Troubleshooting Stale Data in Python Requests

Feb 3, 2024 ยท 2 min read

It can be frustrating when making requests in Python and getting back the same data repeatedly, instead of fresh results each time. Often this is caused by caching either on the client or server side. Here are some things to check:

Check for Client-Side Caching

The Python requests library may cache responses to improve performance. This caching can be disabled when making the request:

import requests

response = requests.get('http://example.com', cache=False) 

Setting cache=False will force each request to fetch a new result from the server.

Check the Server Configuration

Many web servers and APIs enable caching of responses by default. This means repeat requests may get back a cached response rather than triggering a fresh database lookup or computation.

Check the configuration of the API or web application you are requesting data from. Often there are settings to disable caching for development purposes or to set a short cache lifetime.

If you don't control the server, look for parameters to add to the URL such as ?timestamp=${Date.now()} to trick it into thinking each request is unique.

Use Session for Statefulness

For APIs that keep state, use a Session instead of making one-off requests:

session = requests.Session()
response = session.get('http://example.com/api') 

This will ensure cookies and other state like authentication is retained between requests.

Summary

  • Check for client-side caching in requests and disable
  • Ensure server is not caching responses
  • Use sessions for APIs that require statefulness
  • Getting duplicate data can be frustrating! Hopefully these tips help troubleshoot stale responses in Python requests.

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