This is quick-start documentation to help people get familiar with the layout and functioning of fsspec.

Instantiate a file-system

fsspec provides an abstract file-system interface as a base class, to be used by other filesystems. A file-system instance is an object for manipulating files on some remote store, local files, files within some wrapper, or anything else that is capable of producing file-like objects.

Some concrete implementations are bundled with fsspec and others can be installed separately. They can be instantiated directly, or the registry can be used to find them.

Direct instantiation using the name of the class such as LocalFileSystem, ZipFileSystem or S3FileSystem:

from fsspec.implementations.local import LocalFileSystem

fs = LocalFileSystem()

Look-up via registry:

import fsspec

fs = fsspec.filesystem('file')

The argument passed here is the protocol name which maps across to the corresponding implementation class LocalFileSystem. Other examples are zip which maps across to ZipFileSystem and s3 which maps across to S3FileSystem.

Many filesystems also take extra parameters, some of which may be options - see API Reference, or use fsspec.get_filesystem_class() to get the class object and inspect its docstring.

import fsspec

fs = fsspec.filesystem('ftp', host=host, port=port, username=user, password=pw)

The list of implemented fsspec protocols can be retrieved using fsspec.available_protocols().


The full list of the available protocols and the implementations that they map across to is divided into two sections:

Use a file-system

File-system instances offer a large number of methods for getting information about and manipulating files for the given back-end. Although some specific implementations may not offer all features (e.g., http is read-only), generally all normal operations, such as ls, rm, should be expected to work (see the full list: fsspec.spec.AbstractFileSystem). Note that this quick-start will prefer posix-style naming, but many common operations are aliased: cp() and copy() are identical, for instance. Functionality is generally chosen to be as close to the builtin os module’s working for things like glob as possible. The following block of operations should seem very familiar.

fs.touch("/remote/output/success")  # creates empty file
assert fs.exists("/remote/output/success")
assert fs.isfile("/remote/output/success")
assert"/remote/output/success") == b""  # get content as bytestring
fs.copy("/remote/output/success", "/remote/output/copy")
assert"/remote/output", detail=False) == ["/remote/output/success", "/remote/output/copy")
fs.rm("/remote/output", recursive=True)

The open() method will return a file-like object which can be passed to any other library that expects to work with python files, or used by your own code as you would a normal python file object. These will normally be binary-mode only, but may implement internal buffering in order to limit the number of reads from a remote source. They respect the use of with contexts. If you have pandas installed, for example, you can do the following:

f ="/remote/path/notes.txt", "rb")
lines = f.readline()  # read to first b"\n", 2)
foot =  # read last 10 bytes of file

import pandas as pd
with'/remote/data/myfile.csv') as f:
    df = pd.read_csv(f, sep='|', header=None)


For many situations, the only function that will be needed is fsspec.open_files(), which will return fsspec.core.OpenFile instances created from a single URL and parameters to pass to the backend(s). This supports text-mode and compression on the fly, and the objects can be serialized for passing between processes or machines (so long as each has access to the same backend file-system). The protocol (i.e., backend) is inferred from the URL passed, and glob characters are expanded in read mode (search for files) or write mode (create names). Critically, the file on the backend system is not actually opened until the OpenFile instance is used in a with context.

of ="github://dask:fastparquet@main/test-data/nation.csv", "rt")
# of is an OpenFile container object. The "with" context below actually opens it
with of as f:
    # now f is a text-mode file
    for line in f:
        # iterate text lines
        if "KENYA" in line: