pip <command> [options]



Console logging

pip offers -v, –verbose and -q, –quiet to control the console log level.

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 future developments to the Python packaging infrastructure are expected to include support for other build systems. As well as package building, the build system is also invoked to install packages direct from source.

The 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).

Future Developments

PEP426 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.