There are three widely used ways to install the Haskell toolchain on supported platforms. These are:

  • Minimal installers: Just GHC (the compiler), and build tools (primarily Cabal and Stack) are installed globally on your system, using your system's package manager.

  • Stack: Installs the stack command globally: a project-centric build tool to automatically download and manage Haskell dependencies on a project-by-project basis.

  • Haskell Platform: Installs GHC, Cabal, and some other tools, along with a starter set of libraries in a global location on your system.

These options make different choices as to what is installed globally on your system and what is maintained in project-specific environments. Global installations allow more sharing across users and projects, but at the cost of potential conflicts between projects. To avoid these conflicts, each option has a lightweight sandboxing feature that creates largely self-contained, per-project environments. With Minimal you can optionally sandbox the libraries, avoiding most conflicts. Stack sandboxes the compiler, tools and libraries, so avoids nearly all kinds of conflicts between projects. With Platform you can also optionally sandbox libraries, but not the globally installed platform libraries.

Haskell IDEs & other distributions

In addition to the generic, cross-platform Haskell toolchain described above, there are also easy-to-use, platform-specific distributions and IDEs. The Haskell Wiki contains a list of the most popular ones.

Minimal installers

What they are

Minimal installers provide centrally the GHC compiler and the Cabal and Stack tools for installing packages. Some may install further build tools (i.e. for parsing and lexing) as well.

What you get

  • Only the core libraries necessary for each platform are included.
  • Cabal or Stack must be used to download and install packages after installation.

How to get them

Where to get help

  • For help learning Haskell itself, start with the Documentation page on the Haskell Wiki.
  • If you need help with GHC---the Haskell compiler---there is a comprehensive GHC User Manual.
  • For help using Cabal to download or create additional packages (see below), there is the Cabal User Guide.
  • For help using Stack to download or create packages, see the stack documentation below.
  • Finally, you can ask questions of other Haskell users and experts on the #haskell IRC channel on the Freenode IRC network.


What it is

Stack is a cross-platform build tool for Haskell that handles management of the toolchain (including the GHC compiler and MSYS2 on Windows), building and registering libraries, and more.

What you get

  • Once downloaded, it has the capacity to download and install GHC and other core tools.
  • Project development is isolated within sandboxes, including automatic download of the right version of GHC for a given project.
  • It manages all Haskell-related dependencies, ensuring reproducible builds.
  • It fetches from a curated repository of over a thousand packages by default, known to be mutually compatible.
  • It can optionally use Docker to produce standalone deployments.

How to get it

The install and upgrade page describes how to download Stack on various platforms, although the main three are repeated here:

Instructions for other Linux distributions, including Debian, Fedora, Red Hat, Nix OS, and Arch Linux, are also available.

Where to get help

For help with Haskell and GHC in general, see the links mentioned above. For Stack itself there are also the following resources:

Haskell Platform

What it is

The Haskell Platform is a self-contained, all-in-one installer. After download, you will have everything necessary to build Haskell programs against a core set of useful libraries. It comes in both minimal versions with tools but no libraries outside of GHC core, or full versions, which include a broader set of globally installed libraries.

What you get

How to get it

The Platform is provided as a single installer, and can be downloaded at the links below.

Where to get help

  • You can find a comprehensive list of what the Platform offers.
  • See the general help mentioned above, which covers the usage of GHC, as well as the Cabal and Stack tools.

Additional Libraries

In Haskell, packages are configured and built with the Cabal package system built into GHC (and other compilers). For more specific details, see The Cabal User Guide. The command line tools to download and install packages are either cabal or stack, each having different workflows. For details on their usage, see the documentation above.


Hackage is a repository of packages to which anyone can freely upload at any time. The packages are available immediately and documentation will be generated and hosted there. It can be used by cabal install.

You can install a package using cabal by running:

$ cabal update
$ cabal install the-package

Note that if you are not in a sandbox, this will install the package globally, which is often not what you want, so it is recommended to set up sandboxes in your project directory by running cabal sandbox init.

Go to Hackage →

LTS Haskell

LTS Haskell is a stackage-based long-term support set of packages which build and pass tests together, with backported bug fixes.

Get LTS Haskell →

Stackage Nightly

Stackage is a nightly generated stable repository of snapshots of package sets in which only packages which build and pass tests together are bundled together into a snapshot.

Get Stackage Nightly →

From source control repositories

Installing from a source repository is also possible. For example, to clone and install the network package from source, you would run:

$ git clone
$ cabal install network/


$ git clone
$ cd network
$ cabal install