pip <command> [options]



Console logging

pip offers -v, –verbose and -q, –quiet to control the console log level. By default, some messages (error and warnings) are colored in the terminal. If you want to suppress the colored output use –no-color.

File logging

pip offers the –log option for specifying a file where a maximum verbosity log will be kept. This option is empty by default. This log appends to previous logging.

Like all pip options, --log can also be set as an environment variable, or placed into the pip config file. See the Configuration section.

–exists-action option

This option specifies default behavior when path already exists. Possible cases: downloading files or checking out repositories for installation, creating archives. If --exists-action is not defined, pip will prompt when decision is needed.

Only relevant to VCS checkout. Attempt to switch the checkout to the appropriate url and/or revision.
Abort current operation (e.g. don’t copy file, don’t create archive, don’t modify a checkout).
Delete the file or VCS checkout before trying to create, download, or checkout a new one.
Rename the file or checkout to {name}{'.bak' * n}, where n is some number of .bak extensions, such that the file didn’t exist at some point. So the most recent backup will be the one with the largest number after .bak.
Abort pip and return non-zero exit status.

Build System Interface

Pip builds packages by invoking the build system. Presently, the only supported build system is setuptools, but in the future, pip will support PEP 517 which allows projects to specify an alternative build system in a pyproject.toml file. As well as package building, the build system is also invoked to install packages direct from source. This is handled by invoking the build system to build a wheel, and then installing from that wheel. The built wheel is cached locally by pip to avoid repeated identical builds.

The current interface to the build system is via the setup.py command line script - all build actions are defined in terms of the specific setup.py command line that will be run to invoke the required action.

Setuptools Injection

As noted above, the supported build system is setuptools. However, not all packages use setuptools in their build scripts. To support projects that use “pure distutils”, pip injects setuptools into sys.modules before invoking setup.py. The injection should be transparent to distutils-based projects, but 3rd party build tools wishing to provide a setup.py emulating the commands pip requires may need to be aware that it takes place.

Build System Output

Any output produced by the build system will be read by pip (for display to the user if requested). In order to correctly read the build system output, pip requires that the output is written in a well-defined encoding, specifically the encoding the user has configured for text output (which can be obtained in Python using locale.getpreferredencoding). If the configured encoding is ASCII, pip assumes UTF-8 (to account for the behaviour of some Unix systems).

Build systems should ensure that any tools they invoke (compilers, etc) produce output in the correct encoding. In practice - and in particular on Windows, where tools are inconsistent in their use of the “OEM” and “ANSI” codepages - this may not always be possible. Pip will therefore attempt to recover cleanly if presented with incorrectly encoded build tool output, by translating unexpected byte sequences to Python-style hexadecimal escape sequences ("\x80\xff", etc). However, it is still possible for output to be displayed using an incorrect encoding (mojibake).

PEP 518 Support

As of 10.0, pip supports projects declaring dependencies that are required at install time using a pyproject.toml file, in the form described in PEP 518. When building a project, pip will install the required dependencies locally, and make them available to the build process.

When making build requirements available, pip does so in an isolated environment. That is, pip does not install those requirements into the user’s site-packages, but rather installs them in a temporary directory which it adds to the user’s sys.path for the duration of the build. This ensures that build requirements are handled independently of the user’s runtime environment. For example, a project that needs a recent version of setuptools to build can still be installed, even if the user has an older version installed (and without silently replacing that version).

In certain cases, projects (or redistributors) may have workflows that explicitly manage the build environment. For such workflows, build isolation can be problematic. If this is the case, pip provides a --no-build-isolation flag to disable build isolation. Users supplying this flag are responsible for ensuring the build environment is managed appropriately.


  • until PEP 517 support is added, setuptools and wheel must be included in the list of build requirements: pip will assume these as default, but will not automatically add them to the list of build requirements if explicitly defined in pyproject.toml.
  • the current implementation only support installing build requirements from wheels: this is a technical limitation of the implementation - source installs would require a build step of their own, potentially recursively triggering another PEP 518 dependency installation process. The possible unbounded recursion involved was not considered acceptable, and so installation of build dependencies from source has been disabled until a safe resolution of this issue is found.
  • pip<18.0: only support installing build requirements from wheels, and does not support the use of environment markers and extras (only version specifiers are respected).
  • pip<18.1: build dependencies using .pth files are not properly supported; as a result namespace packages do not work under Python 3.2 and earlier.

Future Developments

PEP 426 notes that the intention is to add hooks to project metadata in version 2.1 of the metadata spec, to explicitly define how to build a project from its source. Once this version of the metadata spec is final, pip will migrate to using that interface. At that point, the setup.py interface documented here will be retained solely for legacy purposes, until projects have migrated.

Specifically, applications should not expect to rely on there being any form of backward compatibility guarantees around the setup.py interface.

Build Options

The --global-option and --build-option arguments to the pip install and pip wheel inject additional arguments into the setup.py command (--build-option is only available in pip wheel). These arguments are included in the command as follows:

python setup.py <global_options> BUILD COMMAND <build_options>

The options are passed unmodified, and presently offer direct access to the distutils command line. Use of --global-option and --build-option should be considered as build system dependent, and may not be supported in the current form if support for alternative build systems is added to pip.

General Options

-h, --help

Show help.


Run pip in an isolated mode, ignoring environment variables and user configuration.

-v, --verbose

Give more output. Option is additive, and can be used up to 3 times.

-V, --version

Show version and exit.

-q, --quiet

Give less output. Option is additive, and can be used up to 3 times (corresponding to WARNING, ERROR, and CRITICAL logging levels).

--log <path>

Path to a verbose appending log.

--proxy <proxy>

Specify a proxy in the form [user:passwd@]proxy.server:port.

--retries <retries>

Maximum number of retries each connection should attempt (default 5 times).

--timeout <sec>

Set the socket timeout (default 15 seconds).

--exists-action <action>

Default action when a path already exists: (s)witch, (i)gnore, (w)ipe, (b)ackup, (a)bort).

--trusted-host <hostname>

Mark this host as trusted, even though it does not have valid or any HTTPS.

--cert <path>

Path to alternate CA bundle.

--client-cert <path>

Path to SSL client certificate, a single file containing the private key and the certificate in PEM format.

--cache-dir <dir>

Store the cache data in <dir>.


Disable the cache.


Don’t periodically check PyPI to determine whether a new version of pip is available for download. Implied with –no-index.


Suppress colored output