In this blog post, we will be building a simple Pastebin service using Python and Flask. Pastebin is a popular web application used to store plain text or code snippets for a certain period of time. We’ll create a basic version that allows users to paste text, select the programming language, and get a URL to share the paste. I have also created a YouTube video about this, which you can view here.

Getting Starting

Before begin creating our application lets setup our environment and in order to setup your environment follow these steps:

  1. First, Let’s create a virtual environment in the project directory.
python -m venv venv
  1. Now, once we have created the virtual environment, let’s activate it and install all the required libraries that are going to be used by this project.
pip install Flask shortuuid pygments

We’ll also use shortuuid for generating unique IDs for each paste and pygments for syntax highlighting.

  1. Now that we have installed all the required libraries, let’s create the necessary files and folders.
mkdir -p pastes templates static && touch templates/index.html static/styles.css

This is how your folder structure should look:

├── pastes/
├── templates/
│   └── index.html
└── static/
    └── styles.css

The pastes directory will store the text files for each paste. The templates directory contains our HTML templates, and the static directory contains CSS for styling.

Now that we have set up the environment, it’s time to code.

Writing Code

Let’s dive into the code. Create a file named and add the following code:

Once you have created the flask now let’s create html template in templates/index.html and style.css in static/style.css

  • templates/index.html

  • static/style.css

Now that we have created our application, before we run it, let’s try to understand how it works by breaking down the code.

Code Breakdown

  1. First, we import the necessary libraries and modules. Flask is our web framework, shortuuid is used for generating unique IDs, and Pygments is for syntax highlighting. We also set up a directory to store our pastes/.
from flask import Flask, request, render_template, abort
import shortuuid
import os
from pygments import highlight
from pygments.lexers import get_lexer_by_name, get_all_lexers
from pygments.formatters import HtmlFormatter

app = Flask(__name__)

PASTE_DIR = 'pastes'
if not os.path.exists(PASTE_DIR):
  1. Then we write a function that retrieves all available programming languages supported by Pygments for syntax highlighting and returns them as a sorted list of tuples.
def get_language_options():
    return sorted([(lexer[1][0], lexer[0]) for lexer in get_all_lexers() if lexer[1]])
  1. Then we write the main route for our application. If the request method is POST (i.e., when the user submits a form), it saves the content and language to a new file with a unique ID. The URL for the new paste is generated and displayed to the user. If the request method is GET, it simply renders the form.
@app.route('/', methods=['GET', 'POST'])
def index():
    if request.method == 'POST':
        content = request.form['content']
        language = request.form['language']
        paste_id = shortuuid.uuid()
        file_path = os.path.join(PASTE_DIR, paste_id)

        with open(file_path, 'w') as f:

        paste_url = request.url_root + paste_id
        return render_template('index.html', paste_url=paste_url, languages=get_language_options())

    return render_template('index.html', languages=get_language_options())

This route handles viewing a specific paste. It reads the paste file, applies syntax highlighting using pygments, and renders the highlighted content.

def view_paste(paste_id):
    file_path = os.path.join(PASTE_DIR, paste_id)
    if not os.path.exists(file_path):

    with open(file_path, 'r') as f:
        language = f.readline().strip()
        content =

    lexer = get_lexer_by_name(language, stripall=True)
    formatter = HtmlFormatter(linenos=True, cssclass="source")
    highlighted_content = highlight(content, lexer, formatter)
    highlight_css = formatter.get_style_defs('.source')

    return render_template('index.html', paste_content=highlighted_content, highlight_css=highlight_css)

Now once we understand how everything works, now you can simply run the application using this command python


You’ve built a simple Pastebin service using Python and Flask! This service allows users to paste text, select a programming language, and share the paste via a unique URL. You can expand this project by adding features like expiration times for pastes, user authentication, or even a database to store pastes more efficiently.

If you have any feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. If you prefer not to comment publicly, you can always send me an email.


    • I started a youtube channel a year ago, and if you want me to create video series about interesting stuff like this feel free to subscribe.
  • I am open for Python Consulting as well, If you any interesting python project or even need advice regarding tech, you can always send an email
  • Lastly A huge thanks for reading this and supporting my work.

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