Source Replacement

This document is about replacing the crate index. You can read about overriding dependencies in the overriding dependencies section of this documentation.

A source is a provider that contains crates that may be included as dependencies for a package. Cargo supports the ability to replace one source with another to express strategies such as:

  • Vendoring - custom sources can be defined which represent crates on the local filesystem. These sources are subsets of the source that they're replacing and can be checked into packages if necessary.

  • Mirroring - sources can be replaced with an equivalent version which acts as a cache for itself.

Cargo has a core assumption about source replacement that the source code is exactly the same from both sources. Note that this also means that a replacement source is not allowed to have crates which are not present in the original source.

As a consequence, source replacement is not appropriate for situations such as patching a dependency or a private registry. Cargo supports patching dependencies through the usage of the [replace] key, and private registry support is described in Registries.


Configuration of replacement sources is done through .cargo/config and the full set of available keys are:

# The `source` table is where all keys related to source-replacement
# are stored.

# Under the `source` table are a number of other tables whose keys are a
# name for the relevant source. For example this section defines a new
# source, called `my-vendor-source`, which comes from a directory
# located at `vendor` relative to the directory containing this `.cargo/config`
# file
directory = "vendor"

# The default source for crates is available under the name
# "crates-io", and here we use the `replace-with` key to indicate that it's
# replaced with our source above.
replace-with = "my-vendor-source"

# Each source has its own table where the key is the name of the source

# Indicate that `the-source-name` will be replaced with `another-source`,
# defined elsewhere
replace-with = "another-source"

# Several kinds of sources can be specified (described in more detail below):
registry = ""
local-registry = "path/to/registry"
directory = "path/to/vendor"

# Git sources can optionally specify a branch/tag/rev as well
git = ""
# branch = "master"
# tag = "v1.0.1"
# rev = "313f44e8"

Registry Sources

A "registry source" is one that is the same as itself. That is, it has an index served in a git repository which matches the format of the index. That repository then has configuration indicating where to download crates from.

Currently there is not an already-available project for setting up a mirror of Stay tuned though!

Local Registry Sources

A "local registry source" is intended to be a subset of another registry source, but available on the local filesystem (aka vendoring). Local registries are downloaded ahead of time, typically sync'd with a Cargo.lock, and are made up of a set of *.crate files and an index like the normal registry is.

The primary way to manage and create local registry sources is through the cargo-local-registry subcommand, available on and can be installed with cargo install cargo-local-registry.

Local registries are contained within one directory and contain a number of *.crate files downloaded from as well as an index directory with the same format as the project (populated with just entries for the crates that are present).

Directory Sources

A "directory source" is similar to a local registry source where it contains a number of crates available on the local filesystem, suitable for vendoring dependencies. Also like local registries, directory sources can primarily be managed by an external subcommand, cargo-vendor, available on and can be installed with cargo install cargo-vendor.

Directory sources are distinct from local registries though in that they contain the unpacked version of *.crate files, making it more suitable in some situations to check everything into source control. A directory source is just a directory containing a number of other directories which contain the source code for crates (the unpacked version of *.crate files). Currently no restriction is placed on the name of each directory.

Each crate in a directory source also has an associated metadata file indicating the checksum of each file in the crate to protect against accidental modifications.