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A Python implementation of OpenPGP

Project description


python-pgp aims to reproduce the full functionality of GnuPG in Python. It may also be used for creating raw OpenPGP packets and packet streams for test purposes. This may be a bit of a heavyweight solution for some purposes.

This is a fork of the original library - the original one does not seem to be active and/or have a PyPI package.


Other Python packages which provide related functionality:

  • pyassuan - communicate with GnuPG using its socket protocol.

  • pgpdump - a pure python library for parsing OpenPGP packets.

  • gnupg - a wrapper around the GnuPG executable.

  • python-gnupg - another wrapper around the GnuPG executable.

  • gpgkeys - another wrapper around the GnuPG executable.

  • gpglib - a pure python library for parsing OpenPGP packets and decrypting messages.

  • OpenPGP - an unmaintained pure python library with much of the functionality of old versions of GnuPG.

  • encryptedfile - a pure python library for symmetrically encrypting files in an OpenPGP-compatible way.

  • PGPy - a pure python library with basic parsing and signing of OpenPGP packets.

  • OpenPGP-Python - a pure python port of openpgp-php. It can parse OpenPGP packets and verify & create signatures.

System requirements

  • build-essential

For Twofish support

  • libtwofish-dev


pip install pgp

with Twofish support:

pip install pgp[twofish]

with Camellia support:

pip install pgp[camellia]

with Twofish & Camellia support:

pip install pgp[camellia,twofish]


High level

Parsing a message

from pgp import read_message
message = read_message(data)

Parsing a transferrable key

from pgp import read_key
key = read_key(data)

Loading the GnuPG database

from pgp import get_gnupg_db
db = get_gnupg_db()
key ='Joe')[0]

Retrieving a key from a keyserver and creating a message for it

>>> import datetime
>>> from pgp import *
>>> from pgp.keyserver import get_keyserver
>>> ks = get_keyserver('hkp://')
>>> results ='Joe Bloggs')
>>> recipient_key = results[0].get()
>>> message = message.TextMessage(
...     u"This message was encrypted using Python PGP",
>>> my_secret_key = read_key_file('secret_key.gpg')
>>> my_secret_key.unlock('My passphrase')
>>> message = message.sign(my_secret_key)
>>> message = message.compress(2)  # Compression algorithm 2
>>> message = message.public_key_encrypt(9, recipient_key)
>>> message_packets = message.to_packets()
>>> message_data = b''.join(map(bytes, message_packets))
>>> armored_message = armor.ASCIIArmor(
...     armor.PGP_MESSAGE, message_data)
>>> file_handle = open('message.asc', 'w')
>>> file_handle.write(str(armored_message))
>>> file_handle.close()

Low level

Parsing a packet stream

from pgp.packets import parsers

Serializing a packet

from pgp.packets import parsers
packets = parsers.parse_binary_packet_data(packet_data)
b''.join(map(bytes, packets))


If you are using this package to handle private key data and decryption, please note that there is no (reasonable) way currently in Python to securely erase memory and that copies of things are made often and in non-obvious ways. If you are concerned about key data being compromised by a memory leak, do not use this package for handling secret key data. On the other hand, “if your memory is constantly being compromised, I would re-think your security setup.”

OpenPGP uses compression algorithms. Beware when feeding untrusted data into this library of Zip bomb or similar denial of service attacks.


The main repository for this package is on GitHub. To develop on the package and install development dependencies, clone the repository and install the ‘dev’ extras.:

git clone
cd python-pgp
virtualenv .
bin/pip install -e ".[dev]"

Running tests

bin/python nosetests

Building documentation

bin/python build_sphinx


Copyright (C) 2014 Richard Mitchell

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see <>.

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