A Simple Guide to Use urllib to Crawl Web Page in Python 3 – Python Web Crawler Tutorial

By | July 16, 2019

Python 3 urllib is a package that helps us to open urls. It contains four parts:

  • urllib.request for opening and reading URLs
  • urllib.error containing the exceptions raised by urllib.request
  • urllib.parse for parsing URLs
  • urllib.robotparser for parsing robots.txt files

urllib.request and urllib.parse are most used in python applications, In this tutorial, we will introduce how to crawl web page using python 3 urllib.

python 3 urllib example


# -*- coding:utf-8 -*-
import urllib.request

Set start url you want to crawl

start_url = "https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/tutorialexample.com"

Build a http request object

We use http request object to connect web server and craw web page.

req = urllib.request.Request(start_url)

Add http request header for your request object

An Easy Guide to Get HTTP Request Header List for Beginners – Python Web Crawler Tutorial

#add request header
req.add_header('Accept', 'text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/webp,image/apng,*/*;q=0.8')
req.add_header('Accept-Encoding', 'gzip, deflate, br')
req.add_header('Accept-Language', 'zh-CN,zh;q=0.9')
req.add_header('Cache-Control', 'max-age=0')
req.add_header('Referer', 'https://www.google.com/')
req.add_header('User-Agent', 'Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/63.0.3239.132 Safari/537.36')

Crawl web page and get http response object

response = urllib.request.urlopen(req)

If you want to know what variables and functions in response object. you can read this tutorial.

A Simple Way to Find Python Object Variables and Functions – Python Tutorial

Check response code and get web page content

response_code = response.status
if response_code == 200:
    content = response.read().decode("utf8")

Then a basic web page crawler is built.