Python Custom Exceptions Tutorial – Complete Guide

Mastering Python’s essential elements can lead to more effective and efficient coding. One of these elements, which this tutorial focuses on, is creating custom exceptions. Understanding how to design and implement custom exceptions will expand your Python coding capabilities, enhancing your ability to create robust, professional-grade applications.

What are Python Custom Exceptions?

Python offers a variety of built-in exceptions that can be utilized to respond to different error conditions. But sometimes, these built-in exceptions don’t quite meet your needs. This is where Python custom exceptions come into play.

Custom exceptions in Python are user-defined exceptions, that is, exceptions that developers design and implement on their own. They allow for greater specificity, offering a means to create custom error types that can more accurately reflect what’s happening in your code.

Why Learning Python Custom Exceptions Matters

So why should you grasp the ins and outs of Python custom exceptions? Here are a few key reasons:

  • They foster readability and understanding: Custom exceptions can make your code clearer and more straightforward to read by providing specific, nuanced descriptions of errors.
  • They support better error handling: Tailoring exceptions to specific scenarios enables more precise error management, reducing the likelihood of unhandled exceptions.
  • They help create a professional-grade code: Many large, professional software projects use custom exceptions in their code base. Familiarity with this practice can help improve your career prospects as a Python developer.

No matter your experience level, having a handle on custom exceptions will only enhance your Python coding prowess. Let’s dive into some code and see what creating and utilizing custom exceptions looks like in practice.

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Creating a Custom Exception in Python

To create a custom exception in Python, you simply need to define a new exception class. This class should typically inherit from the built-in Python class Exception, though it can really inherit from any exception class, built-in or custom.

class MyException(Exception):

In this example, we’ve created a new exception called MyException. When raised, it will behave just like a standard exception, but with the name MyException.

Raising a Custom Exception

Raising a custom exception is just as simple as raising a standard exception. Use the raise keyword followed by the name of your custom exception.

raise MyException("This is a custom exception")

The string that we pass into the MyException call is the message that will be displayed when the exception is raised.

Custom Exception with Attributes

One advantage of custom exceptions over standard exceptions is that we can add new attributes to our custom exceptions. The following code snippet defines a custom exception with an attribute:

class ErrorWithAttributes(Exception):
    def __init__(self, message, errors):
        self.errors = errors

We also need to override the initialization (the __init__ method in Python language) of the base Exception class when adding attributes to a custom exception. Here we added an additional argument, errors, which is stored as an attribute of the ErrorWithAttributes class.

Returning the Attributes of a Custom Exception

After an exception is caught, the attributes of the exception can be accessed with dot notation:

    raise ErrorWithAttributes("This is a custom exception with attributes", {"code":404, "msg":"Not Found"})
except ErrorWithAttributes as e:

Here we raised ErrorWithAttributes exception with a custom message and a dictionary of errors. After catching the exception, we print the errors attribute, and the output will be: {‘code’:404, ‘msg’:’Not Found’}.

Re-throw a Custom Exception

Sometimes, after capturing a generic exception, you might need to throw a custom exception:

    x = 1 / 0
except ZeroDivisionError:
    raise MyException("Cannot divide by zero")

We are catching the ZeroDivisionError here and throwing our custom exception, MyException, with a custom message. When a division by zero occurs, our custom exception will be raised instead.

Multiple Custom Exceptions

A program can have any number of custom exceptions. Multiple custom exceptions allow errors to be categorized more precisely:

class NetworkError(Exception):

class DatabaseError(Exception):

class AuthenticationError(Exception):

Handling Different Types of Exceptions

In your code, you can specify different actions to take for different types of exceptions:

    # Some code...
except NetworkError:
    # Fix network error
except DatabaseError:
    # Fix database error
except AuthenticationError:
    # Fix authentication error

Here, for different types of errors, different exception blocks are maintained to handle each error differently.

Chaining Exceptions

Python allows chaining exceptions i.e., having one exception cause another. This is done by catching the first exception and raising a new one:

class ChainedException(Exception):

    x = 1 / 0
except ZeroDivisionError as e:
    raise ChainedException("Can't divide by zero") from e

By using “from e”, we are chaining the ZeroDivisionError exception to our ChainedException custom exception.

Catching all Exceptions

Finally, for mistakes that we can’t predict or categorize, we can use a catch-all exception block:

    # Some code...
except Exception as e:
    print(f"A {type(e).__name__} error occurred: {str(e)}")

This will catch all exceptions that are inherited from the base Exception class, log their type and message, and allow us to respond to the error.

Where to go Next?

Now that you’ve got a taste of creating and using custom exceptions in Python, you might be wondering what’s next. The good news is, there’s still so much more to discover and learn.

We highly recommend taking the next step and deepening your Python skills with our Python Mini-Degree. This is a comprehensive collection of courses that will teach you everything you need to know to become proficient in Python programming.

Python’s popularity is undebatable, thanks to its clear syntax and broad applicability. With the Python Mini-Degree, you’ll get the chance to cover various topics, from the basics of coding to complex algorithms, object-oriented programming, game development, and app development.

By the end of the course, you’ll have built your own games, apps, and AI chatbots, and mastered data science and computer vision, all while utilizing Python. Plus, the courses include hands-on projects and quizzes to reinforce learning.

Choose to learn at any pace, as you can access these courses anytime, on any device. Additionally, the courses are taught by respected and qualified instructors certified by globally recognized bodies like Unity Technologies and CompTIA. This makes the Python Mini-Degree a great way to prepare for a career in programming while building a robust portfolio of work.

Of course, the Python landscape extends beyond custom exceptions and the topics covered in our Python Mini-Degree. We invite you to explore our extended catalog of Python courses to discover what other Python-related topics might pique your interest.


Python custom exceptions offer a level of specificity and flexibility that you won’t find with standard exceptions. This opens up new opportunities for more precise and effective error handling, ultimately resulting in higher-quality, more robust Python applications.

We hope this tutorial has inspired you to roll up your sleeves and start crafting your own custom exceptions. And remember, exceptional Python programming doesn’t stop here. Explore our comprehensive Python Mini-Degree for a deeper dive into Python and its vast capabilities. Let’s keep building, learning, and becoming ever-better Pythonistas together.

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