Since my last video/article about Home Assistant Community Store (HACS) a lot has changed so I decided to make an up-to-date version and to show you how to install, configure and use HACS these days.

How to install & use Home Assistant Community Store (HACS) | TUTORIAL

What is Home Assistant Community Store (HACS)?

Home Assistant Community Store or HACS for short is a manager for installing and easily update custom elements for Home Assistant.

HACS logo

If you like custom things, if you like custom themes and possibility to quickly find, install, update or remove these custom stuff without hurting your Home Assistant installation – HACS is just for you.

There is a catch here, if you are trying really hard you can eventually break your Home Assistant, so do backups, use test environments and you will be fine.

What are HACS requirements?

The requirements to complete this tutorial are:

  1. Working Home Assistant (you can check this tutorial of mine if you still don’t have one 👉 LINK)
  2. GitHub account which is free,
  3. Around 10minutes of your time,
  4. Smashed subscribed button from my newsletter 🤪 where you will receive articles like this on a weekly basis.

Now let’s continue.

Initial Install of Home Assistant Community Store (HACS) on Home Assistant OS or Supervised

I will show you instructions about how to install Home Assistant Community Store if you are using Home Assistant OS or Home Assistant Supervised versions. These are the two of the supported installation methods of Home Assistant where you have Supervisor menu and Add-On store inside.

  • Click on your Home Assistant username (in the lower left corner) and enable Advanced Mode if it is disabled. Otherwise you won’t see the SSH add-ons needed in the next steps.
  • Go to Supervisor > Add-On store > type ssh > select the Terminal & SSH under the Official add-ons section > hit Install.
  • When the installation of the add-on is finished, click Start and then on the OPEN WEB UI button to access the ssh console.
  • Paste the following commands inside and hit Enter. This is the HACS install script.
wget -q -O - https://install.hacs.xyz | bash -
Successful installation of HACS in Home Assistant OS or Supervised using the SSH console.
Successful installation of Home Assistant Community Store (HACS) in Home Assistant OS or Supervised using the SSH console.

When you are ready with everything go to the Add HACS in Home Assistant Integrations section as the next one is all about Home Assistant Container version.

Initial install of Home Assistant Community Store (HACS) on Home Assistant Container 

In this section we will quickly go through HACS installation on Home Assistant Container version, which is actually Home Assistant running in Docker. If you have such installation read ahead, otherwise go to the next section as advised above.

With Home Assistant Container version you have two options:

Option 1:

  • Run the installer script from the Host machine
    1. Change directory to your Home Assistant configuration directory
    2. Run the HACS install script
wget -q -O - https://install.hacs.xyz | bash -

Option 2:

  • Run the installer inside the container.
    1. Go inside the container with docker exec -it homeassistant bash
    2. Run the HACS install script
wget -q -O - https://install.hacs.xyz | bash -

Add Home Assistant Community Store (HACS) in Home Assistant Integrations

No matter the Home Assistant installation method – we have the HACS files in the right place, but that is still not enough. We have to go through the HACS initial configuration.

Here is how.

  1. First, restart your Home Assistant by going to Configuration > Server Controls > Restart.
  2. After Home Assistant has started, hit refresh button on your browser (or even you can clear your cache).
  3. Go to Configuration > Integrations > Add Integration > search for hacs > click on the result and after a while you will see a dialog where you have to select every checkbox (4 of them) and to click Submit button.
  4. On the next dialog, you will have a link to GitHub and a code. Copy the code and click on the link. Log in with your GitHub account and paste the code, then hit the continue > authorize hacs buttons.
Step-by-step Home Assistant Community Store (HACS) initial configuration in Home Assistant
Step-by-step Home Assistant Community Store (HACS) initial configuration in Home Assistant

Enable AppDaemon & NetDaemon apps in HACS

You can further enable AppDaemon and NetDaemon apps discovery & tracking. In simple words these are more option to customize your Home Assistant. To enable them just go to HACS options and check the boxes next to AppDaemon and NetDaemon apps, then click submit.

Enable AppDaemon and NetDaemon apps in HACS
Enable AppDaemon and NetDaemon apps in HACS

Installing Home Assistant Themes using HACS

Time to have some fun! Let’s enable Themes in Home Assistant Community Store. We will try to search and install some.

  • To enable themes I have to edit my configuration.yaml file a bit. I will use the File editor add-on for that, but you can use anything you like. Just paste the following lines inside that file:
frontend:
  themes: !include_dir_merge_named themes

TIP: Make sure that you don’t have frontend: section in your configuration.yaml file already.

  • Save the changes and restart your Home Assistant (Configuration > Server Controls > Restart).
  • Go to HACS section (in the left sidebar of Home Assistant) > Frontend > Explore & Add Repositories
  • Search for a theme that you like, for example the iOS Dark Mode Theme (the most rated one at the time of writing this article) and click on it > click on Install this repository in HACS button (lower right corner) > install
  • For the iOS Dark Mode Theme add the following line to your lovelace-ui.yaml or use the RAW editor (Overview > three dots menu in the upper right corner > Edit Dashboard > three dots menu in the upper right corner > Raw configuration editor):
background: var(--background-image)

TIP: For other themes the previous step may not be needed. Check their documentation!

  • Finally, go to your Home Assistant username (lower left corner), under Theme dropdown menu select your new theme.

Install Custom Integrations & Components using HACS

One of the most commonly used features that Home Assistant Community Store allows is easy installation of custom integrations and components. Here is how to do this.

  • Go to HACS section again (in the left sidebar of Home Assistant) > Integrations > Explore & Add Repositories.

From this menu you can search & install a lot of custom integrations and if a custom integration is not listed there, you can add it though the three dots menu (upper right corner) > Custom repositories. Where you can paste the custom repo URL and to choose a category.

Summary

Home Assistant Community Store can be very useful, but you have to use it with caution as everything inside HACS is custom and it is not tested by the Home Assistant core team.

That doesn’t mean it is not tested at all, there are some HACS custom integrations that have very vivid communities and thanks to the open source possibilities a lot of eyes are looking at their code.

Anyways, If you face any issues you can always disable or even remove Home Assistant Community Store from your Home Assistant and live without it, but I must admit that it is more fun to have it around. Give it a chance and decide by yourself.

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See you next Wednesday!