Pip Vs Pip3

Python is a high-level, object-oriented programming language that is widely used for developing applications in a variety of domains. To help manage dependencies and libraries, Python has a package management system. Two of the most commonly used tools for package management in Python are pip and pip3.

In this article, we’ll compare pip and pip3, their differences, and their use cases.

What is pip?

Pip, which stands for “Package Installer for Python,” is a package management system that simplifies the installation and management of Python packages. Pip was first introduced in 2011 and quickly became one of the most popular package managers for Python. It is shipped with Python, and you don’t have to install it separately.

What is pip3?

Pip3 is an updated version of pip that is optimized for Python3. It was introduced because pip can also install and manage packages for Python2, which can lead to conflicts between the two versions. Pip3 is usually installed alongside Python3, and you have to use it explicitly when you want to install packages for Python3.

Differences between pip and pip3

1. Version support

The most significant difference between pip and pip3 is the version of Python they support. Pip supports Python 2 and Python 3, while pip3 is optimized for Python3. If you try to install a package with pip3 that is meant for Python2, it will display an error message.

2. Package naming convention

Pip3 uses a different naming convention for packages. When you install packages with pip3, they are given a name that starts with “python3,” followed by the name of the package. For example, numpy is installed as python3-numpy.

3. Library paths

Pip and pip3 use different paths to store installed packages. Pip installs packages in the site-packages directory of the Python installation, while pip3 installs them in the dist-packages directory. The site-packages directory is used for packages that are intended for use by all users on the system, while dist-packages is used for packages that are intended for use by the system itself.

4. Default version

Pip is the default package installer for Python, while pip3 is not. This means that if you type the command pip install, it will use Python2. If you want to install packages for Python3, you have to use pip3 explicitly.

5. System level changes

Pip and pip3 also differ in the way they handle system-level changes. Pip allows you to make system-level changes, such as installing packages globally. Pip3, on the other hand, prohibits this by default.

When to use pip and when to use pip3?

If you’re using Python2, you should use pip. If you’re using Python3, you should use pip3. If you’re working with both versions of Python, it’s a good idea to use both pip and pip3, so that you can install packages for both versions without conflicts.


1. Can I use pip to install packages for Python3?

Yes, you can use pip to install packages for Python3. However, if you’re using Python2 and Python3 on the same system, installing packages with pip can lead to conflicts.

2. Can I use pip3 to install packages for Python2?

No, you can’t use pip3 to install packages for Python2. Pip3 is optimized for Python3 and will display an error message if you try to install a package meant for Python2.

3. How do I know if a package is meant for Python2 or Python3?

Packages that are meant for Python3 usually have a name that starts with “python3,” followed by the name of the package. If you’re not sure, you can check the documentation for the package to see which version of Python it supports.


Pip and pip3 are both essential tools for managing packages in Python. While they share many similarities, they do have significant differences that should be considered when choosing which one to use. If you’re working with Python2, use pip. If you’re working with Python3, use pip3. And if you’re working with both, use both!