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Since v2.9, Tyk supports any currently stable Python 3.x version. The main requirement is to have the Python shared libraries installed. These are available as libpython3.x in most Linux distributions.

Important Note Regarding Performance

Python plugins are embedded within the Tyk Gateway process. Tyk Gateway integrates with Python custom plugins via a cgo bridge.

Tyk Gateway <-> CGO <-> Python Custom Plugin

In order to integrate with Python custom plugins, the shared object library is used to embed a Python interpreter directly in the Tyk Gateway. Further details can be found here

This allows combining the strengths of both Python and Go in a single application. However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential complexities and performance implications of mixing languages, as well as the need for careful memory management when working with Python objects from Go.

The Tyk Gateway process initialises the Python interpreter using Py_initialize. The Python Global Interpreter Lock (GIL) allows only one thread to execute Python bytecode at a time, ensuring thread safety and simplifying memory management. While the GIL simplifies these aspects, it can limit the scalability of multi-threaded applications, particularly those with CPU-bound tasks, as it restricts parallel execution of Python code.

In the context of custom Python plugins, API calls are queued and the Python interpreter handles requests sequentially, processing them one at a time. Subsequently, this would consume large amounts of memory, and network sockets would remain open and blocked until the API request is processed.

Install the Python development packages


Starting from Tyk Gateway version v5.3.0, Python is no longer bundled with the official Tyk Gateway Docker image by default, to address security vulnerabilities in the Python libraries highlighted by Docker Scout.
Whilst Python plugins are still supported by Tyk Gateway, if you want to use them you must extend the image to add support for Python. For further details, please refer to the release notes for Tyk Gateway v5.3.0.

If you wish to use Python plugins using Docker, you can extend the official Tyk Gateway Docker image by adding Python to it.

This example Dockerfile extends the official Tyk Gateway image to support Python plugins by installing python and the required modules:


# For Python plugins
RUN apt-get install -y python3-setuptools libpython3-dev python3-dev python3-grpcio

EXPOSE 8080 80 443


WORKDIR /opt/tyk-gateway/

ENTRYPOINT ["/opt/tyk-gateway/tyk" ]
CMD [ "--conf=/opt/tyk-gateway/tyk.conf" ]

To use this, you simply run docker build with this Dockerfile, providing the Tyk Gateway image that you would like to extend as build argument BASE_IMAGE. As an example, this command will extend Tyk Gateway v5.3.0 to support Python plugins, generating the image tyk-gateway-python:v5.3.0:

docker build --build-arg BASE_IMAGE=tykio/tyk-gateway:v5.3.0 -t tyk-gateway-python:v5.3.0 .
apt install python3 python3-dev python3-pip build-essential

Install the Required Python Modules

Make sure that “pip” is available in your system, it should be typically available as “pip”, “pip3” or “pipX.X” (where X.X represents the Python version):

pip3 install protobuf grpcio
yum install python3-devel python3-setuptools
python3 -m ensurepip

Install the Required Python Modules

Make sure that “pip” is now available in your system, it should be typically available as “pip”, “pip3” or “pipX.X” (where X.X represents the Python version):

pip3 install protobuf grpcio

Python versions

Newer Tyk versions provide more flexibility when using Python plugins, allowing the users to set which Python version to use. By default, Tyk will try to use the latest version available.

To see the Python initialisation log, run the Tyk gateway in debug mode.

To use a specific Python version, set the python_version flag under coprocess_options in the Tyk Gateway configuration file (tyk.conf).


Tyk doesn’t support Python 2.x.


To verify that the required Python Protocol Buffers module is available:

python3 -c 'from google import protobuf'

No output is expected from this command on successful setups.

How do I write Python Plugins?

We have created a demo Python plugin repository.

The project implements a simple middleware for header injection, using a Pre hook (see Tyk custom middleware hooks. A single Python script contains the code for it, see