Changing your system image

You can change your account's system image from the "Account" page. This will leave all of your files and data as they are, but will change the operating system files to provide different versions of Python and different pre-installed Python modules. This means that you can use the latest and greatest stuff :-)

However, you may need to change your code to make it work with the new system image.

Changing the system image

Just click on the "pencil" icon next to the name of your current image, and you'll get a dropdown where you can select the one to switch to. The most recent one will be at the bottom of the list.

You will not be able to switch to a system image that is older than the one it had when you originally signed up.

We recommend that you read the rest of this page (in particular the part about virtualenvs, if you are using them) before making the change.

Using the new system image

Once you have changed the image, code that is currently running will continue to use the old one, but new consoles you start will have the new one. Any scheduled tasks and websites will pick it up the next time they're (re)started. Always-on tasks will need to be disabled, then enabled again to pick it up. If you're using Jupyter/IPython notebooks, you'll need to kill any existing ones using the process list on the "Consoles" page to make them restart fully to pick up the new Python versions.

Code changes

Updating the system image means that you may need to change your code afterwards to make it work again.

Pre-installed Python packages

Because the pre-installed Python modules will be upgraded, the change might break any code you have that relies on the old installed versions.


Because of the changes to the point releases of Python (for example, 3.7.5 might be replaced with 3.7.10), any virtualenvs you have might break -- virtualenvs are not always portable from one point release to another. You will need to rebuild, and please note that this will require you to gather information about the existing virtualenv before you change the system image. Also, make sure the Python version you were previously using is available on the new system image (see Available Python versions table below).

Cached versions of pip and packages installed with pip

It's also advised to clear the ~/.cache folder, since packages stored there might be picked up when creating new virtualenvs leading to confusion. In particular, if after the change over you start getting errors like NameError: name '_mysql' is not defined, it is likely that you have a version of the mysqlclient library that was installed from the cache and is not compatible with the updated system image.

Default Python versions

Along with system image each PythonAnywhere account has a set of default Python versions:

  • One of them is the default Python version used by python and pip in Bash consoles. (If your system image is "glastonbury" or older, these must be python2.7 because the older operating system that those images use require it to be set up that way.)

  • Another one is the default Python 3 version used by python3 and pip3 in Bash consoles.

  • The third one is the default Python used when "Run" button in our in-browser editor is pressed.

Each system image has a range of available Python versions. When one of those defaults is not available after the system image change it will be automatically set to the most recent available Python version.

For example you might have your system image set to "glastonbury" with the default python3 set to python3.5. You update your system image to "haggis" in which Python 3.5 is not available any more. So your default python3 is automatically set to python3.10 which is the default "haggis" Python version.

Available Python versions for system images

2.7 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10
fishnchips X X X X X
glastonbury X X X X X X
haggis X X X X X X

Python packages installed

We don not preinstall packages into all Python versions in all system images. You can check what packages are installed in which system image here.

Database Server Versions

Changing the system image will not affect your database servers. Only client tools will be updated.

To update your MySQL or PostgreSQL server version, you need to contact support at, and they will handle the update for you. Updating the server version involves a brief downtime for your account, so a convenient time can be agreed upon.

Base Ubuntu version for each system image

Ubuntu version
fishnchips 16.04
glastonbury 20.04
haggis 20.04