Five steps to create your own PythonAnywhere AI guru, on PythonAnywhere
AI is the coolest thing in tech right now, but getting an AI-powered website up and running can seem pretty daunting. Luckily, there
are a bunch of useful tools to make it easier.
A while back we started seeing if we could use large language models to
provide a helpful assistant for PythonAnywhere; we found that the capabilities (and perhaps more importantly, our own AI skills) aren’t quite there yet,
but it was a lot of fun, and
it felt like it would be a good basis for a new tutorial :-)
So, would you like to create your own personal PythonAnywhere guru – albeit one that occasionally gets things wrong or makes things up?
This tutorial shows you how to set up a website that uses OpenAI’s libraries,
but can answer questions about our site with more in-depth knowledge than ChatGPT has on its own. We’ll also touch on how to run
much simpler AI models on PythonAnywhere itself, without needing to use external APIs. It’s meant as a jumping-off point – you’ll build
something and understand it well enough that you can start customizing it to do something you want to do.
Outage report 9 October 2023
On 2023-10-09 we had an unplanned outage. While we were preparing our systems for a scheduled system update the
following morning, we faced some issues. These in themselves would not have caused problems, but responding to them
resulted in the accidental termination of the old, running cluster’s machines at 15:22 UTC. To avoid additional
downtime, we decided to do the planned update to recover the service. It took longer than expected, but we were able to
get all hosted websites up and running by 17:30 UTC; unfortunately always-on tasks took longer and were only fully
working by 21:42 UTC.
Now that we’re part of Anaconda,
we’re growing the team so that we can do more, faster :-)
Right now we’re looking for a senior engineer with lots of experience in backend
stuff, but an interest in working across the full stack from obscure kernel wrangling,
custom Linux container-based virtualization, Django and Flask on the mid-tier,
up to TypeScript and React on the front end. There’s even a (tiny) bit of Lua
thrown in there.
We’re an Extreme Programming team
so you’ll be pairing with other team members from day one. All work is remote (bar
occasional team meetups), and
we can currently hire people based in the UK or in Germany.
There’s more detailed information about the role on the official Anaconda jobs board,
and you can also apply there – or you can also drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Slightly late announcement of latest updates
Updated on 25 August 2022 (US) and 9 August 2022 (EU)!
Here is a slightly delayed (and short) run-down of the new stuff that we
The main addition for this update is a new system image.
It’s name is “haggis” and it has Python 3.10! There are also a number of new Python
packages installed. See our batteries included page
for a full list. There are also many new system libraries installed. You can
learn about system images and how to change yours
We have also:
- Updated Jupyter notebooks - updated notebooks are only available when you
are running the new “haggis” system image
- Fixed a number of security issues
- Fixed various bugs
Our Commitment to Providing Free Accounts
Managing fraud and abuse of free products is a challenge that nearly every SaaS
company contends with, but too often the perceived solution is to simply end
free accounts. We’ve seen this happen time and again across the open-source
ecosystem, most recently from Heroku,
and we fear this comes at the detriment of the community.
We believe we’ve found a better way to solve this problem and are therefore
committed to maintaining free PythonAnywhere accounts for the foreseeable
future. Yes, this does cost us money and we do need to handle fraud and abuse,
but over the 10 years we’ve been running we’ve found that the benefits to the
community and to the service itself outweigh the costs.
We are hiring!
As you probably already know, PythonAnywhere is now part of the Anaconda family! As we expected Anaconda’s investment in PythonAnywhere will allow us to expand and improve to better serve our users. So we’re starting to grow our team, and first time since 2014 we’re officially hiring!
If you are an experienced frontend developer who wants to get their feet wet with the backend stuff, we might be looking for you.
Anaconda Acquisition FAQs
In June 2022, Anaconda announced its acquisition of PythonAnywhere. This acquisition expands Python team collaboration in the cloud and adds capabilities designed to unite teams and create access to more robust cloud resources. We’ve compiled the following list of frequently asked questions to aid users in navigating the transition.
– Will this affect my PythonAnywhere account?
For now, it won’t! There are no plans to change PythonAnywhere user accounts, and you can continue to use yours as usual without interruption.
File storage security update
Last Wednesday, a security researcher working under our bug bounty program found a way that they could access one account’s file storage from another by using the “Dirty Pipe” Linux kernel vulnerability. We put a mitigation system in place to stop that from happening, and then on Thursday we were able to patch the underlying issue. On Friday, another researcher found a similar issue, which the mitigation system we’d put in place originally made relatively harmless – we were able to patch that one within minutes.
Accessing the files API using our new CLI tool
The new release of the
pythonanywhere helper scripts package introduces
new commands covering our files API.
More secure websites on PythonAnywhere: sunsetting TLS 1.0 and 1.1
As of this week, websites hosted on PythonAnywhere using HTTPS will only be accessible using
modern versions of TLS (the encryption protocol on which HTTPS is based) by default. This
will make them all more secure.
We can still support older versions of TLS for custom domains if you need to support them, but
you’ll need to get in touch with us to get it set up.
We’ve written a help page with
the background – please let us know in the comments if there’s anything confusing there!