Keeping Sessions Alive with Persistent Connections in Python Requests

Feb 3, 2024 ยท 2 min read

When making requests to APIs or web services with the Python Requests library, it can be beneficial to use persistent sessions. A persistent session allows you to reuse the same TCP connection for multiple requests, avoiding the overhead of establishing a new connection for every request.

Why Use Persistent Sessions?

Some key advantages of using persistent sessions in Requests:

  • Performance: Reusing connections is faster than establishing a new TCP handshake and SSL negotiation per request. This improves overall request throughput.
  • Connection Pooling: Requests handles connection re-use automatically via its connection pool. Reused connections are returned to the pool rather than closed after each request.
  • Session State: Cookies, headers, and other session data is automatically retained and applied to future requests. Useful for stateful APIs.
  • Creating a Persistent Session

    import requests
    
    session = requests.Session()

    This creates a new session object you can use for all subsequent requests:

    response = session.get('https://api.example.com/v1/data') 
    # Session used automatically

    Any custom headers, authentication, cookies or other session parameters are also retained:

    session.headers.update({'X-Auth-Token': 'my-token'})

    When to Use Persistent Sessions

    Some good use cases:

  • Calling any stateful API or service that uses cookies/sessions.
  • When making many frequent requests to the same domain for performance.
  • Calling APIs that require authentication via headers or other parameters.
  • Just be aware that sessions can consume extra TCP connections. For sporadic requests, individual requests may be preferred.

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