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How to Generate UUID in Python

In this tutorial, we will discuss how to generate the UUID in Python using the uuid module. Before diving into this topic, let's understand the basic concept of the UUID.


UUID is an abbreviation name of universally unique identifiers also known as GUID, i.e., Globally Unique Identifier. It is a 128 bits long ID number to uniquely define documents, users, resources, or information. There are various versions of UUIDs; we will discuss all of them in upcoming section.

  • The UUID is used to define unique identifiers across space and time. Space and time mean that once the UUID is generated according to the standard, identifiers cannot be duplicate existing resources.
  • The UUID is the most suitable option when uniqueness is required.
  • It plays an essential role in cryptography and hashing application.

When to use UUID

The UUID module can be used in the following scenarios.

In Web Application -

  • The UUID helps us to manage the state by generating a unique session id.
  • Generally, we use the auto-increment values to generate user ids. It is quite a straightforward approach and easy to guess. However, UUIDs are difficult to guess because they are not created consecutively.

In Database System

  • It provides a significant advantage in the database because UUID is environment-independent. It means we can create a UUID on any machine using any application.
  • Most applications depend upon the database server to generate the unique or primary key. UUID is a good option to generate a unique database key which helps us change the key generation approach in the database.
  • The UUID is a real value, not a pseudo value like a number in an SQL table.

Python uuid Module

Python uuid module is implemented as per RFC 4122, a standard and Copyright © of the internet society. With the help of the Python UUID module, we can generate UUIDs in various types such as 1, 3, 4, and 5 version UUIDs. Python module supports the following versions of UUID.

  • UUID1 - It generates the unique number using the MAC address and current time component.
  • UUID4 - It uses pseudo-random number generators to generate UUIDs, and such types UUIDs are good to use for the safety purpose.
  • UUID3 and UUID5 - It uses cryptographic hashing and application-provided text strings to generate UUID.

Generate UUID using Python UUID Module

Let's generates the UUIDs of various versions using the Python uuid module.

Using uuid1() - To generate the uuid, we must import uuid module and then call uuid1() method. Let's understand the following example.

Example - 1


The random id using uuid1() is :  ab2d0fc0-7224-11ec-8ef2-b658b885fb3

Structure of UUID

As we can see that there are five components in the above UUID and each component has the same length. The structure of UUID is in the format of "8-4-4-4-12".

The UUID string representation is given below -

Let's break down the above fields of UUIDs

  • time_low - It is a first 32 bits of id.
  • time_mid - It is next 16 bits of id.
  • time_high_and_version - It is a next 16 bits of id.
  • clock_seq_hi_variant :It is a next 8 bits of id.
  • clock_seq_low :It is a next 8 bits of id.
  • node :It is a last 48 bits of id.
  • time :It is a time component field of id.
  • clock_seq :It is a 14 bit sequence number.

Let's understand another example of generating UUID in various formats such as bytes, int, and hex.

Example - 2:


The byte Representations of uuid1() are : 
int Representation : 247125913120858544596828814248071421970
hex Representation : b9eab838730e11ecbf7686a03be46012
The Components of uuid1() are : 
Version  : 1
Variant : specified in RFC 4122
The Fields of uuid1() are : 
Fields  : (3119167544, 29454, 4588, 191, 118, 148022757711890)
The time Component of uuid1() is : 
Time component  : 148022757711890
UUID.time_mid            :  29460
UUID.time_hi_version     :  4588
UUID.clock_seq_hi_variant:  186
UUID.clock_seq_low       :  100
UUID.node                :  90979746151630
UUID.time                :  138612218401246920
UUID.clock_seq           :  14948
UUID.SafeUUID           :  SafeUUID.unsafe

Disadvantages of UUID1

The UUID1 is associated with the computer's MAC address and hence can be a threat to privacy. However, it provides complete uniqueness.

Method 2: using uuid4()

This method generates the random numbers with the guarantee to secure privacy. Let's understand the following example.

Example -


The id generated using uuid4() : 53967be6-71e9-4ee9-9912-60d02d2d9b0a

uuid1() vs uuid4

The uuid1() provides the assurance not to produce any collision. We can create duplicates of UUIDs by creating more than 16384 uuid1 in less than 100ns. It doesn't provide the guarantee to secure privacy. The uuid1() is not recommended if you don't wish to visible your machine's MAC addresses.

The uuid4() method generates random UUID by using the cryptographically generated secure number generators. It generates more secure UUIDs. It is recommended when UUIDs require generating on separate machines.

UUID 3 and UUID 5 to Create a Name-Based UUID

The name-based UUID means we can generate UUIDs using version 3 or 5 UUID.

We can use names and namespaces to create a series of unique UUIDs. Version 3 and 5 is hashing namespace identifier with a name.

The uuid3() method generates a UUID that based on the MD5 hash of namespace identifier and a string. On the other hand, the uuid5() method generates UUID based on the SHA-1 hashing technique of a namespace identifier.

Below are the namespaces identifiers defined by the uuid3() or uuid5().

  • NAMESPACE_DNS - It represents a traditional domain name. For example,
  • NAMESPACE_URL - It represents a URL.
  • NAMESPACE_OID - This namespace is specified the string ISO OID.
  • NAMESPACE_X500 - When this namespace is specified, the name string is an X.500 DN in DER or a text output format.

Let's understand the following example to generate UUID3 and UUID5 using the various hostname and namespace.

Example -


Generate uuid 3 version using name as  and namespace as uuid.NAMESPACE_DNS
Generate uuid 5 version using name as  and namespace as uuid.NAMESPACE_DNS
Generate uuid 3 version using name as  and namespace as uuid.NAMESPACE_DNS
Generate uuid 5 version using name as  and namespace as uuid.NAMESPACE_DNS

Example - 2: Generate UUID 3and UUID 5 using a different namespace


Generate uuid using namespace
uuid 3 is 6ddc8513-dc7b-3b37-b21b-a1ca9440fe14
uuid 5 is 8d6a1314-170a-559c-afe7-b68d1d7ee9ac

uuid 3 is 5dcfef3e-bcc9-38bc-b989-4a7516a05974
uuid 5 is 3a4a6c31-8d6a-5583-8497-d2ed90b1f13a

uuid 3 is 84d9730f-330f-3634-9542-4acfcdcd6c60
uuid 5 is 899f3d4b-6095-5ee6-9805-68e0c51dcb39

uuid 3 is b140fa3b-983a-3efe-85ef-92f07d5e09a0
uuid 5 is 73b723ef-5c5e-5eb4-8fcc-aabb5c4e7803

The Behavior of uuid3 and uuid5

  • Despite the same namespace and same name are similar, UUIDs generated at a different times.
  • Two different namespace in the same namespace are different, it generates the unique Ids.

Example - 3


Generate version 3 uuid using name as and namespace as uuid.NAMESPACE_DNS
Generate version 3 uuid using name as and namespace as uuid.NAMESPACE_DNS

How to convert string to UUID and UUID to string in Python?

The uuid.uuid1() method returns the instance of UUID class. We can get string representation of UUID using the str() method. The corresponding string format can be used in comparison or manipulation. Let's understand the following example.

Example -


The version 1 UUID is  cdca7930-7488-11ec-a0c4-4984d2946471
UUID of version 1 in String format cdca7930-7488-11ec-a0c4-4984d2946471
Version 1 UUID in String format cdca7930-7488-11ec-a0c4-4984d2946471
Version 1 UUID in String removing dashes cdca7930748811eca0c44984d2946471

Now, we will create UUID from String.

Sometimes, we get the UUID in string format. And our application needs to convert it in the UUID class instance for some applications. Let's understand the following example to convert string formatted UUID.

Example -


UUID is c7c9de0a-d676-11e8-8d62-ccaf789d94a0
Time component is 137595594281180682

UUID is 018c168c-d509-11e8-b096-ccaf789d94a0
Time component is 137594023292180108

UUID is e5e9394c-daed-498e-b9f3-69228b44fbfa
Time component is 688728508333635916

Example - 2:


string UUID

converted to uuids

sorted value

Generate Reproducible UUIDs

As we mentioned earlier, UUID has various attributes. We can use the same UUID using any of its attributes. Using the uuid module, we can generate the same uuid anytime using the seed value. The seed value can also be used to generate the same UUID. Let's understand both concepts.

The following inputs can be used to create UUID instance.

  • String
  • Bytes
  • Bytes_le
  • Fields
  • int

Using any of above value, the UUID can be generated. Let's see the following example where we use all these value of the same UUID.

Example -


Generating UUID from int
UUID is b1d0cac0-d50d-11e8-b57b-ccaf789d94a0
UUID is b1d0cac0-d50d-11e8-b57b-ccaf789d94a0
UUID from bytes
UUID is b1d0cac0-d50d-11e8-b57b-ccaf789d94a0
UUID from bytes_len
UUID is b1d0cac0-d50d-11e8-b57b-ccaf789d94a0
UUID from fields
UUID is b1d0cac0-d50d-11e8-b57b-ccaf789d94a0

Reproduce UUID with seed

As its name suggests, the Faker module generates fake data for us. We have used the faker module to generate the same UUID repeatedly. Let's understand the following example.

Example -




In this tutorial, we have discussed uuid module in details and understand how we can generate the various UUIDs. UUIDs help us to define the uniqueness in the application/database and also help to define identifiers for documents, hosts, application, clients, and other situation.

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