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Private Relay

Private Relay provides generated email addresses to use in place of personal email addresses.

Recipients will still receive emails, but Private Relay keeps their personal email address from being harvested, and then bought, sold, traded, or combined with other data to personally identify, track, and/or target them.


Please refer to our coding standards for code styles, naming conventions and other methodologies.


  • python 3.10 (we recommend virtualenv)
  • PostgreSQL - even if you are using sqlite for development, requirements.txt installs psycopg2 which requires libpq and Python header files. The following should work:
    • On Windows
    • On Ubuntu: sudo apt install postgresql libpq-dev python3-dev
    • On OSX: brew install postgresql libpq
    • On Fedora: sudo dnf install libpq-devel python3-devel
  • SES if you want to send real emails
  • Volta – Sets up the right versions of Node and npm, needed to compile the front-end

Install and Run the Site Locally

  1. Clone and change to the directory:

    git clone --recurse-submodules
    cd fx-private-relay
  2. Create and activate a virtual environment:

    Unix based systems:

    virtualenv env
    source env/bin/activate


    python -m venv env
    source env/Scripts/activate
  3. Install Python and Node requirements:

    pip install -r requirements.txt
    cd frontend
    npm install
    cd ../

    Note: If you're running on Windows, you may run into an issue with usage of environment variables in npm scripts. You can force npm to use git-bash: npm config set script-shell "C:\\Program Files\\Git\\bin\\bash.exe". This the default location, your install may be different.

  4. Copy .env file for decouple config:

    cp .env-dist .env
  5. Add a SECRET_KEY value to .env:

  6. Migrate DB:

    python migrate
  7. Create superuser:

    python createsuperuser
  8. Run the backend:

    python runserver

    and in a different terminal, build the frontend:

    cd frontend
    npm run watch

Working with translations

The following docs will get you started with development, include creating new strings to translate. See Translation and Localization for general information on Relay localization.

Getting the latest translations

We use a git submodule for translated message files. The --recurse-submodules step of installation should bring the message files into your working directory already, but you may want also want to update the translations after install. The easiest way to do that is:

  • git submodule update --remote

To update the submodule automatically when running git pull or other commands:

  • git config --global submodule.recurse true

Add/update messages for translation

The privaterelay/locales directory is a git repository like any other, so to make changes to the messages:

  1. Make whatever changes you need in privaterelay/locales/en as you work.

  2. cd privaterelay/locales/en

  3. git branch message-updates-yyyymmdd

  4. git push -u origin message-updates-yyyymmdd

You can then open a pull request from the message-updates-yyyymmdd branch to the l10n repo main branch.

If you're not yet ready to submit some strings for translation, you can tentatively add them to frontend/pendingTranslations.ftl. Strings in that file will show up until strings with the same ID are added to the l10n repository.

Commit translations for release

To commit updates to the app's translations (e.g., before a release), we need to commit this submodule update. So, if the updated translations are ready to be committed into the app, you can git add the submodule just like any other file:

  • git add privaterelay/locales

You can then commit and push to set the app repository to the updated version of the translations submodule:

  • git push

An automated process updates the submodule daily, bringing in any new changes and translations from the Localization Team.

Recommended: Enable Firefox Accounts authentication

To enable Firefox Accounts authentication on your local server, you can use the "Firefox Private Relay local dev" OAuth app on

To do so:

  1. Set ADMIN_ENABLED=True in your .env file

  2. Shutdown the server if running, and add the admin tables with:

    python migrate
  3. Run the server, now with /admin endpoints:

    python runserver
  4. Go to the django admin page to change the default site.

  5. Change to and click Save.

  6. Go to the django-allauth social app admin page, sign in with the superuser account you created above, and add a social app for Firefox Accounts:

Field Value
Provider Firefox Accounts
Client id 9ebfe2c2f9ea3c58
Secret key Request this from #fx-private-relay-eng Slack channel
Sites -> Chosen sites

Now you can sign into with an FxA.

⚠️ Remember that you'll need to use an account on, not the production site,

Optional: Install and run the add-on locally

Note: The add-on is located in a separate repo. See it for additional information on getting started.

The add-on adds Firefox UI to generate and auto-fill email addresses across the web. Running the add-on locally allows it to communicate with your local server ( instead of the production server (

Optional: Run a development server to compile the frontend

npm run watch watches the frontend/src directory and builds the frontend when it detects changes. However, creating a production build is just time-consuming enough to interrupt your development flow. It is therefore also possible to run the front-end on a separate server that only recompiles changed modules, and does not apply production optimizations. To do so, instead of npm run watch, run npm run dev.

The frontend is now available at http://localhost:3000. Keep in mind that this does make your local development environment less similar to production; in particular, authentication is normally bound to the backend server, and thus needs to be simulated when running the frontend on a separate server. If you make any changes related to authentication, make sure to test them using npm run watch as well.

Optional: Enable Premium Features

Note: Premium features are automatically enabled for any user with an email address ending in,, or (see PREMIUM_DOMAINS in emails/ To mimic the customer's experience, it is recommended to follow the below procedure.

To enable the premium Relay features, we integrate with the FXA Subscription Platform. At a high level, to set up Relay premium subscription, we:

  1. Enable Firefox Accounts Authentication as described above.

  2. Create a product & price in our Stripe dashboard. (Ask in #subscription-platform Slack channel to get access to our Stripe dashboard.)

  3. Link free users of Relay to the appropriate SubPlat purchase flow.

  4. Check users' FXA profile json for a subscriptions field to see if they can access a premium, subscription-only feature.

In detail:

  1. Enable Firefox Accounts Authentication as described above.

  2. Go to our Stripe dashboard. (Ask in #subscription-platform Slack channel to get access to our Stripe dashboard.)

  3. Create a new product in Stripe.

  4. Add all required product: metadata.

    • Note: each piece of this metadata must have a product: prefix. So, for example, webIconURL must be entered as product:webIconURL.
  5. Add capabilities: metadata.

    • Note: Each piece of this metadata must have a format like capabilities:<fxa oauth client ID>, and the value is a free-form string to describe the "capability" that purchasing the subscription gives to the user. E.g., capabilities:9ebfe2c2f9ea3c58 with value of premium-relay.
  6. Set some env vars with values from the above steps:

Var Value
PERIODICAL_PREMIUM_PROD_ID prod_KEq0LXqs7vysQT (from Stripe)
PREMIUM_PLAN_ID_US_MONTHLY price_1LiMjeKb9q6OnNsLzwixHuRz (from Stripe)
PREMIUM_PLAN_ID_US_YEARLY price_1LiMlBKb9q6OnNsL7tvrtI7y (from Stripe)
PHONE_PROD_ID prod_LviM2I0paxH1DZ (from Stripe)
PHONE_PLAN_ID_US_MONTHLY price_1LDqw3Kb9q6OnNsL6XIDst28 (from Stripe)
PHONE_PLAN_ID_US_YEARLY price_1Lhd35Kb9q6OnNsL9bAxjUGq (from Stripe)
BUNDLE_PROD_ID prod_MQ9Zf1cyI81XS2 (from Stripe)
BUNDLE_PLAN_ID_US price_1Lwp7uKb9q6OnNsLQYzpzUs5 (from Stripe)
SUBSCRIPTIONS_WITH_UNLIMITED "premium-relay" (match the capabilities value you used in Stripe)
SUBSCRIPTIONS_WITH_PHONE "relay-phones" (match the capabilities value you used in Stripe)

Optional: Debugging JavaScript bundle sizes

In frontend/, set ANALYZE=true when running npm run build to generate a report detailing which modules are taking up most of the bundle size. A report will be generated for both the client and server part of the frontend, but since we only use the client, we're really only interested in that. The reports will automatically open in your browser, and can also be found in /frontend/.next/analyze/.

ANALYZE=true npm run build

Test Premium

There is a comprehensive doc of test cases for purchasing premium Relay.

You can use Stripe's test credit card details for payment.

Production Environments


In addition to the requirements for dev, production environments should use:

Environment Variables

Production environments should also set some additional environment variables: