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How To Manage Python Packages Using PIP

By sk
Published: Last Updated on 8.2K views

PIP, the python package manager, is used to install, upgrade, remove packages written in Python programming language. In this guide, we will be discussing how to install pip and manage python packages such as installing, updating, and removing packages using pip. Additionally, we will  see what is virtual environment, how to create it, and how to isolate packages in the virtual environment using venv and/or virtualenv tools.

Install pip using package managers

On Arch Linux and its variants like Antergos, Manjaro Linux, you can install pip using command:

Python 2:

$ sudo pacman -S python2-pip python2-wheel python2-setuptools

Python 3:

$ sudo pacman -S python-pip python-wheel python-setuptools

On Fedora 21:

Python 2:

$ sudo yum upgrade python-setuptools
$ sudo yum install python-pip python-wheel

Python 3:

$ sudo yum install python3 python3-wheel

Fedora 22:

Python 2:

$ sudo dnf upgrade python-setuptools
$ sudo dnf install python-pip python-wheel

Python 3:

$ sudo dnf install python3 python3-wheel

To get newer versions of pip, setuptools, and wheel for Python 2, enable the PyPA Copr Repo using command:

$ dnf copr enable pypa/pypa

and then run:

$ sudo dnf upgrade python-setuptools
$ sudo dnf install python-pip python-wheel


Pip and wheel is not available in the default repositories of CentOS and RHEL. To install pip on CentOS, RHEL, Scientific Linux and other RPM based systems, enable EPEL repository using command:

$ sudo yum install epel-release

And then run the following command to install pip:

$ sudo yum install python-pip
$ sudo yum install python-wheel

Since setup-tools package is available in the default repositories, you can install it using command:

$ sudo yum upgrade python-setuptools

Python 3:

$ sudo yum install python3-pip


Python 2:

$ sudo zypper install python-pip python-setuptools python-wheel

Python 3:

$ sudo zypper install python3-pip python3-setuptools python3-wheel


For Python 2.x:

$ sudo apt-get install python-pip

For Python 3.x:

Replace “python” with “python3” for installing Python 3.x version.

$ sudo apt-get install python3-pip

In Ubuntu 12.04 version, pip3 didn't come packaged. If you're using Ubuntu 12.04, you can install pip3 using the following commands:

$ sudo apt-get install python3-setuptools
$ sudo easy_install3 pip

Installing pip from binaries

If you'd like to install pip from binaries, just run:

$ wget https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py
$ sudo python get-pip.py

Please note that get-pip.py will also install setuptools and wheel. As I mentioned earlier, some Linux distros doesn't has wheel in the core repositories. In such cases, you may need to add some third party repositories, for example EPEL.

pip is already installed if you're using Python 2 >=2.7.9 or Python 3 >=3.4 binaries downloaded from python.org. However, you will need to upgrade pip using command:

$ sudo pip install -U pip


$ sudo pip install --upgrade pip

To update all (pip, setuptools, whell), run:

$ sudo pip install --upgrade pip setuptools wheel

To find out the installed version of pip/pip3, run:

$ pip --version


$ pip -V

Sample output would be:

pip 9.0.1 from /usr/lib/python3.6/site-packages (python 3.6)

Creating Virtual Environments

Before installing any python packages, it is recommended to create a virtual environment. Why do we need to create virtual environment? You might ask. Because, the Python “Virtual Environments” allows us to install a Python package in an isolated location, rather than installing it globally.

Let us say you want to install a python package, for example youtube-dl, that needs version 1 of LibFoo, but another application requires version 2. How can you use both these applications? If you install everything into /usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages or /usr/lib/python3.6/site-packages (or whatever your platform’s standard location is), it’s easy to end up in a situation where you unintentionally upgrade an application that shouldn’t be upgraded. To avoid this, we isolate the packages in the virtual environment. All virtual environments have their own installation directories and doesn't interact or conflict with one another.

We can create isolated python environments using two modules, namely:

  1. venv,
  2. virtualenv.

For Python 2.x, you need to install virtualenv. To do so, run:

$ sudo pip install virtualenv

Let us create a virtual environment now.

Using virtualenv:

$ virtualenv <DIR_NAME>
$ source <DIR_NAME>/bin/activate

For Python 3.x, you need to install venv. On Ubuntu-based systems, you can install it using command:

$ sudo apt-get install python3-venv

On Fedora and RHEL, run:

$ sudo dnf install python-virtualenv

Now create virtual environment using venv:

$ python3 -m venv <DIR_NAME>
$ source <DIR_NAME>/bin/activate

Once, you run the above command, you will be placed in your virtual environment immediately.

To deactivate the virtual environment and come to back to your normal shell, run:

$ deactivate

Manage Python Packages Using Pip

Now we will see most common basic pip usage with examples.

To view the list of all pip commands and general options, run:

$ pip

You should see an output something like below.

To know what install command does, run:

$ pip install --help

The most common usage of pip is to install from the PyPi (Python Package Index). PyPi is a repository that contains all the packages created by the community of developers in Python.

Install packages

Create virtual environment first as shown below:

Using virtualenv:

$ virtualenv MYENV

Replace MYENV with your own name.

Using venv:

$ python3 -m venv MYENV

Finally, activate it using command:

$ source MYENV/bin/activate

Once, you run the above command, you will be placed inside  your virtual environment:

Now, it is time to install some packages. To install a package, for example youtube-dl, run:

$ pip install youtube-dl

This command will install youtube-dl with all its dependencies.

To install a specific version, run:

$ pip install youtube_dl=2017.12.14

To install a version other than specified version, run:

$ pip install youtube_dl!=2017.12.14

Note the '!" in-front of equal symbol.

To install a version equal to or greater than the specified version, run:

$ pip install youtube_dl>=2017.12.14

To install a version in the specific range, for instance greater than or equal to one version and less than another, run:

$ pip install youtube_dl>=2017.12.14, <2017.12.20

To install a version that’s “compatible” with a certain version:

$ pip install youtube_dl~=2017.12.14

Download packages

To download a package with all dependencies (without installing it), run:

$ pip download youtube-dl

List all installed packages

To find which packages were installed by pip, run:

$ pip freeze


$ pip list

These commands will display all installed packages using pip in your system.

Search packages

To search for a specific package, for example youtube-dl, run:

$ pip search youtube-dl

This command will search and display the result that matches the string "youtube-dl".

Update packages

To list all outdated packages in a simple tabular column format, run:

$ pip list --outdated --format=columns

To update an outdated package, run:

$ pip install --upgrade youtube-dl

We can also dump all packages in a file and update them all in one go. First, export all files to a file:

$ pip freeze > mypackages.txt

Now update all packages at once using command:

$ pip install -r mypackages.txt --upgrade


$ pip install -r mypackages.txt -U

If the above command didn't work for any reason, use the following command to update all packages at once:

$ pip freeze --local | grep -v '^\e' | cut -d = -f 1 | xargs -n1 pip install -U

Export all installed packages in a file

Sometimes, you might want to export all installed packages in a file to test them in a different environment. To do so, run:

$ pip freeze > MYENV_packages.txt

Now, deactivate the current virtual environment:

$ deactivate

and create a new using commands:

$ virtualenv MYENV1

Replace MYENV1 with your own name.

Using venv:

$ python3 -m venv MYENV1

Activate the newly created environment:

$ source MYENV1/bin/activate

Now, install all packages which we exported earlier.

$ pip install -r MYENV_packages.txt

To install all at once without user interaction, run:

$ pip install -r MYENV_packages.txt -y

Similarly, you can remove all packages from the list using command:

$ pip uninstall -r MYENV_packages.txt -y

View package information

To view the details of a package, run:

$ pip show youtube-dl
Name: youtube-dl
Version: 2017.12.14
Summary: YouTube video downloader
Home-page: https://github.com/rg3/youtube-dl
Author: Sergey M.
Author-email: dstftw@gmail.com
License: UNKNOWN
Location: /home/sk/MYENV/lib/python3.6/site-packages

View package dependencies

We can visualize the dependencies of all installed packages using "pipdeptree" tool.

Install it using command:

$ pip install pipdeptree

Once installed, you can view the dependency tree using command:

$ pipdeptree

Uninstall packages

To uninstall/remove an installed package, run:

$ pip uninstall youtube-dl

To uninstall multiple packages, specify them with comma separated like below:

$ pip uninstall package1, package2

To remove all python packages installed using pip, run:

$ pip freeze | xargs pip uninstall -y

Sometimes pip doesn't allow you to uninstall packages owned by the OS. In such cases, you can uninstall all the packages which are not owned by the OS using command:

$ pip uninstall -y $(pip freeze | sed 's;==.*;;g' | tr '\n' ' ')

As I mentioned in the previous section, we can dump all installed packages in a file and uninstall them from the list using command:

$ pip uninstall -r MYENV_packages.txt -y

At this stage, you might get some idea about pip and its usage. For more details, refer the official documentation and the pip help section by running the following command:

$ pip --help

Or just,

$ pip

Suggested read:

And, that's all for now. Hope this was useful.


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1 comment

Alex November 2, 2021 - 1:05 am

Very usefull! Thank You!


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