How do I find the location of my Python site-packages directory?

There are two types of site-packages directories, global and per user.

  1. Global site-packages (“dist-packages”) directories are listed in sys.path when you run:

    python -m site
    

    For a more concise list run getsitepackages from the site module in Python code:

    python -c 'import site; print(site.getsitepackages())'
    

    Note: With virtualenvs getsitepackages is not available, sys.path from above will list the virtualenv’s site-packages directory correctly, though. In Python 3, you may use the sysconfig module instead:

    python3 -c 'import sysconfig; print(sysconfig.get_paths()["purelib"])'
    
  2. The per user site-packages directory (PEP 370) is where Python installs your local packages:

    python -m site --user-site
    

    If this points to a non-existing directory check the exit status of Python and see python -m site --help for explanations.

    Hint: Running pip list --user or pip freeze --user gives you a list of all installed per user site-packages.


Practical Tips

  • <package>.__path__ lets you identify the location(s) of a specific package: (details)

    $ python -c "import setuptools as _; print(_.__path__)"
    ['/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/setuptools']
    
  • <module>.__file__ lets you identify the location of a specific module: (difference)

    $ python3 -c "import os as _; print(_.__file__)"
    /usr/lib/python3.6/os.py
    
  • Run pip show <package> to show Debian-style package information:

    $ pip show pytest
    Name: pytest
    Version: 3.8.2
    Summary: pytest: simple powerful testing with Python
    Home-page: https://docs.pytest.org/en/latest/
    Author: Holger Krekel, Bruno Oliveira, Ronny Pfannschmidt, Floris Bruynooghe, Brianna Laugher, Florian Bruhin and others
    Author-email: None
    License: MIT license
    Location: /home/peter/.local/lib/python3.4/site-packages
    Requires: more-itertools, atomicwrites, setuptools, attrs, pathlib2, six, py, pluggy
    

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