Packaging Python Project

Packaging Python Project

This tutorial walks you through how to package a simple Python project. It will show you how to add the necessary files and structure to create the python package, how to build the package, and how to upload it to the Python Package Index.

This tutorial walks you through how to package a simple Python project. It will show you how to add the necessary files and structure to create the python package, how to build the package, and how to upload it to the Python Package Index.

A simple Python project

This tutorial uses a simple python project named example_pkg. If you are unfamiliar with Python’s modules and import packages, take a few minutes to read over the Python documentation for packages and modules. Even if you already have a project that you want to package up, we recommend following this tutorial as-is using this example package and then trying with your own package.

To create this project locally, create the following file structure:


Once you create this structure, you’ll want to run all of the commands in this tutorial within the top-level folder - so be sure to cd packaging_tutorial.

You should also edit example_pkg/ and put the following code in there:

name = "example_pkg"

This is just so that you can verify that it installed correctly later in this tutorial and is not used by PyPI.

Creating the package files

You will now create a handful of files to package up this project and prepare it for distribution. Create the new files listed below - you will add content to them in the following steps.


Creating is the build script for setuptools. It tells setuptools about your package (such as the name and version) as well as which code files to include.

Open and enter the following content. Update the package name to include your username (for example, example-pkg-theacodes), this ensures that you have a unique package name and that your package doesn’t conflict with packages uploaded by other people following this tutorial.

import setuptools

with open("", "r") as fh:
    long_description =

    author="Example Author",
    author_email="[email protected]",
    description="A small example package",
        "Programming Language :: Python :: 3",
        "License :: OSI Approved :: MIT License",
        "Operating System :: OS Independent",

setup() takes several arguments. This example package uses a relatively minimal set:

  • name is the distribution name of your package. This can be any name as long as only contains letters, numbers, _ , and -. It also must not already taken on Be sure to update this with your username, as this ensures you won’t try to upload a package with the same name as one which already exists when you upload the package.
  • version is the package version see PEP 440 for more details on versions.
  • author and author_email are used to identify the author of the package.
  • description is a short, one-sentence summary of the package.
  • long_description is a detailed description of the package. This is shown on the package detail package on the Python Package Index. In this case, the long description is loaded from which is a common pattern.
  • long_description_content_type tells the index what type of markup is used for the long description. In this case, it’s Markdown.
  • url is the URL for the homepage of the project. For many projects, this will just be a link to GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, or similar code hosting service.
  • packages is a list of all Python import packages that should be included in the distribution package. Instead of listing each package manually, we can use find_packages() to automatically discover all packages and subpackages. In this case, the list of packages will be example_pkg as that’s the only package present.
  • classifiers gives the index and pip some additional metadata about your package. In this case, the package is only compatible with Python 3, is licensed under the MIT license, and is OS-independent. You should always include at least which version(s) of Python your package works on, which license your package is available under, and which operating systems your package will work on. For a complete list of classifiers, see

There are many more than the ones mentioned here. See Packaging and distributing projects for more details.


Open and enter the following content. You can customize this if you’d like.

# Example Package

This is a simple example package. You can use
[Github-flavored Markdown](
to write your content.

Creating a LICENSE

It’s important for every package uploaded to the Python Package Index to include a license. This tells users who install your package the terms under which they can use your package. For help picking a license, see Once you have chosen a license, open LICENSE and enter the license text. For example, if you had chosen the MIT license:

Copyright (c) 2018 The Python Packaging Authority

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy
of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal
in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights
to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell
copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is
furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all
copies or substantial portions of the Software.


Generating distribution archives

The next step is to generate distribution packages for the package. These are archives that are uploaded to the Package Index and can be installed by pip.

Make sure you have the latest versions of setuptools and wheel installed:

python3 -m pip install --user --upgrade setuptools wheel


IF you have trouble installing these, see the Installing Packages tutorial.

Now run this command from the same directory where is located:

python3 sdist bdist_wheel

This command should output a lot of text and once completed should generate two files in the dist directory:



If you run into trouble here, please copy the output and file an issue over on packaging problems and we’ll do our best to help you!

The tar.gz file is a source archive whereas the .whl file is a built distribution. Newer pip versions preferentially install built distributions, but will fall back to source archives if needed. You should always upload a source archive and provide built archives for the platforms your project is compatible with. In this case, our example package is compatible with Python on any platform so only one built distribution is needed.

Uploading the distribution archives

Finally, it’s time to upload your package to the Python Package Index!

The first thing you’ll need to do is register an account on Test PyPI. Test PyPI is a separate instance of the package index intended for testing and experimentation. It’s great for things like this tutorial where we don’t necessarily want to upload to the real index. To register an account, go to and complete the steps on that page. You will also need to verify your email address before you’re able to upload any packages. For more details on Test PyPI, see Using TestPyPI.

Now that you are registered, you can use twine to upload the distribution packages. You’ll need to install Twine:

python3 -m pip install --user --upgrade twine

Once installed, run Twine to upload all of the archives under dist:

python3 -m twine upload --repository-url dist/*

You will be prompted for the username and password you registered with Test PyPI. After the command completes, you should see output similar to this:

Uploading distributions to
Enter your username: [your username]
Enter your password:
Uploading example_pkg_your_username-0.0.1-py3-none-any.whl
100%|█████████████████████| 4.65k/4.65k [00:01<00:00, 2.88kB/s]
Uploading example_pkg_your_username-0.0.1.tar.gz
100%|█████████████████████| 4.25k/4.25k [00:01<00:00, 3.05kB/s]

Once uploaded your package should be viewable on TestPyPI, for example,

Installing your newly uploaded package

You can use pip to install your package and verify that it works. Create a new virtualenv (see Installing Packages for detailed instructions) and install your package from TestPyPI:

python3 -m pip install --index-url --no-deps example-pkg-your-username

Make sure to specify your username in the package name!

pip should install the package from Test PyPI and the output should look something like this:

Collecting example-pkg-your-username
Installing collected packages: example-pkg-your-username
Successfully installed example-pkg-your-username-0.0.1


This example uses --index-url flag to specify TestPyPI instead of live PyPI. Additionally, it specifies --no-deps. Since TestPyPI doesn’t have the same packages as the live PyPI, it’s possible that attempting to install dependencies may fail or install something unexpected. While our example package doesn’t have any dependencies, it’s a good practice to avoid installing dependencies when using TestPyPI.

You can test that it was installed correctly by importing the module and referencing the name property you put in earlier.

Run the Python interpreter (make sure you’re still in your virtualenv):


And then import the module and print out the name property. This should be the same regardless of what you name you gave your distribution package in (in this case, example-pkg-your-username) because your import package is example_pkg.

>>> import example_pkg

Congratulations, you’ve packaged and distributed a Python project! ✨ 🍰 ✨

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