconds instead you would set the following value:



If you don’t want RStudio Workbench to attempt to reestablish a license lease automatically, set the value to 0 to disable retries. In this case you will need to manually restart RStudio Workbench in order to reestablish the lease. This can be useful if you often run more instances than you have keys for, and wish to have more control over which RStudio Workbench instances receive license leases from the limited pool on the license server.

9.5.11 Troubleshooting Floating Licensing

To validate that the license server has been successfully activated, run the activation-status command. This will report the version of the server as well as the license key and the number of available slots.

$ sudo rsp-license-server activation-status

If your server is activated but you’re still having trouble with floating licensing, you can tell the RStudio Workbench License Server to emit more detailed logs. Change the log level to notification:


<log file="/var/log/rstudio-licensing.log" level="notification"/>

Then, restart the license server, tail the licensing log, and start your RStudio Workbench instances.

$ sudo rsp-license-server restart
$ tail -f /var/log/rstudio-licensing.log

At the notification level, the licensing log will tell you the total number of licenses associated with your key, and how many are currently in use. It will also notify you when RStudio Workbench instances acquire leases, and when those leases are released, renewed, or expired. No rotation is done for this log, so it’s recommended to use the warning level in production.

9.6 Userspace Licensing

In a standard installation of RStudio Workbench, licensing configuration operations require elevated access (e.g. via sudo). This is appropriate given the product will normally be installed and activated by an administrator on behalf of multiple user accounts.

Alternatively, the licensing system may be switched to a “userspace” model where the licensing commands are available to a non-elevated user account. This is a system-wide setting; it is not possible to mix both models on a single system.

9.6.1 Switching to Userspace Licensing

Before switching, stop the server, and deactivate any existing license-key or license-server.

$ sudo rstudio-server stop
$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager deactivate
$ sudo rstudio-server license-manager clear-license-server

Next, disable the standard system-level licensing mode by deleting the “verify” file.

$ sudo rm /var/lib/rstudio-server/verify

Initialize the license system in userspace mode. Note this command must not be run elevated, but as the RStudio server account (normally rstudio-server) as described in Server Account.

$ rstudio-server license-manager initialize --userspace

Confirm that the mode was successfully changed.

$ rstudio-server license-manager verify
Trial-Type: Verified
Status: Evaluation
Days-Left: 5
License-Scope: User

The line License-Scope: User indicates successful switch to userspace licensing (versus the default setting of System).

At this point, the user may perform licensing commands without using “sudo”, such as activating a license-key or configuring a license-server.