Customizing User Management

This section describes management of users and their permissions on JupyterHub.

Culling user pods

JupyterHub will automatically delete any user pods that have no activity for a period of time. This helps free up computational resources and keeps costs down if you are using an autoscaling cluster. When these users navigate back to your JupyterHub, they will have to start their server again, and the state of their previous session (variables they’ve created, any in-memory data, etc) will be lost. This is known as culling.


In JupyterHub, “inactivity” is defined as no response from the user’s browser. JupyterHub constantly pings the user’s JupyterHub browser session to check whether it is open. This means that leaving the computer running with the JupyterHub window open will not be treated as inactivity.

To disable culling, put the following into config.yaml:

  enabled: false

By default, JupyterHub will run the culling process every ten minutes and will cull any user pods that have been inactive for more than one hour. You can configure this behavior in your config.yaml file with the following fields:

  timeout: <max-idle-seconds-before-user-pod-is-deleted>
  every: <number-of-seconds-this-check-is-done>


While JupyterHub automatically runs the culling process, it is not a replacement for keeping an eye on your cluster to make sure resources are being used as expected.

Admin Users

JupyterHub has the concept of admin users who have special rights. They can start / stop other user’s servers, and optionally access user’s notebooks. They will see a new Admin button in their Control Panel which will take them to an Admin Panel where they can perform all these actions.

You can specify a list of admin users in your config.yaml:

      - adminuser1
      - adminuser2

By default, admins can access user’s notebooks. If you wish to disable this, use this in your config.yaml:

    access: false

Authenticating Users

For information on authenticating users in JupyterHub, see the Authentication guide.