Handling FileNotFoundException in PySpark and Databricks

What will you learn?

In this comprehensive guide, you will master the art of resolving FileNotFoundException errors when utilizing addFile and SparkFiles.get methods in PySpark and Databricks. By understanding the intricacies of these methods, you will be equipped to effectively manage additional file dependencies in your distributed data processing tasks.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

When working with distributed data processing frameworks like Apache Spark on platforms such as Databricks, sharing supplementary files across nodes is essential for seamless execution. The PySpark addFile method facilitates this process by enabling the distribution of files to all executor nodes. However, accessing these files using SparkFiles.get can sometimes lead to frustrating java.io.FileNotFoundException errors. These errors typically arise from incorrect file paths or inadequate awareness of added files within the execution context.

To overcome this challenge, we will delve into the functionality of both methods, explore common reasons for failures, and provide a systematic approach to troubleshoot and resolve such issues. Our objective is to empower you to utilize these features confidently without encountering disruptive exceptions.


from pyspark import SparkFiles

file_path_on_executor = SparkFiles.get("<filename>")

# Utilize file_path_on_executor as needed.

# Copyright PHD


Our solution revolves around two key actions: 1. Adding Files: Use spark.sparkContext.addFile(“<path_to_your_file>”) to distribute your desired file across all executor nodes within the cluster. Ensure that <path_to_your_file> is accessible from the master node. 2. Retrieving Files: Access the file within your task on an executor node by using SparkFiles.get(“<filename>”), ensuring that <filename> precisely matches the name of the added file (not its path).

Common mistakes leading to exceptions involve inaccuracies in reference paths or filenames during retrieval. Therefore, meticulous verification of filenames and extensions can significantly reduce troubleshooting efforts.

  1. How do I debug java.io.FileNotFoundException?

  2. To debug this error: – Verify the correctness and accessibility of the path provided in addFile. – Ensure that the filename used in SparkFiles.get exactly matches what was added. – Check if network policies restrict access between nodes.

  3. Can I add directories using addFile?

  4. No, addFile is designed for individual files only; however, zipping directories can be a workaround.

  5. Do I need special permissions to use these methods?

  6. You require read permissions on added files but no special permissions are necessary for method usage.

  7. How does adding files affect job performance?

  8. There is minimal overhead during job initialization for distributing files across nodes.

  9. Is it possible to remove a file after adding it?

  10. Once added via sparkContext.addFile(), the file remains available throughout that session’s lifecycle without explicit removal options.


Effectively managing additional file dependencies through PySpark’s addFile and SparkFiles.get() methods enhances your ability to handle distributed computing tasks effortlessly. By adhering to best practices such as accurate filename matching and ensuring accessibility from master nodes, you can streamline execution flows in applications leveraging Apache Spark capabilities within environments like Databricks or standalone clusters.

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