Building from Source Code on Linux

This document provides instructions for building TensorRT-LLM from source code on Linux. Building from source code is necessary if you want the best performance or debugging capabilities, or if the GNU C++11 ABI is required.


Use Docker to build and run TensorRT-LLM. Instructions to install an environment to run Docker containers for the NVIDIA platform can be found here.

# TensorRT-LLM uses git-lfs, which needs to be installed in advance.
apt-get update && apt-get -y install git git-lfs
git lfs install

git clone
cd TensorRT-LLM
git submodule update --init --recursive
git lfs pull

Building a TensorRT-LLM Docker Image

There are two options to create a TensorRT-LLM Docker image. The approximate disk space required to build the image is 63 GB.

Option 1: Build TensorRT-LLM in One Step

TensorRT-LLM contains a simple command to create a Docker image.

make -C docker release_build

You can add the CUDA_ARCHS="<list of architectures in CMake format>" optional argument to specify which architectures should be supported by TensorRT-LLM. It restricts the supported GPU architectures but helps reduce compilation time:

# Restrict the compilation to Ada and Hopper architectures.
make -C docker release_build CUDA_ARCHS="89-real;90-real"

After the image is built, the Docker container can be run.

make -C docker release_run

The make command supports the LOCAL_USER=1 argument to switch to the local user account instead of root inside the container. The examples of TensorRT-LLM are installed in the /app/tensorrt_llm/examples directory.

Option 2: Build TensorRT-LLM Step-By-Step

If you are looking for more flexibility, TensorRT-LLM has commands to create and run a development container in which TensorRT-LLM can be built.

Create the Container

On systems with GNU make

  1. Create a Docker image for development. The image will be tagged locally with tensorrt_llm/devel:latest.

    make -C docker build
  2. Run the container.

    make -C docker run

    If you prefer to work with your own user account in that container, instead of root, add the LOCAL_USER=1 option.

    make -C docker run LOCAL_USER=1

On systems without GNU make

  1. Create a Docker image for development.

    docker build --pull  \
                --target devel \
                --file docker/Dockerfile.multi \
                --tag tensorrt_llm/devel:latest \
  2. Run the container.

    docker run --rm -it \
            --ipc=host --ulimit memlock=-1 --ulimit stack=67108864 --gpus=all \
            --volume ${PWD}:/code/tensorrt_llm \
            --workdir /code/tensorrt_llm \

    Note: please make sure to set --ipc=host as a docker run argument to avoid Bus error (core dumped).

Build TensorRT-LLM

Once in the container, build TensorRT-LLM from the source.

# To build the TensorRT-LLM code.
python3 ./scripts/ --trt_root /usr/local/tensorrt

# Deploy TensorRT-LLM in your environment.
pip install ./build/tensorrt_llm*.whl

By default, enables incremental builds. To clean the build directory, add the --clean option:

python3 ./scripts/ --clean  --trt_root /usr/local/tensorrt

It is possible to restrict the compilation of TensorRT-LLM to specific CUDA architectures. For that purpose, the script accepts a semicolon separated list of CUDA architecture as shown in the following example:

# Build TensorRT-LLM for Ampere.
python3 ./scripts/ --cuda_architectures "80-real;86-real" --trt_root /usr/local/tensorrt

Refer to the Refer to the Hardware section for a list of architectures.

Building the Python Bindings for the C++ Runtime

The C++ Runtime, in particular, GptSession can be exposed to Python via bindings. This feature can be turned on through the default build options.

python3 ./scripts/ --trt_root /usr/local/tensorrt

After installing, the resulting wheel as described above, the C++ Runtime bindings will be available in the tensorrt_llm.bindings package. Running help on this package in a Python interpreter will provide on overview of the relevant classes. The associated unit tests should also be consulted for understanding the API.

This feature will not be enabled when building only the C++ runtime.

Linking with the TensorRT-LLM C++ Runtime

The script will also compile the library containing the C++ runtime of TensorRT-LLM. If Python support and torch modules are not required, the script provides the option --cpp_only which restricts the build to the C++ runtime only.

python3 ./scripts/ --cuda_architectures "80-real;86-real" --cpp_only --clean

This is particularly useful to avoid linking problems which may be introduced by particular versions of torch related to the dual ABI support of GCC. The option --clean will remove the build directory before building. The default build directory is cpp/build, which may be overridden using the option --build_dir. Run --help for an overview of all supported options.

The shared library can be found in the following location:


In addition, link against the library containing the LLM plugins for TensorRT.


Supported C++ Header Files

When using TensorRT-LLM, you need to add the cpp and cpp/include directories to the project’s include paths. Only header files contained in cpp/include are part of the supported API and may be directly included. Other headers contained under cpp should not be included directly since they might change in future versions.