Downloading R and RStudio (2024)

Downloading R and RStudio

If you plan to use R, you will need to download R and install it on your computer. It is also advised that you download and install RStudio. RStudio will make it easier to use R and manage your R scripts.

Two good things about R, are that it is free and it runs on most computers.

You can download R from:

Downloading R and RStudio (1)

Figure 1 - R Project Main Page

What is CRAN and why is that a good thing? When you try to download R from the R Project website, you will have to pick a CRAN site to get your download of R. CRAN stands for the “Comprehensive R Archive Network” (CRAN), which is a collection of sites carrying identical material, consisting of the R distribution(s), the contributed extensions, documentation for R, and binaries.

The CRAN master site is at WU (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien) in Austria and is mirrored daily to many other CRAN sites around the world. Please use the CRAN site closest to you to reduce network load.

From CRAN, you can obtain the latest official release of R, daily snapshots of R (copies of the current source trees), as gzipped and bzipped tar files, a wealth of additional contributed code, as well as pre-built binaries for various operating systems (Linux, Mac OS Classic, OS X, and MS Windows). CRAN also provides access to documentation on R, existing mailing lists and the R Bug Tracking system.

Downloading R You can download R from: Simply click on the CRAN link under Download in the list on the left side of the main R site. You can then pick from the list of worldwide CRAN sites for your download. There is a CRAN server at Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA. That would be a good option. Clicking on the link will take you to the actual download page.

Downloading R and RStudio (2)

Figure 2 - Main CRAN Web PSage

Downloading R and RStudio (3)

Figure 3 - Washington University Saint Louis CRAN Mirror

The simplest option is to download the pre-compiled binary distribution for your operating system. Links for those are at the top of the Downloads page.

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Figure 4 - R Downloads Page

Clicking the link on the downloads page will take you to the file repository. If you are trying to download R for OSX, the page will look like this.

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Figure 5 - R OSX Downloads Page

You can either select the most recent version of R [arrow A] or download the version with the latest date [arrow B]. Select the download and save it to your Downloads folder. That is it. You are ready to install R on your computer.

If you are trying to download R for Windows, the page will look like this.

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Figure 6 - R File Download Folders for Windows

You only need the base install of R. When you click the link for the base folder the next page will look like this:

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Figure 7 - R Download Files for Windows

Select the most recent version of R [arrow A]. This will be the version with the latest date of posting. If you have questions, you can read the version notes [arrow B]. Select the download and save it to your Downloads folder. That is it. You are ready to install R on your computer.

Downloading RStudio You can use R as it was installed on your computer but that involves entering commands from the Terminal prompt and editing R scripts in a separate text editor. RStudio is an easier option and it provides a useful set of tools that will make your work easier.

You can download RStudio from Click the Download RStudio button near the top of the page. You will want to download the Open Source Edition of RStudio Desktop. This is the free version of the application. Commercial entities must pay for an RStudio license. As a student, you do not.

Downloading R and RStudio (8)

Figure 8 - RStudio Main Page

Click the Download RStudio link at the bottom of the page [red arrow] and then click the installer for your operating system. Save the RStudio installer download to the Downloads folder on your computer. Be sure to select the RStudio Desktop Open Source License version. You are ready to install RStudio on your computer.

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Figure 9 - RStudio Downloads Page

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Figure 10 - RStudio Installers Page

Return to the R Learning Infrastructure Home Web Page

Downloading R and RStudio (2024)


Do you need to download both R and RStudio? ›

Even if you use RStudio, you'll still need to download R to your computer. RStudio helps you use the version of R that lives on your computer, but it doesn't come with a version of R on its own.

Can I use RStudio without installing R? ›

R and RStudio are not the same thing. We can run R without RStudio if we need to, but we cannot run RStudio without R. Remember that!

What should I install first R or RStudio? ›

We need to install two things onto your computer. The first is R, this is the programming language we will use. After that we need to install RStudio, this is a front end program that lets you write R code, view plots, and do many other useful things.

Can I use R without downloading? ›

By compiling R to WebAssembly a user can visit a website and run R code directly within the web browser, without R installed on their device or a supporting computational R server. All that is required is a normal web server, including the type of cloud hosting service provided by Github Pages or Netlify.

Why use RStudio instead of R? ›

RStudio is actually an add-on to R: it takes the R software and adds to it a very user-friendly graphical interface. Thus, when one uses RStudio, they are still using the full version of R while also getting the benefit of greater functionality and usability due to an improved user interface.

What is the difference between RStudio and RStudio desktop? ›

RStudio is a free, open source application. It is available in two formats: RStudio Desktop and RStudio Cloud. RStudio desktop is a regular desktop application that runs on Windows, MacOS or Linux. RStudio Cloud runs on a remote server and allows accessing RStudio through a web browser.

Is RStudio essential to run R code? ›

And RStudio is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that helps you develop programs in R. So if you want to learn more about them, you should start by learning R programming. You can use R without using RStudio, but you can't use RStudio without using R, so R comes first.

Do I need to install R packages every time? ›

We only need to install a package once on our computer. However, to use the package, we need to load the library every time we start a new R/RStudio environment. You can think of this as installing a bulb versus turning on the light.

Should I start with R or Python? ›

If this is your first foray into computer programming, you may find Python code easier to learn and more broadly applicable. However, if you already have some understanding of programming languages or have specific career goals centered on data analysis, R language may be more tailored to your needs.

Can I download R for free? ›

R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms, Windows and MacOS. To download R, please choose your preferred CRAN mirror.

What is the best software for R? ›

Here are the best IDEs for R programming:
  • RStudio.
  • Jupyter Notebook.
  • Visual Studio Code.
  • R Tools for Visual Studio.
  • Emacs & ESS.
  • Eclipse with StatET.
  • Sublime Text.
Jan 2, 2024

What is the advantage of installing R instead of using it on an online platform? ›

R is a platform-independent language or cross-platform programming language which means its code can run on all operating systems. R enables programmers to develop software for several competing platforms by writing a program only once. R can run quite easily on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Can I run R in a browser? ›

Running RStudio on a Browser

You can run R and RStudio online without having to install or configure the programs to your computer. The free version of Posit Cloud (formerly RStudio Cloud) gives you basic computing resources with up to 25 computing hours per month with a max RAM of 1GB and 1 CPU.

Do I need to install R tools? ›

Many people are able to use R, without ever having the need to compile from source and, therefore, the need to install Rtools. However, if you want to do package development, compile from source, or use packages like rstan or cmdstanr, you will definitely need to install Rtools.

Is RStudio different from R console? ›

R console: The command-line interface where R code is executed and results are displayed. RStudio interface: User-friendly and visually appealing interface with features like code highlighting, autocompletion, and interactive plots.


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