Python is one of the four languages that has an official Prometheus client. Let's take a quick look at how to use it.


The first thing to do is to install the client:

pip install prometheus_client

Next you have to decide where to start instrumenting. A good way to start is to find a natural choke point such as a request router which most execution will pass through.

Let's say you had a very simple routing function:

HANDLERS = {'/foo': some_function, '/bar': other_function}

def route_request(request):

This is part of an online serving system, so we would like to know request rate, errors and latency:

from prometheus_client import Summary, Counter

HANDLERS = {'/foo': some_function, '/bar': other_function}

REQUEST_DURATION = Summary('my_router_request_latency_seconds',
        'Latency of request router handlers', ['path'])
REQUEST_EXCEPTIONS = Counter('my_router_request_exceptions_total',
        'Exceptions thrown in request router handlers', ['path'])

def route_request(request):
    with REQUEST_DURATION.labels(request.path).time():
        with REQUEST_EXCEPTIONS.labels(request.path).count_exceptions()

This creates a Summary to track the latency, and a Counter to track exceptions. The Summary will include the number of requests, so you don't technically have to have a separate Counter for that in order to calculate exception ratio.

This is all split out by a label on path, so to ensure we're exporting time series for all paths even before they're first used we should initialise them:

for k in HANDLERS.keys():

Instrumentation like this can be added throughout your codebase.


Finally we need to expose the data to Prometheus. This only needs to be done once, often in your __main__. The simplest way is to start up a server on a port for Prometheus, but it's also possible to expose via frameworks like Django.

from prometheus_client import start_http_server

if __name__ == '__main__':


Prometheus is an open ecosystem, so instrumentation like the above doesn't limit you to Prometheus itself. It's just as easy to talk out to a completely different monitoring tool such as Graphite!


Have questions about instrumenting with Prometheus? Contact us.