How to submit a package to PyPI

The other month a coworker of mine wanted to distribute a small wrapper he'd written for the Locu API. Instead of forcing developers to clone his repository, he wanted them to be able install with a single command: pip install locu. He wasn't sure how to go about this so I wrote up a quick guide, which I'm publishing below because I haven't found any other guides for this particular use case (python library hosted on github).

What is PyPI?

From the official website:

PyPI — the Python Package Index

The Python Package Index is a repository of software for the Python programming language.

Written something cool? Want others to be able to install it with easy_install or pip? Put your code on PyPI. It's a big list of python packages that you absolutely must submit your package to for it to be easily one-line installable.

The good news is that submitting to PyPI is simple in theory: just sign up and upload your code, all for free. The bad news is that in practice it's a little bit more complicated than that. The other good news is that I've written this guide, and that if you're stuck, you can always refer to the official documentation.

I've written this guide with the following assumptions:

  • The module/library/package that you're submitting is called mypackage.
  • mypackage is hosted on github.

Create your accounts

On PyPI Live and also on PyPI Test. You must create an account in order to be able to upload your code. I recommend using the same email/password for both accounts, just to make your life easier when it comes time to push.

Create a .pypirc configuration file

This file holds your information for authenticating with PyPI, both the live and the test versions.

index-servers =



This is just to make your life easier, so that when it comes time to upload you don't have to type/remember your username and password. Make sure to put this file in your home folder – its path should be ~/.pypirc.

Because this file holds your username and password, you may want to change its permissions so that only you can read and write it. From the terminal, run:

chmod 600 ~/.pypirc

Thanks to Martin Schobert for the recommendation.

Notes on passwords / usernames

Michiel Sikma has reported that in Python 3 if your password includes a raw %, it needs to be escaped by doubling – the .pypirc config parser interpolates strings. For example, if your password is hello%world:


I've never run into this issue, but if you're having trouble this might help.

James Stidard has reported that this escaping behavior has been patched and is no longer necessary. If you're seeing an error with a response code of 403: Invalid or non-existent authentication information, try un-escaping the percent signs in your password.

Andrew Farrell points out that if your password includes spaces, make sure not to quote it. For example, if your password is correct horse battery staple:

password=correct horse battery staple

Thanks to Michiel, Andrew, and Charlie Hack for their help with this section.

Prepare your package

Every package on PyPI needs to have a file called at the root of the directory. If your'e using a markdown-formatted read me file you'll also need a setup.cfg file. Also, you'll want a LICENSE.txt file describing what can be done with your code. So if I've been working on a library called mypackage, my directory structure would look like this:

root-dir/   # arbitrary working directory name

Here's a breakdown of what goes in which file:

This is metadata about your library.

from distutils.core import setup
  name = 'mypackage',
  packages = ['mypackage'], # this must be the same as the name above
  version = '0.1',
  description = 'A random test lib',
  author = 'Peter Downs',
  author_email = '',
  url = '', # use the URL to the github repo
  download_url = '', # I'll explain this in a second
  keywords = ['testing', 'logging', 'example'], # arbitrary keywords
  classifiers = [],

The download_url is a link to a hosted file with your repository's code. Github will host this for you, but only if you create a git tag. In your repository, type: git tag 0.1 -m "Adds a tag so that we can put this on PyPI.". Then, type git tag to show a list of tags — you should see 0.1 in the list. Type git push --tags origin master to update your code on Github with the latest tag information. Github creates tarballs for download at{username}/{module_name}/archive/{tag}.tar.gz.

Thanks to Lars Blumberg for writing in about Github's current archive URL scheme.


This tells PyPI where your README file is.

description-file =

This is necessary if you're using a markdown readme file. At upload time, you may still get some errors about the lack of a readme — don't worry about it. If you don't have to use a markdown README file, I would recommend using reStructuredText (REST) instead.


This file will contain whichver license you want your code to have. I tend to use the MIT license.

Upload your package to PyPI Test


python register -r pypitest

This will attempt to register your package against PyPI's test server, just to make sure you've set up everything correctly.

Then, run:

python sdist upload -r pypitest

You should get no errors, and should also now be able to see your library in the test PyPI repository.

Upload to PyPI Live

Once you've successfully uploaded to PyPI Test, perform the same steps but point to the live PyPI server instead. To register, run:

python register -r pypi

Then, run:

python sdist upload -r pypi

and you're done! Congratulations on successfully publishing your first package!