One error that you might encounter when working with Python is:
ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'bs4'
This error occurs when Python can’t find the
bs4 module in your current Python environment.
This tutorial shows examples that cause this error and how to fix it.
How to reproduce the error
Suppose you want to use the Beautiful Soup 4 library to work with HTML and XML files.
You import the
BeautifulSoup class from the
bs4 module in your code as follows:
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup soup = BeautifulSoup("<h1>Hello World!</h1>", "html.parser") print(soup.get_text())
But you get the following error when running the code:
Traceback (most recent call last): File "main.py", line 1, in <module> from bs4 import BeautifulSoup ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'bs4'
This error occurs because the
bs4 module is not a built-in Python module, so you need to install it before using it.
How to fix this error
To resolve this error, you need to install the
beautifulsoup4 library using
pip as shown below:
pip install beautifulsoup4 # For pip3: pip3 install beautifulsoup4
Once the module is installed, you should be able to run the code that imports
bs4 without receiving this error.
Install commands for other environments
The install command might differ depending on what environment you used to run the Python code.
Here’s a list of common install commands in popular Python environments:
# if you don't have pip in your PATH: python -m pip install beautifulsoup4 python3 -m pip install beautifulsoup4 # Windows py -m pip install beautifulsoup4 # Anaconda conda install -c anaconda beautifulsoup4 # Jupyter Notebook !pip install beautifulsoup4
Once the module is installed, you should be able to run the code without receiving this error.
Other common causes for this error
If you still see the error even after installing the module, it means that the
bs4 module can’t be found in your Python environment.
There are several reasons why this error can happen:
- You may have multiple versions of Python installed on your system, and you are using a different version of Python than the one where Beautiful Soup is installed.
- You might have Beautiful Soup installed in a virtual environment, and you are not activating the virtual environment before running your code.
- Your IDE uses a different version of Python from the one that has Beautiful Soup
Let’s see how to fix these errors in practice.
Handling multiple versions of Python
If you have multiple versions of Python installed on your system, you need to make sure that you are using the specific version where the Beautiful Soup module is available.
You can test this by running the
which -a python or
which -a python3 command from the terminal:
$ which -a python3 /opt/homebrew/bin/python3 /usr/bin/python3
In the example above, there are two versions of Python installed on
Suppose you run the following steps in your project:
- Install Beautiful Soup with
- Install Python using Homebrew, you have Python in
- Then you run
from bs4 import BeautifulSoupin your code
The steps above will cause the error because Beautiful Soup is installed in
/usr/bin/, and your code is probably executed using Python from
To solve this error, you need to run
pip install beautifulsoup4 command again so that Beautiful Soup is installed and accessible by the new Python version.
Next, you can also have Beautiful Soup installed in a virtual environment.
Handling Python virtual environment
venv package allows you to create a virtual environment where you can install different versions of packages required by your project.
If you are installing
beautifulsoup4 inside a virtual environment, then the module won’t be accessible outside of that environment.
You can see if a virtual environment is activated or not by looking at your command prompt.
When a virtual environment is activated, the name of that environment will be shown inside parentheses as shown below:
In the picture above, the name of the virtual environment
(base) appears when the Conda virtual environment is activated.
You need to turn off the virtual environment so that
pip installs to your computer.
When your virtual environment is created by Conda, run the
conda deactivate command. Otherwise, running the
deactivate command should work.
Handle IDE using a different Python version
Finally, the IDE from where you run your Python code may use a different Python version when you have multiple versions installed.
For example, you can check the Python interpreter used in VSCode by opening the command palette (
CTRL + Shift + P for Windows and
⌘ + Shift + P for Mac) then run the
Python: Select Interpreter command.
You should see all available Python versions listed as follows:
You need to use the same version where you installed Beautiful Soup so that the module can be found when you run the code from VSCode.
Once done, you should be able to import Beautiful Soup into your code.
In summary, the
ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'bs4' error occurs when the
beautifulsoup4 library is not available in your Python environment. To fix this error, you need to install
If you already have the module installed, make sure you are using the correct version of Python, deactivate the virtual environment if you have one, and check for the Python version used by your IDE.
By following these steps, you should be able to import
BeautifulSoup class from the
bs4 module in your code successfully.
I hope this tutorial is helpful. Until next time! 👋