Frequently Asked Questions

This part of the documentation answers common questions about Requests.

Encoded Data?

Requests automatically decompresses gzip-encoded responses, and does its best to decode response content to unicode when possible.

You can get direct access to the raw response (and even the socket), if needed as well.

Custom User-Agents?

Requests allows you to easily override User-Agent strings, along with any other HTTP Header.

Why not Httplib2?

Chris Adams gave an excellent summary on Hacker News:

httplib2 is part of why you should use requests: it’s far more respectable as a client but not as well documented and it still takes way too much code for basic operations. I appreciate what httplib2 is trying to do, that there’s a ton of hard low-level annoyances in building a modern HTTP client, but really, just use requests instead. Kenneth Reitz is very motivated and he gets the degree to which simple things should be simple whereas httplib2 feels more like an academic exercise than something people should use to build production systems[1].

Disclosure: I’m listed in the requests AUTHORS file but can claim credit for, oh, about 0.0001% of the awesomeness.

1. http://code.google.com/p/httplib2/issues/detail?id=96 is a good example: an annoying bug which affect many people, there was a fix available for months, which worked great when I applied it in a fork and pounded a couple TB of data through it, but it took over a year to make it into trunk and even longer to make it onto PyPI where any other project which required ” httplib2” would get the working version.

Python 3 Support?

Yes! Here’s a list of Python platforms that are officially supported:

  • Python 2.6
  • Python 2.7
  • Python 3.1
  • Python 3.2
  • Python 3.3
  • PyPy 1.9

What are “hostname doesn’t match” errors?

These errors occur when SSL certificate verification fails to match the certificate the server responds with to the hostname Requests thinks it’s contacting. If you’re certain the server’s SSL setup is correct (for example, because you can visit the site with your browser) and you’re using Python 2.6 or 2.7, a possible explanation is that you need Server-Name-Indication.

Server-Name-Indication, or SNI, is an official extension to SSL where the client tells the server what hostname it is contacting. This enables virtual hosting on SSL protected sites, the server being to able to respond with a certificate appropriate for the hostname the client is contacting.

Python3’s SSL module includes native support for SNI. This support has not been back ported to Python2. For information on using SNI with Requests on Python2 refer to this Stack Overflow answer.

Requests is an elegant and simple HTTP library for Python, built for human beings. You are currently looking at the documentation of the development release.

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