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How to Configure Flask on Ubuntu Xenial

Reviewed on 10 May 2021Published on 23 August 2018
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Flask Overview

Flask is a web application framework written in Python. Flask is easy to get started with as a beginner because there is little boilerplate code for getting a simple app up and running.


Installing Python

If you don’t have Python installed on your computer, download the installer from the Python official website.

To make sure your Python installation is functional, you can open a terminal window and type python3, or if that does not work, just python.


which returns

Python 3.5.2 (default, Nov 23 2017, 16:37:01)
[GCC 5.4.0 20160609] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

To exit the interactive prompt, you can type exit() and press Enter. On the Linux and Mac OS X versions of Python you can also exit the interpreter by pressing Ctrl-D. On Windows, the exit shortcut is Ctrl-Z followed by Enter.

Setting up Flask

In Python, packages such as Flask are available in a public repository, from where anybody can download and install them. The official Python package repository is called PyPI, which stands for Python Package Index.

  1. (Optional) If you do not have pip installed, launch

    apt install python-pip
  2. Install Flask

    pip install Flask
  3. Create a folder called FlaskApp.

    mkdir FlaskApp
  4. Navigate to the FlaskApp folder and create a file called app.py.

    cd FlaskApp
    nano app.py
  5. Paste the following content to the app.py file.

    from flask import Flask
    app = Flask(__name__)
    def main():
    return "Welcome to the first Flask App!"
    if __name__ == "__main__":
  6. Save the changes and execute app.py.

    ~/FlaskApp# python app.py

    which returns

      * Serving Flask app "app" (lazy loading)
    * Environment: production
    WARNING: Do not use the development server in a production
    Use a production WSGI server instead.
    * Debug mode: off
    * Running on (Press CTRL+C to quit)
  7. Open you web browser and type the server_ip:port

    It should display


If you run the server you will notice that the server is only accessible from your own computer, not from any other in the network. This is the default because in debugging mode a user of the application can execute arbitrary Python code on your computer. If you have the debugger disabled or trust the users on your network, you can make the server publicly available simply by adding —host= to the command line or editting your app.py to match `app.run(host=‘’)“ This tells your operating system to listen on all public IPs.

Creating URL routes

URL Routing makes URLs in your Web app easy to remember.

We will create several URLs routes:

  • /hello
  • /writers/
  • /writers/tutorials/
  1. Copy the code below and save it as app.py

    app = Flask(__name__)

    def index():
    return "Index!"

    def hello():
    return "Hello Cloud Riders!"

    def writers():
    return "Thanks to the Scaleway Tech Writers!"

    def getWriters(name):
    return name

    if __name__ == "__main__":
  2. Restart the application using

    python app.py

    Try the URLs in your browser:

    • http://server_ip:5000/
    • http://server_ip:5000/hello
    • http://server_ip:5000/writers

    Each route should display what is defined in the app.py above, for instance http://server_ip:5000/hello displays:

Styling Flask Pages

In Flask, templates are written as separate files, stored in a templates folder that is inside the application package. So after making sure that you are in the FlaskApp directory, create the directory where templates will be stored.

As explained above, we created a new application called hello.py running on port 80, with the following configuration:

from flask import Flask, flash, redirect, render_template, request,
session, abort

app = Flask(__name__)

def index():
return "Flask App!"

def hello(name):
return render_template(

if __name__ == "__main__":
app.run(host='', port=80)
  1. Create a directory called templates

    mkdir templates
  2. Open a test.html file and paste the following

    nano test.html
  3. Paste the following

    {% extends "layout.html" %} {% block body %}

    <div class="block1">
    <h1>Hello {{name}}!</h1>
    <h2>Discover a New Cloud Experience</h2>
    "The Disruptive Cloud Computing Platform: Deploy SSD Cloud Servers in
    {% endblock %}
  4. Open a layout.html file and paste the following

    @import url(http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Amatic+SC:700);

    text-align: center;
    font-family: 'Amatic SC', cursive;
    font-weight: normal;
    color: #FD6C9E;
    font-size: 2.5em;


    {% block body %}{% endblock %}
  5. Launch the application

    python hello.py

    the application should display

Passing Variables

Let’s try and display random Scaleway catch phrase instead of always the same one. We will need to pass both the name variable and the quote variable.

  1. In the templates directory, edit the test.html to match the following

    {% extends "layout.html" %} {% block body %}

    <div class="block1">
    <h1>Hello {{name}}!</h1>
    <h2>Discover a New Cloud Experience</h2>
    {% endblock %}
  2. Save and exit

  3. In the application called hello.py update the configuration to look like this:

    from flask import Flask, flash, redirect, render_template, request, session, abort
    from random import randint

    app = Flask(__name__)

    def index():
    return "Flask App!"

    def hello(name):
    # return name
    quotes = [ "Pay as You Go - Enjoy a new cloud experience starting at 0.004euros per hour.",
    "Multiple Datacenters - Maximize your services reliability by running your infrastructure through autonomous facilities spread across multiple regions.",
    "Over 5 Tb/s of internet bandwidth - Deliver your content anywhere thanks to our multiple high-end transit providers and the best peerings.",
    "Limitless Infrastructure Combinations - Additional volumes, movable IPs, security groups and hot snapshots are available on all our servers.",
    "Developer Tools - Interact with Scaleway and take control of the cloud in minutes with our many tools, resources and third-party applications.",
    "Hourly Billing - All our cloud resources are billed per hour with monthly capping. Scaleway pricing is predictable and transparent, with no hidden costs."$
    randomNumber = randint(0,len(quotes)-1)
    quote = quotes[randomNumber]

    return render_template(

    if __name__ == "__main__":
    app.run(host='', port=80)

    As you can notice, we updated the quotes variable with an array of multiples quotes. These can be accessed as quote[0], quote[1], quote[2] and so on. The function randint() returns a random number between 0 and the total number of quotes, one is subtracted because we start counting from zero.

    We also added a locals() function which always returns a dictionary of the current namespace.

  4. Save and exit

  5. Run the application hello.py. It will return one of these quotes at random.

    python hello.py