Versioned documentation

Read the Docs supports multiple versions of your repository. On initial import, we will create a latest version. This will point at the default branch defined in your VCS control (by default, main on Git and default in Mercurial).

If your project has any tags or branches with a name following semantic versioning, we also create a stable version, tracking your most recent release. If you want a custom stable version, create either a tag or branch in your project with that name.

When you have Continuous Documentation Deployment configured for your repository, we will automatically build each version when you push a commit.

How we envision versions working

In the normal case, the latest version will always point to the most up to date development code. If you develop on a branch that is different than the default for your VCS, you should set the Default Branch to that branch.

You should push a tag for each version of your project. These tags should be numbered in a way that is consistent with semantic versioning. This will map to your stable branch by default.


We in fact are parsing your tag names against the rules given by PEP 440. This spec allows “normal” version numbers like 1.4.2 as well as pre-releases. An alpha version or a release candidate are examples of pre-releases and they look like this: 2.0a1.

We only consider non pre-releases for the stable version of your documentation.

If you have documentation changes on a long-lived branch, you can build those too. This will allow you to see how the new docs will be built in this branch of the code. Generally you won’t have more than 1 active branch over a long period of time. The main exception here would be release branches, which are branches that are maintained over time for a specific release number.

Version states

States define the visibility of a version across the site. You can change the states of a version from the Versions tab of your project.


  • Active

    • Docs for this version are visible

    • Builds can be triggered for this version

  • Inactive

    • Docs for this version aren’t visible

    • Builds can’t be triggered for this version

When you deactivate a version, its docs are removed.


  • Not hidden and Active

    • This version is listed on the flyout menu on the docs site

    • This version is shown in search results on the docs site

  • Hidden and Active

    • This version isn’t listed on the flyout menu on the docs site

    • This version isn’t shown in search results from another version on the docs site (like on search results from a superproject)

Hiding a version doesn’t make it private, any user with a link to its docs would be able to see it. This is useful when:

  • You no longer support a version, but you don’t want to remove its docs.

  • You have a work in progress version and don’t want to publish its docs just yet.


Active versions that are hidden will be listed as Disallow: /path/to/version/ in the default robots.txt file created by Read the Docs.

Privacy levels


Privacy levels are only supported on About Read the Docs for Business.


It means that everything is available to be seen by everyone.


Private versions are available only to people who have permissions to see them. They will not display on any list view, and will 404 when you link them to others. If you want to share your docs temporarily, see Private documentation sharing.

In addition, if you want other users to view the build page of your public versions, you’ll need to the set the privacy level of your project to public.

Logging out

When you log in to a documentation site, you will be logged in until close your browser. To log out, click on the Log out link in your documentation’s flyout menu. This is usually located in the bottom right or bottom left, depending on the theme design. This will log you out from the current domain, but not end any other session that you have active.


Tags and branches

Read the Docs supports two workflows for versioning: based on tags or branches. If you have at least one tag, tags will take preference over branches when selecting the stable version.

Version Control Support Matrix



















Version warning

This is a banner that appears on the top of every page of your docs that aren’t stable or latest. This banner has a text with a link redirecting the users to the latest version of your docs.

This feature is disabled by default on new projects, you can enable it in the admin section of your docs (Admin > Advanced Settings).


The banner will be injected in an HTML element with the main role or in the main tag. For example:

<div role="main">
  <!-- The banner would be injected here -->
  <!-- The banner would be injected here -->

Redirects on root URLs

When a user hits the root URL for your documentation, for example, they will be redirected to the Default version. This defaults to latest, but could also point to your latest released version.