How do you run a Python script as a service in Windows? – Dev

The best answers to the question “How do you run a Python script as a service in Windows?” in the category Dev.

QUESTION:

I am sketching the architecture for a set of programs that share various interrelated objects stored in a database. I want one of the programs to act as a service which provides a higher level interface for operations on these objects, and the other programs to access the objects through that service.

I am currently aiming for Python and the Django framework as the technologies to implement that service with. I’m pretty sure I figure how to daemonize the Python program in Linux. However, it is an optional spec item that the system should support Windows. I have little experience with Windows programming and no experience at all with Windows services.

Is it possible to run a Python programs as a Windows service (i. e. run it automatically without user login)? I won’t necessarily have to implement this part, but I need a rough idea how it would be done in order to decide whether to design along these lines.

Edit: Thanks for all the answers so far, they are quite comprehensive. I would like to know one more thing: How is Windows aware of my service? Can I manage it with the native Windows utilities? What is the equivalent of putting a start/stop script in /etc/init.d?

ANSWER:

The simplest way is to use the: NSSM – the Non-Sucking Service Manager. Just download and unzip to a location of your choosing. It’s a self-contained utility, around 300KB (much less than installing the entire pywin32 suite just for this purpose) and no “installation” is needed. The zip contains a 64-bit and a 32-bit version of the utility. Either should work well on current systems (you can use the 32-bit version to manage services on 64-bit systems).

GUI approach

1 – install the python program as a service. Open a Win prompt as admin

c:\>nssm.exe install WinService


2 – On NSSM´s GUI console:

path: C:\Python27\Python27.exe

Startup directory: C:\Python27

Arguments: c:\WinService.py

3 – check the created services on services.msc

Scripting approach (no GUI)

This is handy if your service should be part of an automated, non-interactive procedure, that may be beyond your control, such as a batch or installer script. It is assumed that the commands are executed with administrative privileges.

For convenience the commands are described here by simply referring to the utility as nssm.exe. It is advisable, however, to refer to it more explicitly in scripting with its full path c:\path\to\nssm.exe, since it’s a self-contained executable that may be located in a private path that the system is not aware of.

1. Install the service

You must specify a name for the service, the path to the proper Python executable, and the path to the script:

nssm.exe install ProjectService "c:\path\to\python.exe" "c:\path\to\project\app\main.py"


More explicitly:

nssm.exe install ProjectService
nssm.exe set ProjectService Application "c:\path\to\python.exe"
nssm.exe set ProjectService AppParameters "c:\path\to\project\app\main.py"


Alternatively you may want your Python app to be started as a Python module. One easy approach is to tell nssm that it needs to change to the proper starting directory, as you would do yourself when launching from a command shell:

nssm.exe install ProjectService "c:\path\to\python.exe" "-m app.main"
nssm.exe set ProjectService AppDirectory "c:\path\to\project"


This approach works well with virtual environments and self-contained (embedded) Python installs. Just make sure to have properly resolved any path issues in those environments with the usual methods. nssm has a way to set environment variables (e.g. PYTHONPATH) if needed, and can also launch batch scripts.

2. To start the service

nssm.exe start ProjectService


3. To stop the service

nssm.exe stop ProjectService


4. To remove the service, specify the confirm parameter to skip the interactive confirmation.

nssm.exe remove ProjectService confirm


ANSWER:

Yes you can. I do it using the pythoncom libraries that come included with ActivePython or can be installed with pywin32 (Python for Windows extensions).

This is a basic skeleton for a simple service:

import win32serviceutil
import win32service
import win32event
import servicemanager
import socket

class AppServerSvc (win32serviceutil.ServiceFramework):
_svc_name_ = "TestService"
_svc_display_name_ = "Test Service"

def __init__(self,args):
win32serviceutil.ServiceFramework.__init__(self,args)
self.hWaitStop = win32event.CreateEvent(None,0,0,None)
socket.setdefaulttimeout(60)

def SvcStop(self):
self.ReportServiceStatus(win32service.SERVICE_STOP_PENDING)
win32event.SetEvent(self.hWaitStop)

def SvcDoRun(self):
servicemanager.LogMsg(servicemanager.EVENTLOG_INFORMATION_TYPE,
servicemanager.PYS_SERVICE_STARTED,
(self._svc_name_,''))
self.main()

def main(self):
pass

if __name__ == '__main__':
win32serviceutil.HandleCommandLine(AppServerSvc)


Your code would go in the main() method—usually with some kind of infinite loop that might be interrupted by checking a flag, which you set in the SvcStop method

ANSWER:

The simplest way to achieve this is to use native command sc.exe:

sc create PythonApp binPath= "C:\Python34\Python.exe --C:\tmp\pythonscript.py"


References:

1. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc990289(v=ws.11).aspx
2. When creating a service with sc.exe how to pass in context parameters?

ANSWER:

Although I upvoted the chosen answer a couple of weeks back, in the meantime I struggled a lot more with this topic. It feels like having a special Python installation and using special modules to run a script as a service is simply the wrong way. What about portability and such?

I stumbled across the wonderful Non-sucking Service Manager, which made it really simple and sane to deal with Windows Services. I figured since I could pass options to an installed service, I could just as well select my Python executable and pass my script as an option.

I have not yet tried this solution, but I will do so right now and update this post along the process. I am also interested in using virtualenvs on Windows, so I might come up with a tutorial sooner or later and link to it here.