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Class library for writing Nagios (Icinga) plugins

Project description

The nagiosplugin library


nagiosplugin is a Python class library which helps writing Nagios (or Icinga) compatible plugins easily in Python. It cares for much of the boilerplate code and default logic commonly found in Nagios checks, including:

  • Nagios 3 Plugin API compliant parameters and output formatting

  • Full Nagios range syntax support

  • Automatic threshold checking

  • Multiple independend measures

  • Custom status line to communicate the main point quickly

  • Long output and performance data

  • Timeout handling

  • Persistent “cookies” to retain state information between check runs

  • Resume log file processing at the point where the last run left

  • No dependencies beyond the Python standard library (except for Python 2.6).

nagiosplugin runs on POSIX and Windows systems. It is compatible with Python 2.7, and Python 3.4 through 3.7.

Feedback and Suggestions

nagiosplugin is currently maintained by Matt Pounsett <>. A public issue tracker can be found at <> for bugs, suggestions, and patches.


The nagiosplugin package is released under the Zope Public License 2.1 (ZPL), a BSD-style Open Source license.


Comprehensive documentation is available online. The examples mentioned in the tutorials can also be found in the nagiosplugin/examples directory of the source distribution.


nagiosplugin was originally written and maintained by Christian Kauhaus <>. Additional contributions from the community are acknowledged in the file CONTRIBUTORS.txt

Contributing to Nagiosplugin

Getting the source

The source can be obtained via git from

git clone

This package supports installation in a virtualenv:

python3 -m venv .
pip install -e .

Making Changes

This project uses the Git-flow workflow, approximately as laid out by Vincent Driessen in 2010. New development should be done in feature branches, which are branched off of the develop branch. PRs should be sent to upstream:develop.

Consider whether your change updates or fixes any existing issues. Include the appropriate “fixes” or “updates” entry in your PR description so that the issue is updated. If your change does not reference an existing issue, consider creating an issue to link it to.

The project uses PEP8 as its style guide. All changes should be checked against PEP8 before committing, and commits MUST conform to PEP8 before sending a PR. PEP8 tests can be run with the tox -e flake8 command (see Tests below for details on setting up the tox environment). PRs that fail PEP8 compliance will be refused.

Note that, at present, much of the old codebase gets warnings related to the pylint and pydocstyle tests. Your changes must not introduce any new warnings from these tests.

If your change is a new feature, or otherwise alters the behaviour of nagiosplugin, update the relevant section of the documentation and include that in your PR.


nagiosplugin tests are run by tox, which is configured to expect all of the supported python versions to be present. The easiest way to accomplish this is by installing and using pyenv.

Once you have pyenv set up, make sure you have each of the supported versions of python specified by the envlist in tox.ini. This will likely look something like:

pyenv install 2.7.18
pyenv install 3.4.10
pyenv install 3.5.10
pyenv install 3.6.15
pyenv install 3.7.12
pyenv install 3.8.12
pyenv install 3.9.9
pyenv install 3.10.1
pyenv global 3.10.1 3.9.9 3.8.12 3.7.12 3.6.15 3.5.10 3.4.10 2.7.18 system

Install test dependencies:

pip install -r requirements_test.txt

After doing so, run the unit tests:


To limit tests to a particular python environment:

tox -e py37

Run only PEP8 linting tests:

tox -e flake8

nagiosplugin also includes support for test coverage reports. Coverage reports are updated automatically by tox. Open htmlcov/index.html to see coverage reports.

You may run the supplied examples with the local interpreter:

python3 nagiosplugin/examples/


The documentation depends on Sphinx. Install the necessary dependencies, and then build the documentation:

pip install -r requirements_docs.txt
make docs

HTML documentation will be built and installed in doc/_build/html/. You can read the documentation by opening doc/_build/html/index.html.


This information will be unnecessary for most contributors. It is only relevant to those actually making releases.


nagiosplugin obeys the semantic version numbering specification published on SemVer, adapted slightly to be PEP 440 compliant.

How to release

Instructions below are for a hypothetical 0.1.2 release. Make sure you use the correct version numbers for your release, and don’t copy and paste the below examples.

Begin by making sure you have the build prerequisites installed:

pip install -r requirements_build.txt

Create a release branch from develop:

git checkout develop
git checkout -b release/0.1.2

Check that all tests pass. Apply hotfixes as necessary to pass all tests before continuing.

Update the version number in nagiosplugin/, and update the version release date in the HISTORY.txt file:

sed -i '' -e 's/\(__VERSION__ =\).*/\1 "0.1.2"/' nagiosplugin/
sed -i '' -e 's/0.1.2 (unreleased)/0.1.2 (2019-11-07)/' HISTORY.txt

You may need to update the HISTORY.txt file with additional changes. You can get a list of commits since the last release by generating a reverse log, which you can edit down to just a list of relevant changes:

git log --reverse --no-merges 0.1.1... > new-changes.txt

Commit the updated history and version files, making sure both of the file changes are in the same commit. For a new version 0.1.2:

git stage HISTORY.txt nagiosplugin/
git commit -m "Preparing release 0.1.2"

Merge the release into the main branch and tag the release:

git checkout main
git merge release/0.1.2
git tag 0.1.2
git push
git push --tags

Build the nagiosplugin distribution for PyPi:

python3 sdist bdist_wheel

Check the contents of the packages in dist/ to ensure they contain all of the expected files.

Test your package prior to uploading:

twine check dist/dist/nagiosplugin-0.1.2.tar.gz

Do a test upload with TestPyPi:

twine upload --repository-url dist/*

Check on that the package metadata looks correct. If everything is fine, upload the release:

twine upload dist/*

Merge the release back into develop and then delete the release branch:

git checkout develop
git merge release/0.1.2
git push
git branch -d release/0.1.2

Go to and ensure the new stable and dev releases are available.


nagiosplugin has become what it is now with the help of many contributors from the community. We want to thank everyone who has invested time and energy to make nagiosplugin better:

Release History

1.3.3 (2022-02-07)

  • new: adding support for newer python releases (3.8, 3.9, 3.10)

  • fix: various typos in docstrings (#39, )

  • fix: change use of deprecated upload-dir to upload_dir in setup.cfg (#34)

  • fix: Runtime class now sets None for stdout by default (#24)

  • fix: corrected argument order in several calls to super() (#18)

  • cleanup: many bits of code tidying to eliminate linter warnings

1.3.2 (2019-11-09)

  • Include doc and tests directories in source distribution to support Gentoo package building tests (#22)

  • Update official python support to 2.7, 3.4+ in README

1.3.1 (2019-11-08)

  • Fixed a packaging bug

1.3.0 (2019-11-08)

  • New maintainer/contributor information and project home

  • Updated tests and package metadata for recent Python 3 versions

  • Newer tooling for tests/documentation

1.2.4 (2016-03-12)

  • Add optional keyword parameter verbose to Runtime.guarded(). This parameter allows to set verbose level in the early execution phase (#13).

  • Allow Context.evaluate() return either a Result or ServiceState object. In case the latter is returned, it gets automatically wrapped in a Result object (#6).

1.2.3 (2015-10-30)

  • Fix bug that caused a UnicodeDecodeError when using non-ASCII characters in fmt_metric (#12).

  • Print perfdata always on a single line (even in multi-line mode) to improve compatibility with various monitoring systems (#11).

1.2.2 (2014-05-27)

  • Mention that nagiosplugin also runs with Python 3.4 (no code changes necessary).

  • Make name prefix in status output optional by allowing to assign None to

  • Accept bare metric as return value from Resource.probe().

  • Fix bug where Context.describe() was not used to obtain metric description (#13162).

1.2.1 (2014-03-19)

  • Fix build failures with LANG=C (#13140).

  • Remove length limitation of perfdata labels (#13214).

  • Fix formatting of large integers as Metric values (#13287).

  • Range: allow simple numerals as argument to Range() (#12658).

  • Cookie: allow for empty state file specification (#12788).

1.2 (2013-11-08)

  • New Summary.empty method is called if there are no results present (#11593).

  • Improve range violation wording (#11597).

  • Ensure that nagiosplugin install correctly with current setuptools (#12660).

  • Behave and do not attach anything to the root logger.

  • Add debugging topic guide. Explain how to disable the timeout when using pdb (#11592).

1.1 (2013-06-19)

  • Identical to 1.1b1.

1.1b1 (2013-05-28)

  • Made compatible with Python 2.6 (#12297).

  • Tutorial #3: check_users (#11539).

  • Minor documentation improvements.

1.0.0 (2013-02-05)

  • LogTail returns lines as byte strings in Python 3 to avoid codec issues (#11564).

  • LogTail gives a line-based iterator instead of a file object (#11564).

  • Basic API docs for the most important classes (#11612).

  • Made compatible with Python 2.7 (#11533).

  • Made compatible with Python 3.3.

1.0.0b1 (2012-10-29)

  • Improve error reporting for missing contexts.

  • Exit with code 3 if no metrics have been generated.

  • Improve default Summary.verbose() to list all threshold violations.

  • Move main source repository to (#11561).

1.0.0a2 (2012-10-26)

  • API docs for the most important classes (#7939).

  • Added two tutorials (#9425).

  • Fix packaging issues.

1.0.0a1 (2012-10-25)

  • Completely reworked API. The new API is not compatible with the old 0.4 API so you must update your plugins.

  • Python 3 support.

  • The Cookie class is now basically a persistent dict and accepts key/value pairs. Cookie are stored as JSON files by default so they can be inspected by the system administrator (#9400).

  • New LogTail class which provides convenient access to constantly growing log files which are eventually rotated.

0.4.5 (2012-06-18)

  • Windows port. nagiosplugin code now runs under pywin32 (#10899).

  • Include examples in egg release (#9901).

0.4.4 (2011-07-18)

Bugfix release to fix issues reported by users.

  • Improve Mac OS X compatibility (#8755).

  • Include examples in distribution (#8555).

0.4.3 (2010-12-17)

  • Change __str__ representation of large numbers to avoid scientific notation.

0.4.2 (2010-10-11)

  • Packaging issues.

0.4.1 (2010-09-21)

  • Fix distribution to install correctly.

  • Documentation: tutorial and topic guides.

0.4 (2010-08-17)

  • Initial public release.

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