Using the Python SDK

The Couchbase Python SDK library allows you to connect to a Couchbase cluster from Python. The Python SDK uses the high-performance C++ library, Couchbase++, to handle communicating to the cluster over the Couchbase binary protocol.

How to Engage

  • Join Discord and contribute.

    The Couchbase Discord server is a place where you can collaborate about all things Couchbase. Connect with others from the community, learn tips and tricks, and ask questions.

  • Ask and/or answer questions on the Python SDK Forums.

Installing the SDK


Best practice is to use a Python virtual environment such as venv or pyenv. Checkout:


The Couchbase Python SDK provides wheels for Windows, MacOS and Linux platforms (via manylinux) for supported versions of Python. See Python Version Compatibility docs for details.


If not on platform that has a binary wheel availble, the following is needed:

  • A supported Python version (see Python Version Compatibility for details)

  • A C++ compiler supporting C++ 17

  • CMake (version >= 3.18)

  • Git (if not on a platform that offers wheels)

  • OpenSSL

    • SDK versions >= 4.1.9 provide wheels that do not require OpenSSL.

    • SDK versions < 4.1.9 provide wheels that require OpenSSL 1.1.1.

    • SDK versions >= 4.1 can be built against a desired version of OpenSSL.

  • If using the Twisted Framework and the txcouchbase API, Twisted >= 21.7.0 is required.


Some older linux platforms to not provide defaults (Python version, OpenSSL, C++ 17 support, etc.) that meet the Python SDK’s minimum requirements. Be sure to update to the minimum requirements prior to installing the SDK. See the dockerfiles folder in the Python SDK examples folder for references to working setups for various linux platforms.


Starting with Python 3.11.5, macOS installers and Windows builders from now use OpenSSL 3.0. A potential side-effect of this change is an ImportError: DLL load failed while importing pycbc_core error when a version of the Python SDK prior to 4.1.9. As a work-around, set the PYCBC_OPENSSL_DIR environment variable to the path where the OpenSSL 1.1 libraries can be found (libssl-1_1.dll and libcrypto-1_1.dll for Windows; libssl.1.1.dylib and libcrypto.1.1.dylib for macOS). Alternatively, the SDK can be built from source using a version of OpenSSL > 1.1.x.

After the above have been installed, pip install setuptools and wheel (see command below).

$ python3 -m pip install --upgrade pip setuptools wheel


$ python3 -m pip install couchbase


Connecting to a Couchbase cluster is as simple as creating a new Cluster instance to represent the Cluster you are using, and then using the bucket and collection commands against this to open a connection to open your specific bucket and collection. You are able to execute most operations immediately, and they will be queued until the connection is successfully established.

Here is a simple example of creating a Cluster instance, retrieving a document and using SQL++ (a.k.a. N1QL).

# needed for any cluster connection
from couchbase.auth import PasswordAuthenticator
from couchbase.cluster import Cluster
# options for a cluster and SQL++ (N1QL) queries
from couchbase.options import ClusterOptions, QueryOptions

# get a reference to our cluster
auth = PasswordAuthenticator('username', 'password')
cluster = Cluster.connect('couchbase://localhost', ClusterOptions(auth))

# get a reference to our bucket
cb = cluster.bucket('travel-sample')

# get a reference to the default collection
cb_coll = cb.default_collection()

# get a document
result = cb_coll.get('airline_10')
print(f'Document content: {result.content_as[dict]}')

# using SQL++ (a.k.a N1QL)
call_sign = 'CBS'
sql_query = 'SELECT VALUE name FROM `travel-sample` WHERE type = "airline" AND callsign = $1'
query_res = cluster.query(sql_query, QueryOptions(positional_parameters=[call_sign]))
for row in query_res:
    print(f'Found row: {row}')

Source Control

The source control is available on Github. Once you have cloned the repository, you may contribute changes through our gerrit server. For more details see

Migrating from 3.x to 4.x

The Python SDK 4.x implements the SDK API 3 spec, so all the steps outlined in the SDK 3 migration docs apply to a migration from a Python SDK 2.x directly to Python SDK 4.x.

Importantly, the Python SDK 4.x has been substantially reworked to use a new backend (Couchbase++ instead of libcouchbase.) Though the API surfaces are intended to be compatible, any code that relies on undocumented or uncommitted internal details is not guaranteed to work. Key areas that have been reworked:

  • The couchbase_core package has been removed. The 4.x SDK provides appropriate import paths within the couchbase package (or possibly the acouchbase/txcouchbase packages if using one of the async APIs) for anything that is needed with respect to the APIs provided by the SDK.

  • As there is a new backend, the previous _libcouchbase c-extension has been removed

  • Remnants of the 2.x API in previous Python 3.x SDK versions have been removed or deprecated

    • Key items that have been removed:

      • The ClassicAuthenticator class

      • Key-value operations are no longer available with a bucket instance. Use a collection instance for key-value operations.

      • A cluster and bucket instance do not inherit from the same base class

      • The Client class has been removed

      • Items API

      • Admin cluster

    • Key items that have been deprecated:

      • Datastructure methods provided by the collection instance have been deprecated and replaced with their respective APIs (i.e. CouchbaseList, CouchbaseMap, CouchbaseQueue and CouchbaseSet)

      • OperationResult (deprecated, still available from couchbase.result)

      • ValueResult (deprecated, still available from couchbase.result)

  • Import paths have been reorganized to follow consistent patterns. While the import paths that existed in 3.x SDK are mostly available (see previous points on removal of couchbase_core package), some paths are deprecated and will be removed in a future release.

    • All authenticators should be imported from couchbase.auth

    • All constants should be imported from couchbase.constants

    • All options should be imported from couchbase.options

    • All management options should be imported from

    • All results should be imported from couchbase.result

    • All exceptions should be imported from couchbase.exceptions

    • Enumerations and Classes related to operations should be imported from that operation’s path. For example, QueryScanConsistency should be imported from couchbase.n1ql (i.e. from couchbase.n1ql import QueryScanConsistency)

  • Changes to the async APIs (acouchbase and txcouchbase):

    • While multi-operations (get_multi, upsert_multi, etc.) still exist for the couchbase API they have been removed from the async APIs (acouchbase and txcouchbase) as each of the async APIs are built with libraries that have mechanisms to handle multi/bulk operations (asyncio has asyncio.gather(...) and Twisted has DeferredList(...)).

    • If using the txcouchbase API, the reactor that should be installed is the asyncioreactor. Therefore, the txcouchbase package needs to be imported prior to importing the reactor. See example import below.

      # this is new with Python SDK 4.x, it needs to be imported prior to
      # importing the twisted reactor
      import txcouchbase
      from twisted.internet import reactor


The Couchbase Python SDK is licensed under the Apache License 2.0.

See LICENSE for further details.