How to pin all of your project’s Python dependencies

Pinning dependencies is good practice

If a dependency is unpinned (that is, a particular version is not specified in the project’s requirements) pip will install the latest version it finds, even if a different version was previously installed. This can cause your your project to fail with an deployment error or worse, a runtime error, the next time it is built - even if you didn’t change anything in it yourself.

We strongly recommend that when you add a dependency to a project via its that you pin it to a particular version, by specifying its version number.

For example, if you use rsa and know that version 1.3.4 works, specify it:


That way if a newer, incompatible version of the package is released, your project will still install the correct version the next time you build or redeploy it.

What about dependencies of dependencies?

However, dependencies can in turn themselves have dependencies. Even if you pin your requirements, their dependencies may be unpinned.

For example, your project may specify some-package==1.2.3, but if some-package lists rsa in its requirements, then the next time the project is built, it will attempt to do so using the latest version of rsa - which might not be compatible.

The solution is to pin all the dependencies in your project.

Compile requirements.txt

First, you need to have a working local set-up.

Now you can run:

docker-compose run --rm web pip-reqs compile

You won’t see any output, but you will now find a requirements.txt file in the project, containing a list of all the packages in the environment, along with their versions.

When your project is built using the new requirements.txt instead of, you’ll have a guarantee that no unexpected changes will be permitted to find their way in to the project.

Amend the Dockerfile

In order to have your project built using requirements.txt instead of, you need to remove the pip-reqs compile instruction from your project’s Dockerfile.

You can do this in two different ways:

  • Locally: edit the Dockerfile to remove the pip-reqs compile instruction.
  • Let the Control Panel do it: push your requirements.txt file to the project’s repository. At the next deployment, the Control Panel will recognise the file and amend the Dockerfile itself.

If you later remove the requirements.txt file, the Control Panel will recognise this and will restore the pip-reqs compile instruction to the Dockerfile when the project is next deployed. Alternatively you can restore it locally yourself.

See the Dockerfile reference for more information about how the Control Panel populates the Dockerfile.

Re-compile when required

Any time a change is made to, or to any addons in the project, you will need to re-compile requirements.txt. If the change is made to an addon via the Divio Control Panel, you will need to:

  • pull the latest changes to your local repository
  • run docker-compose run --rm web pip-reqs compile to compile the pinned requirements
  • rebuld it locally to check that it works as expected
  • push the updated requirements.txt back to the cloud.