Chris Castiglione Co-founder of Adjunct Prof at Columbia University Business School.

10 Famous Websites Built Using Python

3 min read

There are tens of thousands of Python websites on the internet. Python is a powerful programming language created by Guido van Rossum in 1991.  Python is a popular language with both beginners and seasoned developers.

Many of today’s most successful tech companies are choosing Python for the back-end of their website. Let’s take a look at 10 famous websites built using Python.

1. Instagram

Instagram uses Python

Instagram, the world’s biggest online photo-sharing app, uses Python on its backend. According to Instagram’s engineering team,

Instagram currently features the world’s largest deployment of the Django web framework, which is written entirely in Python.

Read more about how Instagram uses Python on the Instagram blog.

2. Google

Google uses Python

Google is the most widely used search engine in the world with over 75% of the market share. Longtime Google engineer, Alex Martelli, explained how Google got started using Python in their tech stack,

It all got started, I believe, because the very earliest Googlers (Sergey, Larry, Craig, …) made a good engineering decision: “Python where we can, C++ where we must.”

Read more about why the Google tech stack is built using Python.

3. Spotify

Spotify uses Python

Spotify allows instant listening to specific tracks or albums with virtually no buffering delay. The app was launched in 2008 and has since then has reached over 75 million paid subscribers.

While Spotify’s website is build using WordPress, the Spotify app is built using Python. Spotify engineer Geoff van der Meer explains how Spotify used Python to code the app’s backend:

Spotify’s backend consists of many interdependent services, connected by [its] own messaging protocol over ZeroMQ. Around 80% of these services are written in Python.

Read more about how Spotify uses Python.

4. Netflix

Netflix uses Python

Netflix is the world’s leading internet television network with more than 33 million members in 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month, including Netflix original series. According to the Netflix technology blog,

Developers at Netflix have the freedom to choose the technologies best suited for the job. More and more, developers turn to Python due to its rich batteries-included standard library, succinct and clean yet expressive syntax, large developer community, and the wealth of third party libraries one can tap into to solve a given problem.

Read more about how and why Netflix uses Python.

5. Uber

Uber uses Python

Uber, the ridesharing service, completes over 15 million trips daily. According to Uber engineers,

At the lower levels, Uber’s engineers primarily write in Python, Node.js, Go, and Java. We started with two main languages: Node.js for the Marketplace team, and Python for everyone else. These first languages still power most services running at Uber today.

Learn more about the Uber tech stack and how they use of Python.

6. Dropbox

Dropbox uses Python

Dropbox is a home for all your photos, docs, videos, and files.

Have you ever wondered, how does an app like Dropbox scale from 2000 users to 200M users?  According to Rajiv Eranki, previously Head of Server Engineering at Dropbox, they used Python for everything .

In 2012, Dropbox hired the man who created Python, Guido van Rossum, away from Google. As of this writing, Rossum is still employed at Dropbox, making sure that Dropbox’s Python stack is one of the most efficient in the industry.

Read more about how Dropbox is using Python.

7. Pinterest

Pinterest uses Python

Pinterest is a social bookmarking site where users collect and share photos of their favorite events, interests, and hobbies. According to Pinterest co-founder Paul Sciarra,

We use python + heavily-modified Django at the application layer. Tornado and (very selectively) node.js as web-servers.

Find out more about Pinterest’s tech stack.

8. Instacart

Instacart uses Python

Instacart guarantees groceries delivered from the stores you love in one hour. With more than 500,000 users and 2 million in revenue, it is quickly becoming one of the most popular grocery delivery apps. According to an interview with Instacart’s engineering team,

We have a data science team that works in both Python and R […] In the case of demand forecasting, we have Python or R code that does the estimates, that reads all the data, comes up with how many shoppers we’re going to need for the next week or two, and then writes those values.

Read more about Instacart’s stack and why they use Python.

9. reddit

Reddit uses Python

Reddit has 330 million monthly active users. According to an interview at PyCon with Reddit co-founders Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian,

The biggest thing that has kept us on Python … well, there are two huge things. One are the libraries. […] The other thing that keeps us on Python, and this is the major thing, is how readable and writable it is. When we hire new employees … I don’t think we’ve yet hired an employee who knew Python. I just say, “everything you write needs to be in Python.” Just so I can read it. And it’s awesome because I can see from across the room, looking at their screen, whether their code is good or bad. Because good Python code has a very obvious structure. And that makes my life so much easier.

Read more about why Reddit uses Python.

10. lyft

Lyft uses Python

Lyft is the fastest growing rideshare company in the United States and is available in more than 200 cities, facilitating 14 million rides per month.

At a San Francisco Meetup in 2018, Lyft software engineer Roy Williams told the crowd,

Lyft is a big fan of Python. It’s quite common for services to utilize NumPy, Pandas, and PuLP to serve requests via Flask, Gevent, and Gunicorn. We use SciPy to fight fraud, we use Salt to provision hosts.

Watch Roy Williams’ talk on how and why Lyft uses Python 3 in their tech stack.

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Chris Castiglione Co-founder of Adjunct Prof at Columbia University Business School.