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hostess provides lightweight, Pythonic interfaces to distributed resources, system processes, and Python internals. It includes high-level modules that provide special functionality for working with EC2 instances and S3 buckets, and a framework (station) for workflow coordination -- along with all their lower-level building blocks.

hostess reduces syntactic headaches and boilerplate while still allowing low-level manipulation and, more broadly, still feeling like code. hostess has a special emphasis on fitting intuitively and idiomatically into common data science and scientific analysis workflows, but it is fundamentally a general-purpose utility and administration library.


hostess is available on PyPI and conda-forge. We recommend installing it into a Conda environment using mamba: mamba install -n my_environment -c conda-forge hostess.

The conda-forge package installs all optional dependencies other than those for tests and Notebooks. If you require more granular control over dependencies, please install from source.


In addition to the API reference on this RTD site, the hostess GitHub repository includes Jupyter Notebooks that offer detailed tutorials for using hostess to interact with AWS EC2 instances and S3 buckets: examples/ec2.ipynb and examples/s3.ipynb. These Notebooks have two additional dependencies: jupyter and pillow. Additional tutorials are forthcoming.


  1. hostess's core features are closely linked to the shell, so it is only fully compatible with Unix-scented operating systems. Linux and MacOS count, as does Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Windows outside of WSL doesn't.
  2. Some hostess modules require network access, specifically ssh and the aws submodules. The aws submodules also require an AWS account. See the example Notebooks for more details on this.
  3. hostess requires Python >= 3.9.
  4. hostess is very lightweight. If a machine has enough resources to run a Python interpreter, it can probably run hostess.
  5. hostess.station is not fully compatible with MacOS or WSL. MacOS and WSL compatibility is planned. All other parts of hostess are compatible with MacOS and WSL.


hostess is a reliable and fairly feature-complete beta in active use on multiple projects. However, we do not yet guarantee interface stability or backwards compatibility.

Also, as with any system administration software, we recommend using it very carefully.


hostess includes a simple test suite compatible with pytest. More comprehensive tests are planned. (In particular, non-local networking features currently lack test coverage.) You can run the tests by executing pytest -s in the root directory. The -s flag is mandatory because pytest captures stdout by default, which breaks some hostess features covered by the tests.

Tests require two additional dependencies: pytest and pillow.


You can do almost anything with this software that you like, subject only to the extremely permissive terms of the BSD 3-Clause License.