How To Avoid Deadlock In Python

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to avoid deadlock in Python. A deadlock is a situation where a set of processes are stuck, waiting for each other to release certain resources. It occurs when multiple threads or processes hold resources and are trying to acquire more resources, but aren’t releasing the resources they already hold.

Deadlock can render your program unresponsive and eventually crash. By following the right strategies, you can prevent deadlock in many situations.

Step 1: Order your locks

A common cause of deadlock is when two or more threads need the same two resources, and each thread obtains the locks in a different order. To avoid this, make sure that all threads acquire the locks in the same order.

Step 2: Use a timeout when acquiring a lock

Another way to avoid deadlock is to use a timeout when acquiring locks. If a thread can’t acquire a lock within a certain time, it releases the locks it already holds and tries again later. This can help to resolve cases where two or more threads are stuck, waiting for each other to release their locks.

Step 3: Use lock-free data structures

If possible, use lock-free data structures or other synchronization mechanisms that don’t require explicit locking. Some libraries, like Python’s queue module, provide thread-safe data structures that don’t require locking, or handle the locking internally.

For example, instead of using a dictionary or list that requires thread synchronization, you could use a Queue and replace explicit locking as shown below:


In this tutorial, you have learned how to avoid deadlock in Python by:

  1. Ordering your locks
  2. Using a timeout when acquiring a lock
  3. Using lock-free data structures

While these techniques cannot guarantee complete deadlock prevention in all cases, they can significantly reduce the likelihood of deadlock in many situations. Always consider the way your resources are shared among threads and ensure you have good synchronization mechanisms in place to keep your programs deadlock-free and responsive.