Python Deployments: ‘File not found’ and filesystem directory differences with app content

4 minute read | By Anthony Salemo

This post will cover ‘File not found’ errors and why this may appear depending on the deployment type for applications at runtime.


‘File not found’ errors, in themselves, are usually pretty obvious. The errors in this post will be discussing scenarios where it is truly due to incorrect path locations - rather than something like file locking or filesystem permission related issues.

In the case of Python on App Service Linux - this may present itself depending on the deployment builder being used. There is two builders in this scenario:

  • OryxBuilder
  • BasicBuilder

NOTE: You can technically use FTP as well, which would fall under the concept of BasicBuilder described in this post

On 03/01/2021, a change was introduced when OryxBuilder is being used that deploys application content to a directory under a location called $APP_PATH (Documentation) - which has a value of /tmp/[some_uid]/.

Ultimately, this creates the potential for application content to be deployed to one of two locations, depending on the deployment type - /tmp/[uid] or /home/site/wwwroot.

When OryxBuilder is used, the file system location where application content resides may look like this. Note that antenv, the virtual environment, is automatically activated and contents is now under /tmp/8db6b7ca3d750ef:

Python 3.10.11
Note: Any data outside '/home' is not persisted
(antenv) root@18ac05f9b85f:/tmp/8db6b7ca3d750ef# ls
antenv  __pycache__  requirements.txt
(antenv) root@18ac05f9b85f:/tmp/8db6b7ca3d750ef#

When BasicBuilder is used, the file system location where application content resides may look like this. We see application content is now under /home/site/wwwroot:

(antenv) root@f4908b31f58b:/home/site/wwwroot# ls
antenv  azure-pipelines.yml  __pycache__  requirements.txt

Other examples that may not be obvious:

  • Azure DevOps deployments (where a virtual environment is activated, packages installed within, and deployed with the name of antenv) - with Python will use BasicBuilder and also activate the virtual environment - contents will end up under /home/site/wwwroot - assuming that SCM_DO_BUILD_DURING_DEPLOYMENT is false or not set
    • Azure DevOps deployments where a virtual environment deployed with the pipeline is not named antenv - and not using Oryx, will likely cause the application to fail due to unable to find site-packages.
    • An example of what is meant by deploying a virtual environment folder can be found in the pipeline .yaml here
  • Azure DevOps deployments where SCM_DO_BUILD_DURING_DEPLOYMENT is true will use Oryx and deploy application content to /tmp/[uid]
  • GitHub Actions where Oryx is used (SCM_DO_BUILD_DURING_DEPLOYMENT is true) will deploy to /tmp/[uid] - this is regardless of what is done on the pipeline with a virtual environment, like explained with ADO above.

In short, if BasicBuilder is used (ZipDeploy without Oryx, any non-Oryx Deployment, or, something like FTP which is the equivalent of no builder) content will be deployed to /home/site/wwwroot

If Oryx is used as the builder, it will be deployed to $APP_PATH - which is /tmp/[uid]


Knowing that file locations may differ depending on what is being attempted, here are some scenarios that can cause file not found errors:

  • If using Oryx as the builder and attempting to reference application files under /home/site/wwwroot, since Oryx will place extracted application content under $APP_ATH (/tmp/[uid])
    • A more detailed example is creating a test file under wwwroot and trying to reference that relatively - this would fail since open() is trying to open this out of /tmp/[uid]:

        filenotfounderror: [errno 2] no such file or directory: './test.txt'
  • Using a Startup Command/Startup File that has references to content under /home/site/wwwroot - if using Oryx and expecting deployed content to be there
    • An example here is using a startup script or file to reference something like Django’s - however, with Oryx, the content will be under /tmp[uid]
      python: can't open file '/home/site/wwwroot/': [errno 2] no such file or directory
  • If using BasicBuilder as the builder but attempting to reference application files or content under $APP_PATH - this will fail as this location (/tmp/[uid]) will not exist.
  • Using BasicBuilder as the builder but attempting to reference $APP_PATH in a startup command, file, or script

In these cases, you can also:

  • Use FTP, Bash (Kudu Shell) or Kudu’s /newui endpoint to validate current filesystem contents
  • Use relative paths (in some circumstances, depending on what’s being done)
  • For certain contents or directories that can be decoupled from application deployment - place this somewhere under /home and reference this as an absolute path