This page includes a number of terms that we use in our documentation, so that you have a reference for how we’re using them.


CI/CD is a common way to write Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment. In some scenarios, they exist as two separate platforms. Read the Docs is a combined CI/CD platform made for documentation.


The “admin” site where Read the Docs projects are managed and configured. This varies for our two properties:

default version

Projects have a default version, usually the latest stable version of a project. The default version is the URL that is redirected to when a users loads the / URL for your project.


A documentation page is said to be discoverable when a user that needs it can find it through various methods: Navigation, search, and links from other pages are the most typical ways of making content discoverable.

Docs as Code

A term used to describe the workflow of keeping documentation in a Git repository, along with source code. Popular in the open source software movement, and used by many technology companies.

flyout menu

Menu displayed on the documentation, readily accessible for readers, containing the list active versions, links to static downloads, and other useful links. Read more in our Flyout menu page.


Denotes the use of code maintained in Git to automate building, testing, and deployment of infrastructure. In terms of documentation, GitOps is applicable for Read the Docs, as the configuration for building documentation is stored in .readthedocs.yaml, and rules for publication of documentation can be automated. Similar to Docs as Code.


A maintainer is a special role that only exists on Read the Docs Community. The creator of a project on Read the Docs Community can invite other collaborators as maintainers with full ownership rights.

The maintainer role does not exist on Read the Docs for Business, which instead provides Organizations.

Please see Git provider integrations for more information.


To pin a requirement means to explicitly specify which version should be used. Pinning software requirements is the most important technique to make a project reproducible.

When documentation builds, software dependencies are installed in their latest versions permitted by the pinning specification. Since software packages are frequently released, we are usually trying to avoid incompatibilities in a new release from suddenly breaking a documentation build.

Examples of Python dependencies:

# Exact pinning: Only allow Sphinx 5.3.0

# Loose pinning: Lower and upper bounds result in the latest 5.3.x release

# Very loose pinning: Lower and upper bounds result in the latest 5.x release

Read the Docs recommends using exact pinning.

See: How to create reproducible builds.

pre-defined build jobs

Commands executed by Read the Docs when performing the build process. They cannot be overwritten by the user.

project home

Page where you can access all the features of Read the Docs, from having an overview to browsing the latest builds or administering your project.

project page

Another name for project home.


A documentation project is said to be reproducible when its sources build correctly on Read the Docs over a periode of many years. You can also think of being reproducible as being robust or resillient.

Being “reproducible” is an important positive quality goal of documentation.

When builds are not reproducible and break due to external factors, they need frequent troubleshooting and manual fixing.

The most common external factor is that new versions of software dependencies are released.

See: How to create reproducible builds.

root URL

Home URL of your documentation without the /<lang> and /<version> segments. For projects without custom domains, the one ending in (for example, as opposed to


A unique identifier for a project or version. This value comes from the project or version name, which is reduced to lowercase letters, numbers, and hyphens. You can retrieve your project or version slugs from our API.

static website

A static site or static website is a collection of HTML files, images, CSS and JavaScript that are served statically, as opposed to dynamic websites that generate a unique response for each request, using databases and user sessions.

Static websites are highly portable, as they do not depend on the webserver. They can also be viewed offline.

Documentation projects served on Read the Docs are static websites.

Tools to manage and generate static websites are commonly known as static site generators and there is a big overlap with documentation tools. Some static site generators are also documentation tools, and some documentation tools are also used to generate normal websites.

For instance, Sphinx is made for documentation but also used for blogging.


Project A can be configured such that when requesting a URL /projects/<subproject-slug>, the root of project B is returned. In this case, project B is the subproject. Read more in Subprojects.

user-defined build jobs

Commands defined by the user that Read the Docs will execute when performing the build process.


A webhook is a special URL that can be called from another service, usually with a secret token. It is commonly used to start a build or a deployment or to send a status update.

There are two important types of webhooks for Read the Docs:

  • Git providers have webhooks which are special URLs that Read the Docs can call in order to notify about documentation builds.

  • Read the Docs has a unique webhook for each project that the Git provider calls when changes happen in Git.

See also: How to manually configure a Git repository integration and Build failure notifications