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How do I run a CTF?

"Is it really a CTF if you don't solve the infrastructure problem in the 24 hours before the competition?"

Before you start

Consider a few of the following before starting a CTF.

  • How many people will play in my CTF?
  • What type of challenges do I want to write?
  • How do you want to host your challenges?
  • What is my budget?

Open Source Frameworks


CTFd makes it easy to spin up an instance able to support a CTF at any time. Starting a local server is as easy as:

docker run -p 8000:8000 -it ctfd/ctfd # (1)
  1. For more information on Docker, read the docs!


kCTF is a framework written by Google built on Kubernetes. It has built in load balancing at the platform level.


Written by the redPWN CTF team, rCTF has a separate CI/CD module for supporting challenge deployment as well.

curl | sh

CTFd Enterprise

  • Three-tiered pricing service with hosting services and on-call support.
  • Supports professional workshops generally reserved for industry security teams exercises.

Hack the Box CTF