[Solved] How do I install a pip package globally instead of locally?

I am trying to install flake8 package using pip3 and it seems that it refuses to install because is already installed in one local location.

How can I force it to install globally (system level)?

pip3 install flake8
Requirement already satisfied (use --upgrade to upgrade): flake8 in ./.local/lib/python3.4/site-packages

Please note that I would prefer a generic solution (that should work on Debian, OS X maybe even Windows), one that should be used on any platform so I don’t want to specify the destination myself.

For some weird reason it behaves like I already specified --user which in my case I didn’t.

The only way I was able to install a package globally was to first remove it and install it again after this. Somehow it seems that pip (8.1.1) refuses to install a package globally if it exists locally.

Disclaimer: No virtual environments were used or harmed during the experiments.

Enquirer: sorin


Solution #1:

Why don’t you try sudo with the H flag? This should do the trick.

sudo -H pip install flake8

A regular sudo pip install flake8 will try to use your own home directory. The -H instructs it to use the system’s home directory. More info at

Respondent: sorin

Solution #2:

Maybe --force-reinstall would work, otherwise --ignore-installed should do the trick.

Respondent: nikhilweee

Solution #3:

Are you using virtualenv? If yes, deactivate the virtualenv. If you are not using, it is already installed widely (system level). Try to upgrade package.

pip install flake8 --upgrade
Respondent: Emma

Solution #4:

I actually don‘t see your issue. Globally is any package which is in your python3 path‘s site package folder.

If you want to use it just locally then you must configure a virtualenv and reinstall the packages with an activated virtual environment.

Respondent: Mauro Baraldi

Solution #5:

Where does pip installations happen in python?

I will give a windows solution which I was facing and took a while to solve.

First of all, in windows (I will be taking Windows as the OS here), if you do pip install <package_name>, it will be by default installed globally (if you have not activated a virtual enviroment).
Once you activate a virtual enviroment and you are inside it, all pip installations will be inside that virtual enviroment.

pip is installing the said packages but not I cannot use them?

For this pip might be giving you a warning that the pip executables like pip3.exe, pip.exe are not on your path variable.
For this you might add this path ( usually – C:Users<your_username>AppDataRoamingProgramsPython ) to your enviromental variables.
After this restart your cmd, and now try to use your installed python package. It should work now.

Respondent: LIT

The answers/resolutions are collected from stackoverflow, are licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0 .

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