Resolving "ModuleNotFoundError: No module named encodings" in Python


Python is a powerful and versatile programming language, but sometimes you may encounter errors that seem perplexing. One such error is the "ModuleNotFoundError: No module named encodings". This error can occur due to various reasons, and in this Byte, we will explore how to resolve it.

Why did I get this error?

Before we get into the solution, let's first understand the error. The "ModuleNotFoundError: No module named encodings" error usually occurs when Python cannot locate the encodings module. This module is crucial for Python to function properly because it contains the necessary encodings that Python uses to convert bytes into strings and vice versa.

>>> import encodings
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'encodings'

This error message indicates that Python is unable to locate the 'encodings' module.

Note: The encodings module is a built-in Python module, and its absence can be due to incorrect installation or configuration of Python.

Setting Python in your System's PATH

One of the common reasons for this error is that Python is not correctly set up in your system's PATH. The PATH is an environment variable on Unix-like operating systems, DOS, OS/2, and Microsoft Windows, specifying a set of directories where executable programs are located.

To add Python to the system's PATH, you need to locate your Python installation directory and add it to the PATH environment variable.

In Unix-like operating systems, you can add Python to your PATH by editing the .bashrc or .bash_profile file in your home directory. Add the following line, replacing /path/to/python with the actual path to your Python installation:

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$ echo 'export PATH="/path/to/python:$PATH"' >> ~/.bashrc

In Windows, you can add Python to your PATH by editing the system environment variables:

  1. Right-click on 'Computer' and click on 'Properties'.
  2. Click on 'Advanced system settings'.
  3. Click on 'Environment Variables'.
  4. In the system variables section, find the 'Path' variable, select it, and click on 'Edit'.
  5. In the 'Variable value' field, append the path to your Python installation with a semicolon (;) before it.
  6. Click 'OK' to close all dialog boxes.

After adding Python to your PATH, you should be able to import the encodings module without any issues.


In this Byte, we've explored the 'ModuleNotFoundError: No module named encodings' error in Python and discussed a common solution - adding Python to your system's PATH.

If you're still facing issues, you may need to reinstall Python. This process varies depending on your operating system, so be sure to look up specific instructions for your OS.

Last Updated: August 18th, 2023
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