Here are 5 Proven Ways to Handle Errors and Exceptions in Python

Here are 5 Proven Ways to Handle Errors and Exceptions in Python | Coding | Emeritus

Python is a favorite among beginners and experienced developers alike. In fact, nearly 49.28% of developers use Python across the world, as per Stack Overflow’s 2023 Developer Survey. But have you ever had a program throw up errors and crash unexpectedly? It is no secret that even the most seasoned programmers encounter errors and exceptions in Python. Errors and exceptions are inevitable in coding; however, they don’t have to be roadblocks. It is critical to hone your understanding of this error and exception handling in Python in order to write robust programs. So, let’s dive deep into the world of errors and exceptions in Python, explore different error types, and learn how to debug effortlessly.

ALSO READ: The Top 5 Industries Where Python Coding Skills are Highly Valued

strip banner

What are Common Errors and Exceptions in Python Programming?

why learn python

Although most errors and exceptions in Python are quite common, they interrupt the code’s execution. Here are some of the most frequently encountered errors and exceptions in Python:

1. Common Errors

A. Syntax Error

This occurs when the parser encounters a syntax error. For example, missing a colon after an if statement.

if True

   print (“This will cause a SyntaxError”)

B. Indentation Error

This error shows up when the indentation levels are inconsistent. For instance, mixing tabs and spaces or misaligning blocks of code.

def func():

   print(“IndentationError example”)

     print(“This line is indented incorrectly”)

C. Name Error 

Happens when a local or global name is not found, like trying to use a variable that hasn’t been defined.

Here’s an example to illustrate the error: print(undeclared_variable)

D. Type Error

Another form of error that crops up when an operation or function is applied to an object of inappropriate type. The addition of a string to an integer is a good case in point.

result = “string” + 5

E. Value Error

Arises when a function receives an argument of the right type but an inappropriate value such as converting a string that cannot be converted to an integer.

number = int(“not_a_number”)

2. Common Exceptions

A. Index Error

This takes place when a sequence subscript is out of range. For example, accessing a list element that doesn’t exist.

my_list = [1, 2, 3]


B. Key Error

Transpires when a dictionary key is not found. For instance, trying to access a non-existent key in a dictionary.

my_dict = {‘key1’: ‘value1’}


C. Attribute Error

This comes up when an attribute reference or assignment fails. Here’s an example to explain the error: attempting to call a method that does not exist.

my_list = [1, 2, 3]


D. ImportError

Materializes when an import statement fails to find the module definition. Take this example as an illustration: trying to import a module that isn’t installed or doesn’t exist.

import non_existent_module

E. Zero Division Error

Appears when the second argument of a division or modulo operation is zero. Let’s take an example to demonstrate the point: dividing a number by zero.

result = 10 / 0

ALSO WATCH: Python for Analytics | NUS Business School | Emeritus

How Can I Effectively Troubleshoot Errors in Python Code?

1. Understand the Error Message

There are two main categories of errors—syntax errors and exceptions in Python. Syntax errors are typos or grammatical mistakes, whereas exceptions are akin to runtime errors during program execution. The error message also indicates the line number where the error occurred.

2. Leverage Debugging Techniques

Python provides a built-in debugger called pdb to examine variables and expressions at each step. Print statements inspect the values of variables at different points to reveal where things go wrong.

3. Use Proper Indentation

Indentation is crucial because it defines code blocks. Inconsistent indentation can thus lead to unexpected errors.

4. Check Type

Consider using type hints or static type checkers to catch potential type mismatches before runtime.

5. Use Try-Except Blocks

Python try-except blocks help prevent program crashes. Define specific exceptions in Python to catch for targeted handling.

6. Test Code

Write unit tests to verify the expected behavior of your code under different conditions. It can help catch errors in the development process subsequently.

ALSO READ: Why All Aspiring Coders Should Learn How to Use Swift

What are the Best Practices for Handling Errors and Exceptions in Python?

There is no alternative to writing resilient code without effectively handling errors and exceptions in Python. Let’s check out some best practices for exception handling in Python:

1. Specific Exceptions

It is better to use a specific Python catch exception instead of a generic one like ZeroDivisionError or FileNotFoundError. These specific Python catch exceptions handle different error conditions accordingly and make your code more readable.

2. Documentation

Don’t just print the default error message. Use Python to raise exceptions to help other developers handle errors appropriately. Craft informative messages that explain the error and how the user can fix it.

3. Try-Except-Finally Blocks

Python try-except not only helps identify instances of Python raise exception but also handles the exception. The “finally” block executes code regardless of whether an exception occurs, making it handy for cleanup tasks.

4. “Else” Clause

The else clause is an optional part of the try-except block. It executes only if no exception is raised within the try block. Thus, it helps differentiate successful code execution from error handling.

5. Log Exceptions

It is wise to use Python’s logging module to record exceptions. It helps with debugging issues consequently that may not be readily apparent. 

6. Custom Exceptions

Custom exceptions can provide more meaningful error messages and can be tailored to specific error conditions. As a result, you can provide more informative Python throw exceptions by encapsulating specific error conditions.

7. Context Managers

Context managers, generally used with the with statement, handle setup and teardown operations, reducing the likelihood of resource leaks.

ALSO WATCH: Online Course Preview | Programming With Python at Carnegie Mellon University

How Can I Use Built-in Python Tools to Debug My Code?

Python provides various built-in tools to find and fix issues in your code. Here are some of them:

1. Print Statements

They are a simple and quick way to debug your code. It involves printing variable values and program flow at different points to understand your code. Here is an example as an illustration:

def divide(a, b):

    print(f”a: {a}, b: {b}”)  # Debugging line

    return a / b

print(divide(10, 2))

print(divide(10, 0))

2. Assert Statements

They are used to set checkpoints in your code. An AssertionError is raised if the condition is false.

def divide(a, b):

    assert b != 0, “b cannot be zero”  # Assert statement

    return a / b

print(divide(10, 2))

print(divide(10, 0))

3. Logging Module

The logging module provides a flexible framework for emitting log messages from Python programs. It’s more powerful than print and can include timestamps and log levels, among others.

import logging


def divide(a, b):

    logging.debug(f”a: {a}, b: {b}”)

    if b == 0:

        logging.error(“Attempted to divide by zero”)

        return None

    return a / b

print(divide(10, 2))

print(divide(10, 0))

4. PDB Module

The pdb module is a built-in interactive debugger for Python programs. It allows you to set breakpoints, step through code, inspect variables, and evaluate expressions.

import pdb

def divide(a, b):

    pdb.set_trace()  # Breakpoint

    return a / b

print(divide(10, 2))

The execution will pause at the pdb.set_trace() line when you run this code, allowing you to inspect the current state subsequently.

5. Traceback Module

The traceback module basically provides a standard interface to extract, format, and print stack traces of Python programs. It is handy to understand the context of exceptions.

import traceback

def divide(a, b):


        return a / b

    except ZeroDivisionError:

        print(“An error occurred:”)


print(divide(10, 2))

print(divide(10, 0))

6. cProfile Module

The cProfile module is used to profile your Python code, which helps identify bottlenecks and performance issues.

import cProfile

def example_function():

    total = 0

    for i in range(10000):

        total += i

    return total‘example_function()’)

ALSO READ: Coding Smarter, Not Harder: Unleashing the Potential of AI for Clean Code

What are the Key Differences Between Errors and Exceptions in Python?

Although errors and exceptions in Python both disrupt the normal flow of your program, they have some key distinctions:

1. Origin

  • Errors: Errors are specifically caused by mistakes in your code’s syntax or logic. They are either typos like missing colons or logical flaws that prevent the code’s interpretation
  • Exceptions: Exceptions are runtime errors that occur during program execution. In other words, they arise from unexpected situations like trying to divide by zero, accessing a non-existent file, or encountering invalid data

2. Recoverability

  • Errors: Errors are generally considered unrecoverable. They halt the overall program execution entirely. There are techniques to fix the code, but it isn’t straightforward
  • Exceptions: Exceptions can be caught and handled eventually. You can use the Python throw exception to signal errors even if Python does not recognize it. I am going to define what actions to take when specific exceptions occur, allowing your program to continue execution despite the error

3. Intentionality

  • Errors: Errors represent bugs or mistakes in your code. They are unintentional and indicate something needs to be fixed in your program logic
  • Exceptions: Exceptions can be intentional or unintentional. Some exceptions, like IndexError, signal unexpected situations you might want to handle gracefully. Another exception, like NotImplementedError, can be raised intentionally to indicate a feature has not been implemented yet

Enrich Your Career With Emeritus

In conclusion, Python is a good bet for taking your coding career to the next level. It is a versatile programming language used by top companies. Emeritus offers online coding courses for professionals to upskill without sacrificing flexibility. These courses cater to everyone, regardless of whether you’re a novice or a veteran. Enroll today and embark on a journey toward career success!

Write to us at

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Mitaksh has an extensive background in journalism, focusing on various beats, including technology, education, and the environment, spanning over six years. He has previously actively monitored telecom, crypto, and online streaming developments for a notable news website. In his leisure time, you can often find Mitaksh at his local theatre, indulging in a multitude of movies.
Read More About the Author

Courses on Coding Category

US +1-606-268-4575
US +1-606-268-4575