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OpenTelemetry Python Instrumentation

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Get up and running with OpenTelemetry in just a few quick steps!

The setup process consists of two phases:

  • Getting OpenTelemetry installed and configured
  • Validating that configuration to ensure that data is being sent as expected.

This guide explains how to download, install, and run OpenTelemetry in Python.


  • Python 3.4 or newer
  • An app to add OpenTelemetry to

We follow OpenTelemetry python instrumentation library. We shall be exporting data in Jaeger Thrift protocol.

pip3 install opentelemetry-distro
pip3 install opentelemetry-instrumentation
pip3 install opentelemetry-exporter-otlp

If it hangs while installing grpcio during pip3 install opentelemetry-exporter-otlp then follow below steps as suggested in this stackoverflow link

  • pip3 install --upgrade pip
  • python3 -m pip install --upgrade setuptools
  • pip3 install --no-cache-dir --force-reinstall -Iv grpcio

Retry installing opentelemetry-exporter-otlp by doing

  • pip3 install opentelemetry-exporter-otlp

The below command inspects the Python dependencies of your application and installs the instrumentation packages relevant for your Python application.

opentelemetry-bootstrap --action=install

If it says cannot find command opentelemetry-bootstrap then you need to specify the path of the file. In ubuntu, it is at /home/ubuntu/.local/bin/opentelemetry-bootstrap. So your command becomes, /home/ubuntu/.local/bin/opentelemetry-bootstrap --action=install


Run Command

Finally, to start sending data to SigNoz, use the following command:

OTEL_METRICS_EXPORTER=none<service_name> OTEL_EXPORTER_OTLP_ENDPOINT="http://<IP of SigNoz Backend>:4317"  opentelemetry-instrument <your run command>

<service_name> is the name of service you want

<your_run_command> can be python3 or flask run

  • If opentelemetry-instrument command is not found then use full path of executable. In ubuntu it is at /home/ubuntu/.local/bin/opentelemetry-instrument
  • Remember to allow incoming requests to port 4317 of machine where SigNoz backend is hosted


Instrumenting a sample Flask application

We have included a sample flask application with at

Feel free to use this repo to test out OpenTelemetry instrumentation and how to send telemetry data to SigNoz.


Instrumenting Django Applications

For instrumenting Django applications, the instructions are same as for a Flask app as mentioned above.

Though for Django, you must define DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE correctly. If your project is called mysite, somwthing like following should work

export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=mysite.settings

Please refer the official Django docs for more details


Running applications with Gunicorn, uWSGI

For application servers which are based on pre fork model like Gunicorn, uWSGI you have to add a post_fork hook or a postfork decorator in your configuration.

Check this documentation from OpenTelemetry om how to set it up.

Here's a working example where we have configured a gunicorn server with post_fork hook.


Troubleshooting your installation

If spans are not being reported to SigNoz, try running in debug mode by setting OTEL_LOG_LEVEL=debug:

The debug log level will print out the configuration information. It will also emit every span to the console, which should look something like:

Span {
attributes: {},
links: [],
events: [],
status: { code: 0 },
endTime: [ 1597810686, 885498645 ],
_ended: true,
_duration: [ 0, 43333 ],
name: 'bar',
spanContext: {
traceId: 'eca3cc297720bd705e734f4941bca45a',
spanId: '891016e5f8c134ad',
traceFlags: 1,
traceState: undefined
parentSpanId: 'cff3a2c6bfd4bbef',
kind: 0,
startTime: [ 1597810686, 885455312 ],
resource: Resource { labels: [Object] },
instrumentationLibrary: { name: 'example', version: '*' },
_logger: ConsoleLogger {
debug: [Function],
info: [Function],
warn: [Function],
error: [Function]
_traceParams: {
numberOfAttributesPerSpan: 32,
numberOfLinksPerSpan: 32,
numberOfEventsPerSpan: 128
_spanProcessor: MultiSpanProcessor { _spanProcessors: [Array] }