What is Urllib Python?

Feb 20, 2024 ยท 2 min read

The urllib library in Python provides developers with tools for working with URLs and making HTTP requests. Urllib is useful for fetching web pages, JSON data, images, and other content from the web.

What is Urllib?

Urllib is a package that comes built-in with Python (no installation required). It provides a simple interface for fetching data from the web using URLs.

Some key things urllib can do:

  • Open and read URLs
  • Parse query parameters
  • Encode special characters in URLs
  • Handle redirects
  • Submit web forms
  • Manage cookies
  • Making Requests with Urllib

    Here is a simple example to fetch a web page using urllib and print the response:

    import urllib.request
    with urllib.request.urlopen('https://www.python.org/') as response:
       html = response.read()

    We import urllib.request, open a URL, read the response into a variable, and print it out.

    The urlopen() function handles all the HTTP protocol and header details for us. Other useful features of the Request object include:

  • Getting the response HTTP status code
  • Checking response headers
  • Handling redirects
  • Managing cookies
  • When to Use Urllib

    The urllib library is useful for basic HTTP requests without any advanced functionality. If you need to:

  • Scrape web pages
  • Interact with REST APIs
  • Upload/download files
  • Then consider requests as a more full-featured alternative. But urllib is great for simple GET requests and when requests is not available.

    In Summary

    That covers the basics of using urllib in Python! Urllib provides a simple API for fetching data from URLs with minimal code. As your HTTP requests get more complex, explore the requests module and other 3rd party packages.

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