Signal handling in Python

Signals are software interrupts that are sent to the program to notify the program of significant events which can be used to execute a special code.They are generated by the system or can be sent from one process to another. In this blog, we will see how to handle the signals in python and control the execution of your python program.

Receiving a signal:

A callback function called signal handler is invoked when signals are received. The arguments to the signal handler are the signal number and the stack frame from the point in your program that was interrupted by the signal.

import signal
import time

def handler(signum, frame):
    print('handler called')

signal.signal(signal.SIGINT, handler)

time.sleep(20) # Press Ctrl+C 

If we run the above code and press Ctrl+C, the handler function gets called and  handler called gets printed.

Raising a signal:

We can raise a signal in a process using the raise_signal() method.  It'll send the given signal to the calling process.

import signal
from datetime import datetime

def handler(signum, frame):
    print('Signal raised :',

signal.signal(signal.SIGINT, handler)

print('Before raising :',
print('After raising :',


Before raising : 2022-08-04 16:32:10.192107
Signal raised : 2022-08-04 16:32:13.194372
After raising : 2022-08-04 16:32:13.194975

Ignoring a signal:

For ignoring a signal, register SIG_IGN as the handler. Default handler for SIGINT is replaced with SIG_IGN, and registers a handler for SIGUSR1. signal.pause() is used to wait for the signal to be received.

import signal
import os
import time

def fun_exit(sig, stack):
    raise SystemExit('Exiting')

signal.signal(signal.SIGINT, signal.SIG_IGN)
signal.signal(signal.SIGUSR1, fun_exit)

print('PID is: ', os.getpid())

signal.pause() # To quit the program use control + Z


PID is: 96481

In this example, we ignore SIGINT and raise SystemExit when we see SIGUSR. Each ^C represents an attempt to use Ctrl-C to kill the script from the terminal.

Ajinkya Chikhale

Ajinkya Chikhale

Software Engineer