Installation guide

This guide provides installation instructions for Plyvel.

Build and install Plyvel

The recommended (and easiest) way to install Plyvel is to install it into a virtual environment (virtualenv):

$ virtualenv envname
$ source envname/bin/activate

Now you can automatically install the latest Plyvel release from the Python Package Index (PyPI) using pip:

(envname) $ pip install plyvel

(In case you’re feeling old-fashioned: downloading a source tarball, unpacking it and installing it manually with python install should also work.)

The Plyvel source package does not include a copy of LevelDB itself. Plyvel requires LevelDB development headers and an installed shared library for LevelDB during build time, and the same installed shared library at runtime.

To build from source, make sure you have a shared LevelDB library and the development headers installed where the compiler and linker can find them. For Debian or Ubuntu something like apt-get install libleveldb1v5 libleveldb-dev should suffice.

For Linux, Plyvel also ships as pre-built binary packages (manylinux1 wheels) that have LevelDB embedded. Simply running pip install plyvel does the right thing with a modern pip on a modern Linux platform, even without any LevelDB libraries on your system.


Plyvel 1.x depends on LevelDB >= 1.20, which at the time of writing (early 2018) is more recent than the versions packaged by various Linux distributions. Using an older version will result in compile-time errors. The easiest solution is to use the pre-built binary packages. Alternatively, install LevelDB manually on your system. The Dockerfile in the Plyvel source repository, which is used for building the official binary packages, shows how to do this.


The above installation method applies only to released packages available from PyPI. If you are building and installing from a source tree acquired through other means, e.g. checked out from source control, you will need to run Cython first. If you don’t, you will see errors about missing source files. See the developer documentation for more information.

Verify that it works

After installation, this command should not give any output:

(envname) $ python -c 'import plyvel'

If you see an ImportError complaining about undefined symbols, e.g.

ImportError: ./ undefined symbol: _ZN7leveldb10WriteBatch5ClearEv

…then the installer (actually, the linker) was unable to find the LevelDB library on your system when building Plyvel. Install LevelDB or set the proper environment variables for the compiler and linker and try pip install --upgrade --force-reinstall plyvel.

Next steps

Continue with the user guide to see how to use Plyvel.