Convert a string to bytes in Python

David Y.

The Problem

How do I convert a string to bytes in Python 3?

The Solution

We can do this using str.encode:

my_string = "A string to turn into bytes." print(type(my_string)) # will print "<class 'str'>" my_bytes = my_string.encode() print(type(my_bytes)) # will print "<class 'bytes'>"

UTF-8 is the default encoding and will be used if we do not specify a different one.

An alternative way to do this would be to cast our string to the bytes type using its constructor. This uses str.encode under the hood and produces the same result:

my_string = "A string to turn into bytes." print(type(my_string)) # will print "<class 'str'>" my_bytes = bytes(my_string, "utf-8") print(type(my_bytes)) # will print "<class 'bytes'>"

The first method can be considered superior, as it is more direct and allows us to leave out the encoding if we’re using UTF-8.

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