Simplified Python gRPC Interceptors

The primary aim of this project is to make Python gRPC interceptors simple. The Python grpc package provides service interceptors, but they’re a bit hard to use because of their flexibility. The grpc interceptors don’t have direct access to the request and response objects, or the service context. Access to these are often desired, to be able to log data in the request or response, or set status codes on the context.

The secondary aim of this project is to keep the code small and simple. Code you can read through and understand quickly gives you confidence and helps debug issues. When you install this package, you also don’t want a bunch of other packages that might cause conflicts within your project. Too many dependencies also slow down installation as well as runtime (fresh imports take time). Hence, a goal of this project is to keep dependencies to a minimum. The only core dependency is the grpc package, and the testing extra includes protobuf as well.

The grpc_interceptor package provides the following:

  • A ServerInterceptor base class, to make it easy to define your own server-side interceptors. Do not confuse this with the grpc.ServerInterceptor class.

  • An ExceptionToStatusInterceptor interceptor, so your service can raise exceptions that set the gRPC status code correctly (rather than the default of every exception resulting in an UNKNOWN status code). This is something for which pretty much any service will have a use.

  • A ClientInterceptor base class, to make it easy to define your own client-side interceptors. Do not confuse this with the grpc.ClientInterceptor class.

  • An optional testing framework. If you’re writing your own interceptors, this is useful. If you’re just using ExceptionToStatusInterceptor then you don’t need this.


To install just the interceptors:

$ pip install grpc-interceptor

To also install the testing framework:

$ pip install grpc-interceptor[testing]


Server Interceptors

To define your own server interceptor (we can use a simplified version of ExceptionToStatusInterceptor as an example):

from grpc_interceptor import ServerInterceptor
from grpc_interceptor.exceptions import GrpcException

class ExceptionToStatusInterceptor(ServerInterceptor):

    def intercept(
        method: Callable,
        request: Any,
        context: grpc.ServicerContext,
        method_name: str,
    ) -> Any:
        """Override this method to implement a custom interceptor.

         You should call method(request, context) to invoke the
         next handler (either the RPC method implementation, or the
         next interceptor in the list).

             method: The next interceptor, or method implementation.
             request: The RPC request, as a protobuf message.
             context: The ServicerContext pass by gRPC to the service.
             method_name: A string of the form

             This should generally return the result of
             method(request, context), which is typically the RPC
             method response, as a protobuf message. The interceptor
             is free to modify this in some way, however.
            return method(request, context)
        except GrpcException as e:

Then inject your interceptor when you create the grpc server:

interceptors = [ExceptionToStatusInterceptor()]
server = grpc.server(

To use ExceptionToStatusInterceptor:

from grpc_interceptor.exceptions import NotFound

class MyService(my_pb2_grpc.MyServiceServicer):
    def MyRpcMethod(
        self, request: MyRequest, context: grpc.ServicerContext
    ) -> MyResponse:
        thing = lookup_thing()
        if not thing:
            raise NotFound("Sorry, your thing is missing")

This results in the gRPC status status code being set to NOT_FOUND, and the details "Sorry, your thing is missing". This saves you the hassle of catching exceptions in your service handler, or passing the context down into helper functions so they can call context.abort or context.set_code. It allows the more Pythonic approach of just raising an exception from anywhere in the code, and having it be handled automatically.

Client Interceptors

We will use an invocation metadata injecting interceptor as an example of defining a client interceptor:

from grpc_interceptor import ClientCallDetails, ClientInterceptor

class MetadataClientInterceptor(ClientInterceptor):

    def intercept(
        method: Callable,
        request_or_iterator: Any,
        call_details: grpc.ClientCallDetails,
        """Override this method to implement a custom interceptor.

        This method is called for all unary and streaming RPCs. The interceptor
        implementation should call `method` using a `grpc.ClientCallDetails` and the
        `request_or_iterator` object as parameters. The `request_or_iterator`
        parameter may be type checked to determine if this is a singluar request
        for unary RPCs or an iterator for client-streaming or client-server streaming

            method: A function that proceeds with the invocation by executing the next
                interceptor in the chain or invoking the actual RPC on the underlying
            request_or_iterator: RPC request message or iterator of request messages
                for streaming requests.
            call_details: Describes an RPC to be invoked.

            The type of the return should match the type of the return value received
            by calling `method`. This is an object that is both a
            `Call <>`_ for the
            RPC and a `Future <>`_.

            The actual result from the RPC can be got by calling `.result()` on the
            value returned from `method`.
        new_details = ClientCallDetails(
            [("authorization", "Bearer mysecrettoken")],

        return method(request_or_iterator, new_details)

Now inject your interceptor when you create the grpc channel:

interceptors = [MetadataClientInterceptor()]
with grpc.insecure_channel("grpc-server:50051") as channel:
    channel = grpc.intercept_channel(channel, *interceptors)

Client interceptors can also be used to retry RPCs that fail due to specific errors, or a host of other use cases. There are some basic approaches in the tests to get you started.


The testing framework provides an actual gRPC service and client, which you can inject interceptors into. This allows end-to-end testing, rather than mocking things out (such as the context). This can catch interactions between your interceptors and the gRPC framework, and also allows chaining interceptors.

The crux of the testing framework is the dummy_client context manager. It provides a client to a gRPC service, which by defaults echos the input field of the request to the output field of the response.

You can also provide a special_cases dict which tells the service to call arbitrary functions when the input matches a key in the dict. This allows you to test things like exceptions being thrown.

Here’s an example (again using ExceptionToStatusInterceptor):

from grpc_interceptor import ExceptionToStatusInterceptor
from grpc_interceptor.exceptions import NotFound
from grpc_interceptor.testing import dummy_client, DummyRequest, raises

def test_exception():
    special_cases = {"error": raises(NotFound())}
    interceptors = [ExceptionToStatusInterceptor()]
    with dummy_client(special_cases=special_cases, interceptors=interceptors) as client:
        # Test a happy path first
        assert client.Execute(DummyRequest(input="foo")).output == "foo"
        # And now a special case
        with pytest.raises(grpc.RpcError) as e:
        assert e.value.code() == grpc.StatusCode.NOT_FOUND


Contributions or requests are welcome for any limitations you may find.