Build Environment Overview

What This Guide Covers

This guide provides an overview on the different environments in which Travis CI can run your builds, and why you might want to pick one over another.

Virtualization environments

Each build runs in one of the following virtual environments.


A sudo enabled, full virtual machine per build, that runs Linux, either Ubuntu Precise 12.04 or Ubuntu Trusty 14.04.


A fast boot time environment in which sudo commands are not available. Running Linux Ubuntu Trusty 14.04


An OS X environment for Objective-C and other OS X specific projects

Virtualisation Environment vs Operating System

The following table summarizes the differences across virtual environments and operating systems:

  Ubuntu Precise Ubuntu Trusty Ubuntu Trusty OS X
Name Sudo-enabled Container-based Sudo-enabled OS X
Status Current Default as of August 2017 Current Current
Infrastructure Virtual machine on GCE Container on EC2 Virtual machine on GCE Virtual machine
.travis.yml sudo: required
dist: precise
sudo: false
dist: trusty
sudo: required
dist: trusty
os: osx
Allows sudo Yes No Yes Yes
Approx boot time 20-50s 1-6s 20-50s 60-90s
File system EXT4 AUFS EXT4 HFS+
Operating system Ubuntu 12.04 Ubuntu 14.04 Ubuntu 14.04 OS X
Memory 7.5 GB 4 GB max 7.5 GB 4 GB
Cores ~2, bursted 2 ~2, bursted 2
IPv4 network IPv4 is available IPv4 is available IPv4 is available IPv4 is available
IPv6 network IPv6 is not available IPv6 is available on loopback IPv6 is not available IPv6 is not available
Available disk space approx 22GB approx 9GB approx 18GB approx 41GB

Note that available disk space is approximate and depends on the base image and language selection of your project. The best way to find out what is available on your specific image is to run df -h as part of your build script.

What infrastructure is my environment running on?

Usually, knowing the virtualization environment characteristics from the table above is sufficient.

But, if you do need more detail, you have one of these two questions:

For a finished build

To see what infrastructure a finished build ran on, look at the hostname at the top of the build log:

Infrastructure shown in hostname

if it contains:

  • ec2, as in the previous example → the build ran in a container-based environment on Amazon EC2.
  • gce → the build ran in a sudo-enabled environment on Google Compute Engine.
  • wjb → the build ran on macOS

For a particular .travis.yml configuration

Many different parts of your .travis.yml affect what infrastructure your build runs on. The following list describes some of the main settings that determine build routing:

  • Any of the following settings related to sudo or docker route your build to a sudo-enabled linux (Ubuntu Trusty) environment on Google Cloud Engine.

    • services: docker
    • sudo: required or sudo: true
    • any other sudo command in your build script
    • any other docker command in your build script
  • Using os: osx, setting a version of Xcode using osx_image:, or using a macOS specific language such as language: objective-c routes your build to macOS infrastructure.

  • If none of the previous keys are present in your .travis.yml, the default is a container-based linux (Ubunty Trusty) environment on Amazon EC2.

Deprecated Virtualization Environments

Historically, Travis CI has provided the following virtualization environments.