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An implementation of pytest.raises as a pytest.mark fixture

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A pytest plugin implementation of pytest.raises as a pytest.mark fixture.



Adds functionality for marking tests with a pytest.mark.raises fixture, which functions similarly to using with pytest.raises


  • python 2.7 or above
  • pytest 2.8.1 or above


You can install "pytest-raises" via pip from PyPI

$ pip install pytest-raises


Marking a test with the @pytest.mark.raises() or @pytest.mark.setup_raises decorator will mark that the code the test executes is expected to raise an error. This is different from @pytest.mark.xfail() as it does not mean the test itself might fail, but instead that the "pass" for the test is that the code raises an error.

It will allow tests which raise errors to pass. The main usage is to assert that an error of a specific type is raise.

If a test is marked with @pytest.mark.raises or @pytest.mark.setup_raises and it does not raise in the appropriate testing phase, the test will be failed.

Available Markers

This extension provides two markers for different phases of pytest:

  • @pytest.mark.raises: for marking a function that should raise during the pytest_runtest_call phase.
  • @pytest.mark.setup_raises: for marking a function that should raise during the pytest_runtest_setup phase.

Limitations on Markers

  1. Any test function decorated with @pytest.mark.setup_raises is assumed to have an empty function body

    def test_something():

    This is because pytest_runtest_call may still be executed depending on what raised when. So any code in the test function body may cause erroneous errors (particularly if you are using fixtures, since the fixture setup may be incomplete).

    See the @pytest.mark.setup_raises Examples for more information.

  2. Since the function body of anything decorated with @pytest.mark.setup_raises is assumed to be empty, test functions that are decorated with both @pytest.mark.raisesand @pytest.mark.setup_raises is not supported.

    The implementation details of this limitation are further documented in the _pytest_raises_validation function.

Available Parameters

Both markers accept the following optional parameters:

  • exception=<Some Exception Class>: the exact exception class that is expected to be raised.
  • message='some string': a verbatim message that is expected to be in the raised exception message. Note that when message is supplied, the check performed is essentially message in exception_message. So any substring can be used, but if the message is "too simple" you may get false positives.
  • match=r'some regular expression': a regular expression to be matched for in the raised exception message. Note that re.match is used (rather than This behavior is identical to the with pytest.raises context manager.
  • match_flags=<regular expression flags>: any regular expression flags desired to be used with the match argument. For example, match_flags=(re.IGNORECASE | re.DOTALL). No validity checks are performed on the specified flags, but you will receive an error when the match is performed and invalid flags are provided (since the re module will not understand the flags).

Note: the message and match arguments may not be supplied at the same time. Only one or the other may be provided.

@pytest.mark.raises Examples

A very simple example is:

import pytest

class SomeException(Exception):

class AnotherException(Exception):

def test_mark_raises_named():
    raise SomeException('the message')

def test_mark_raises_general():
    raise AnotherException('the message')

A more useful example using test parametrization is:

import pytest

class SomeException(Exception):

class AnotherException(Exception):

@pytest.mark.parametrize('error', [
        SomeException('the message'),
        AnotherException('the message'),
        Exception('the message'),
def test_mark_raises_demo(error):
    if error:
        raise error

All of these tests pass. These examples are actual tests for this plugin (exact test case is in test_pytest_raises_parametrize_demo test).

@pytest.mark.setup_raises Examples

Usage of the @pytest.mark.setup_raises decorator is likely to be uncommon, but when it is needed there is no known alternative. Consider the following contrived example, where in a we have the following check for some custom marker we are concerned about:

# in
def pytest_runtest_setup(item):
    custom_marker = item.get_closest_marker('custom_marker')
    if custom_marker:
        valid = custom_marker.kwargs.get('valid', True)
        if not valid:
            raise ValueError('custom_marker.valid was False')

and two tests using this marker

import pytest

    exception=ValueError, match=r'.*was False$'
def test_mark_setup_raises_demo():

def test_all_good():

This example is in the tests for this plugin in the test_pytest_mark_setup_raises_demo test case. This example is awkward, but the idea is you can use @pytest.mark.setup_raises to catch expected errors during the pytest_runtest_setup phase. So when we used custom_marker with valid=False, the pytest_runtest_setup will raise as expected, but not when valid=True.

In the real world, the utility of @pytest.mark.setup_raises comes in when you have potentially less control over the execution of fixtures or perhaps want to stress-test custom markers or fixtures. Consider writing a decorator that auto-uses a fixture for a given test function, but deliberately provides invalid arguments to the fixture.

In short: the chances are good that you will not need @pytest.mark.setup_raises in the average testing framework. However, if you need to verify failures during the pytest_runtest_setup phase, it is an invaluable tool.

Reminder: notice that when @pytest.mark.setup_raises is used, the function body should be exactly pass. The pytest_runtest_setup phase has raised, meaning the setup for the test is incomplete. Anything other than an empty test function body of pass is not supported by this extension.


Distributed under the terms of the MIT license, "pytest-raises" is free and open source software.


If you encounter any problems, please file an issue along with a detailed description.

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