Python Error: typeerror: a bytes-like object is required, not ‘str’

It seems like the only certainty in programming is getting constant error messages. If you’ve somehow made it this far without getting any, then either you’re a wizard or haven’t done any programming at all. Python is no exception, with an error message like this one always popping up to ruin your day.

What does it mean?

Seeing the typeerror: a bytes-like object is required not str message likely means your file is being read as a binary object, but used as a string. This error happens with file reading, because a bytes object or binary file is generally read in binary format. If it is read as a binary file, and you try to use it as a byte object string in your program, this error message will appear. It may seem confusing, but in reality the solution to this problem is quite simple.

Why did this happen?

This particular typeerror: a bytes-like object is required not str is caused by a text file being accessed as a string, though it is actualyl in binary mode. Issues with a bytes like object such as this one most often happen when the file is accesed through some sort of import socket, rather than directly into the Python program. This causes the data to be loaded as a bytearray. However, the program attempts to read the bytearray not in its default encoding but as a Unicode string, creating the problem you are now experiencing.

How do I fix it?

This problem has four main solutions:

1. The most common way is through turning the string used in the split() function to binary format, which can be done simply by putting a ‘b’ in front of the string.

2. The second way uses the decode() function, which can turn the binary data into string data. Using a bytes class decode process, you can turn the binary data into a string, rather than the other way around.

3. This way uses an encoding function encode() to turn the string into a binary format. It works essentially the same as the first solution we listed, but you may prefer one over the other to fix your unicode string issue.

4. This solution attacks the root of the problem, using text mode and not binary mode to open the file. This code solution can fix typeerror by hitting at the heart of the problem, rather than just patching up its effects.

Any one example method in our Python tutorial can help you fix typeerror problems such as this one, and even stop them before they happen in the future. There are four solutions that will fix the error value problem, but the last one fixes the source of the byte like object error, and thus is probably the one you should use. This will load it as a text file rather than binary data, allowing you to process the data as a string and avoid getting this error message altogether.

Python Error: typeerror: a bytes-like object is required, not ‘str’
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