The urllib and urllib2 modules in Python provide developers with easy ways to make HTTP requests. Though they seem similar, there are some key differences that impact how you use them.
urllib: Basic HTTP Requests
The urllib module provides basic building blocks for making HTTP requests. With urllib, you can:Open and read URLsParse query parametersEncode special characters in URLs
response = urllib.urlopen('http://www.example.com/?page=1')
html = response.read()
However, urllib lacks some important features like HTTPS verification and error handling. It also handles HTTP responses differently than urllib2.
urllib2: More Robust HTTP
urllib2 builds on top of urllib and provides more robust HTTP capabilities:SSL/TLS verification for HTTPS requestsCustom request headersError handling via try/except blocksAutomatic decompressionHandling redirects
Here's an example with urllib2:
request = urllib2.Request('https://www.example.com/')
response = urllib2.urlopen(request)
page = response.read()
As you can see, urllib2 allows HTTPS URLs and gives you more control over the request and error handling.
In summary, use urllib for simple HTTP requests and urllib2 when you need robust HTTPS, redirects, custom headers, or error handling. urllib2 builds on urllib so you'll have access to both regardless.