A socket-based remote debugger for Python

pip install sdb==1.8



A socket-based remote debugger for Python. Based on celery.contrib.rdb.



Use the sdb library to set remote breakpoints in any non-interactive or background Python code and debug interactively over a telnet session:

   # some/python/

   class SomeCode(object):

       def run(self, **kwargs):
           # This will set a breakpoint and open an interactive Python
           # debugger exposed on a random port between 6899-6999.  The chosen
           # port will be reported as a warning
           # Remote Debugger:6900: Please telnet into 6900.
           # You can access it from your host machine using telnet:
           # $ telnet <hostname> <port>
           import sdb

Keep in mind that when you interactively debug in this way, any process that encounters a breakpoint will wait until an active client is established and concludes the debugging session with a continue command.

Automatically Connecting to Breakpoints

To simplify remote debugging session management, you can use sdb-listen to automatically discover open remote debugging sessions and connect to them:

   $ sdb-listen

This will open a Python process that listens for new debugger sessions and automatically connects to them for you. If your breakpoint is run on an entirely different host (e.g. you can optionally specify the hostname where sdb-listen is running:

   import sdb

For OSX users, the Docker for Mac application relies on a separate virtual machine running the containers. A unique hostname is advertised to containers pointing back to the virtual machine called:

The breakpoint can then be configured to use that host so that it works seamlessly in a Mac:

   import sdb

The sdb-listen tool also includes support for tab-completion and history tracking.

Configuration with Environment Variables

It is possible to set environment variables to configure sdb, which allows to avoid remembering hosts and ports at the time of setting the breakpoints.

  • SDB_HOST : Defaults to and it is the address that sdb should bind to.
  • SDB_PORT : Defaults to 6899, and it is the port used to bind (used with SDB_HOST). Note that sdb has a range of ports from 6899 to 6999.
  • SDB_NOTIFY_HOST : To advertise a different host, useful for a separate remote host like in the case of Docker for Mac.
  • SDB_CONTEXT_LINES : How much context should get printed when a breakpoint is reached. Defaults to 60.
  • SDB_COLORIZE : Toggle to enable or disable colorized output. Defaults to enabled.

Triggering sdb with a Signal

If you want to debug a running process without setting a specific breakpoint, a set_trace() call can be triggered via SIGTRAP:

import sdb

$ kill -5 <pid-of-process>

This is particularly useful for investigating Python processes that appear to be hung.

Docker Compose Examples

If using Docker Compose, it is useful to open the range of ports that sdb supports, as well as injecting the environment variables to configure the connection.

For example:

    - SDB_HOST=
    - SDB_PORT=6899

It is useful to define a range of ports that sdb can use:

    - "6899-6999:6899-6999"

Other Tips

sdb supports the same commands and aliases as Python's default pdb implementation.

sdb colorizes output by default. To disable this:

   import sdb

sdb includes a few additional debugger aliases that make interactive debugging more pleasant:

  • Prefix commands with an integer to repeat them. For example, 10n is the same as running next 10 times in a row.
  • ? is the same as calling dir()
  • ?? can be added to the end of a function call to view its source lines e.g., might print:
def post(url, data=None, json=None, **kwargs):
    r"""Sends a POST request.

    :param url: URL for the new :class:`Request` object.
    :param data: (optional) Dictionary (will be form-encoded), bytes, or file-like object to send in the body of the :class:`Request`.
    :param json: (optional) json data to send in the body of the :class:`Request`.
    :param \*\*kwargs: Optional arguments that ``request`` takes.
    :return: :class:`Response <Response>` object
    :rtype: requests.Response

    return request('post', url, data=data, json=json, **kwargs)
  • By default, sdb attempts to fill your entire console with debugger output (representing the current line position for the current frame). You can adjust the height of sdb's draw window with the lines command, e.g., lines 15.