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Debian / Ubuntu Linux Apache mod_python Configuration

I‘ve installed a Web server (Apache2) and like to use Python interpreter correctly. How do I configure mod_python under Debian or Ubuntu Linux running Apache server version 2.x?

You need to install the following software:

a] libapache2-mod-python : Mod_python is a module that embeds the Python language interpreter within the server, allowing Apache handlers to be written in Python. Mod_python brings together the versatility of Python and the power of the Apache Web server for a considerable boost in flexibility and performance over the traditional CGI approach.

b] Apache2 webserver.

Install mod_python

Open terminal and type the following command:
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-python libapache2-mod-python-doc

Configure mod_python

You need to create directory to host your python scripts. Type the following command:
$ sudo mkdir /var/www/py
Give your account permission to access the scripts:
$ sudo chown yourname:www-data /var/www/py
Now, open /etc/apache2/sites-available/default, enter:
$ sudo -s
# vi /etc/apache2/sites-available/default

Add the following config code:

   <Directory /var/www/py>
        AddHandler mod_python .py
        PythonHandler hello
        PythonDebug On

Save and close the file. Restart Apache2 server:
# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
# tail -f /var/log/apache2/error.log

You should see mod_python/3.3.1 Python/2.5.2 loaded:

[Tue Mar 17 02:42:18 2009] [notice] FastCGI: process manager initialized (pid 15572)
[Tue Mar 17 02:42:18 2009] [notice] mod_python: Creating 8 session mutexes based on 150 max processes and 0 max threads.
[Tue Mar 17 02:42:18 2009] [notice] mod_python: using mutex_directory /tmp 
[Tue Mar 17 02:42:18 2009] [notice] Apache/2.2.9 (Ubuntu) mod_fastcgi/2.4.6 PHP/5.2.6-2ubuntu4.1 with Suhosin-Patch mod_python/3.3.1 Python/2.5.2 mod_perl/2.0.4 Perl/v5.10.0 configured -- resuming normal operations

How do I test mod_python?

Simply create the script as follows:
$ vi /var/www/py/hello.py
The following simple mod_python program serves as a good test:

from mod_python import apache
def handler(req):
        req.content_type = 'text/html'
        req.write('<html><head><title>Testing mod_python</title></head><body>')
        req.write('Hello World!')
        return apache.OK

Save and close the file. Now fire a webbrowser and type the url:
You hould see “Hello World!” on screen.

Further readings:

This is just getting started tutorial and setting up the Python interpreter correctly. I recommend getting mod_python book or refer to Python Language Website.

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Ronny Pfannschmidt March 18, 2009, 5:21 pm

    the biggest misstake of all is to use mod_python for anything new – mod_wsgi is there, use it, its the standard

  • Bruno February 4, 2010, 7:44 pm

    Hello friend, congratulations for the article, was excellent, I was killing me to install mod_python and you explained in a clear and objective.


  • Larry Delaney February 23, 2011, 6:16 pm

    I followed your installation procedures carefully. However, when I ask for the hello.py from a browser I get the download menu asking me if I want to save or execute the file rather than getting a web page. How can I fix this? Any suggestions?

    During installation the error.log was OK. The chown worked OK also.

    • Larry Delaney February 23, 2011, 6:21 pm

      Sorry, false alarm, I was able to figure this out myself. Just another stupid mistake. Thanks anyway.

      • vincent January 17, 2014, 8:45 am

        I have the same problem, my browser ask me if I want download or open the file. How could you fix the problem ?? Thanks

  • Marcelo Martinovic May 16, 2011, 11:32 pm

    Excelent, very easy !!!!! Thanks from Argentina !!!

  • Önder Kalacı May 21, 2011, 6:33 am

    It’s great, thank you very much

  • bellszhu August 18, 2011, 3:22 pm

    i have question!!
    Syntax error on line 44 of /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default:
    Invalid command ‘PythonHandler’, perhaps misspelled or defined by a module not included in the server configuration
    Action ‘configtest’ failed.
    The Apache error log may have more information.

  • pc-moon September 17, 2011, 12:03 am

    its great thank u so much

    hope god bless u

  • serina November 4, 2011, 2:45 am

    greate,thanks so much

  • Maui1983 August 7, 2012, 12:13 pm


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