Eager to get started? This page gives a good introduction in how to get started with Requests.

First, make sure that:

Let’s get started with some simple examples.

Make a Request

Making a request with Requests is very simple.

Begin by importing the Requests module:

>>> import requests

Now, let’s try to get a webpage. For this example, let’s get GitHub’s public timeline

>>> r = requests.get('https://api.github.com/events')

Now, we have a Response object called r. We can get all the information we need from this object.

Requests’ simple API means that all forms of HTTP request are as obvious. For example, this is how you make an HTTP POST request:

>>> r = requests.post("http://httpbin.org/post")

Nice, right? What about the other HTTP request types: PUT, DELETE, HEAD and OPTIONS? These are all just as simple:

>>> r = requests.put("http://httpbin.org/put")
>>> r = requests.delete("http://httpbin.org/delete")
>>> r = requests.head("http://httpbin.org/get")
>>> r = requests.options("http://httpbin.org/get")

That’s all well and good, but it’s also only the start of what Requests can do.

Passing Parameters In URLs

You often want to send some sort of data in the URL’s query string. If you were constructing the URL by hand, this data would be given as key/value pairs in the URL after a question mark, e.g. httpbin.org/get?key=val. Requests allows you to provide these arguments as a dictionary, using the params keyword argument. As an example, if you wanted to pass key1=value1 and key2=value2 to httpbin.org/get, you would use the following code:

>>> payload = {'key1': 'value1', 'key2': 'value2'}
>>> r = requests.get("http://httpbin.org/get", params=payload)

You can see that the URL has been correctly encoded by printing the URL:

>>> print(r.url)

Note that any dictionary key whose value is None will not be added to the URL’s query string.

In order to pass a list of items as a value you must mark the key as referring to a list like string by appending [] to the key:

>>> payload = {'key1': 'value1', 'key2[]': ['value2', 'value3']}
>>> r = requests.get("http://httpbin.org/get", params=payload)
>>> print(r.url)

Response Content

We can read the content of the server’s response. Consider the GitHub timeline again:

>>> import requests
>>> r = requests.get('https://api.github.com/events')
>>> r.text

Requests will automatically decode content from the server. Most unicode charsets are seamlessly decoded.

When you make a request, Requests makes educated guesses about the encoding of the response based on the HTTP headers. The text encoding guessed by Requests is used when you access r.text. You can find out what encoding Requests is using, and change it, using the r.encoding property:

>>> r.encoding
>>> r.encoding = 'ISO-8859-1'

If you change the encoding, Requests will use the new value of r.encoding whenever you call r.text. You might want to do this in any situation where you can apply special logic to work out what the encoding of the content will be. For example, HTTP and XML have the ability to specify their encoding in their body. In situations like this, you should use r.content to find the encoding, and then set r.encoding. This will let you use r.text with the correct encoding.

Requests will also use custom encodings in the event that you need them. If you have created your own encoding and registered it with the codecs module, you can simply use the codec name as the value of r.encoding and Requests will handle the decoding for you.

Binary Response Content

You can also access the response body as bytes, for non-text requests:

>>> r.content

The gzip and deflate transfer-encodings are automatically decoded for you.

For example, to create an image from binary data returned by a request, you can use the following code:

>>> from PIL import Image
>>> from StringIO import StringIO
>>> i = Image.open(StringIO(r.content))

JSON Response Content

There’s also a builtin JSON decoder, in case you’re dealing with JSON data:

>>> import requests
>>> r = requests.get('https://api.github.com/events')
>>> r.json()
[{u'repository': {u'open_issues': 0, u'url': 'https://github.com/...

In case the JSON decoding fails, r.json raises an exception. For example, if the response gets a 401 (Unauthorized), attempting r.json raises ValueError: No JSON object could be decoded

Raw Response Content

In the rare case that you’d like to get the raw socket response from the server, you can access r.raw. If you want to do this, make sure you set stream=True in your initial request. Once you do, you can do this:

>>> r = requests.get('https://api.github.com/events', stream=True)
>>> r.raw
<requests.packages.urllib3.response.HTTPResponse object at 0x101194810>
>>> r.raw.read(10)

In general, however, you should use a pattern like this to save what is being streamed to a file:

with open(filename, 'wb') as fd:
    for chunk in r.iter_content(chunk_size):

Using Response.iter_content will handle a lot of what you would otherwise have to handle when using Response.raw directly. When streaming a download, the above is the preferred and recommended way to retrieve the content.

Custom Headers

If you’d like to add HTTP headers to a request, simply pass in a dict to the headers parameter.

For example, we didn’t specify our content-type in the previous example:

>>> import json
>>> url = 'https://api.github.com/some/endpoint'
>>> headers = {'user-agent': 'my-app/0.0.1'}

>>> r = requests.get(url, headers=headers)

Note: Custom headers are given less precedence than more specific sources of information. For instance:

  • Authorization headers will be overridden if credentials are passed via the auth parameter or are specified in a .netrc accessible in the environment.
  • Authorization headers will be removed if you get redirected off-host.
  • Proxy-Authorization headers will be overridden by proxy credentials provided in the URL.
  • Content-Length headers will be overridden when we can determine the length of the content.

Furthermore, Requests does not change its behavior at all based on which custom headers are specified. The headers are simply passed on into the final request.

More complicated POST requests

Typically, you want to send some form-encoded data — much like an HTML form. To do this, simply pass a dictionary to the data argument. Your dictionary of data will automatically be form-encoded when the request is made:

>>> payload = {'key1': 'value1', 'key2': 'value2'}
>>> r = requests.post("http://httpbin.org/post", data=payload)
>>> print(r.text)
  "form": {
    "key2": "value2",
    "key1": "value1"

There are many times that you want to send data that is not form-encoded. If you pass in a string instead of a dict, that data will be posted directly.

For example, the GitHub API v3 accepts JSON-Encoded POST/PATCH data:

>>> import json
>>> url = 'https://api.github.com/some/endpoint'
>>> payload = {'some': 'data'}

>>> r = requests.post(url, data=json.dumps(payload))

POST a Multipart-Encoded File

Requests makes it simple to upload Multipart-encoded files:

>>> url = 'http://httpbin.org/post'
>>> files = {'file': open('report.xls', 'rb')}

>>> r = requests.post(url, files=files)
>>> r.text
  "files": {
    "file": "<censored...binary...data>"

You can set the filename, content_type and headers explicitly:

>>> url = 'http://httpbin.org/post'
>>> files = {'file': ('report.xls', open('report.xls', 'rb'), 'application/vnd.ms-excel', {'Expires': '0'})}
>>> r = requests.post(url, files=files)
>>> r.text
  "files": {
    "file": "<censored...binary...data>"

If you want, you can send strings to be received as files:

>>> url = 'http://httpbin.org/post'
>>> files = {'file': ('report.csv', 'some,data,to,send\nanother,row,to,send\n')}

>>> r = requests.post(url, files=files)
>>> r.text
  "files": {
    "file": "some,data,to,send\\nanother,row,to,send\\n"

In the event you are posting a very large file as a multipart/form-data request, you may want to stream the request. By default, requests does not support this, but there is a separate package which does - requests-toolbelt. You should read the toolbelt’s documentation for more details about how to use it.

For sending multiple files in one request refer to the advanced section.

Response Status Codes

We can check the response status code:

>>> r = requests.get('http://httpbin.org/get')
>>> r.status_code

Requests also comes with a built-in status code lookup object for easy reference:

>>> r.status_code == requests.codes.ok

If we made a bad request (a 4XX client error or 5XX server error response), we can raise it with Response.raise_for_status():

>>> bad_r = requests.get('http://httpbin.org/status/404')
>>> bad_r.status_code

>>> bad_r.raise_for_status()
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "requests/models.py", line 832, in raise_for_status
    raise http_error
requests.exceptions.HTTPError: 404 Client Error

But, since our status_code for r was 200, when we call raise_for_status() we get:

>>> r.raise_for_status()

All is well.

Response Headers

We can view the server’s response headers using a Python dictionary:

>>> r.headers
    'content-encoding': 'gzip',
    'transfer-encoding': 'chunked',
    'connection': 'close',
    'server': 'nginx/1.0.4',
    'x-runtime': '148ms',
    'etag': '"e1ca502697e5c9317743dc078f67693f"',
    'content-type': 'application/json'

The dictionary is special, though: it’s made just for HTTP headers. According to RFC 7230, HTTP Header names are case-insensitive.

So, we can access the headers using any capitalization we want:

>>> r.headers['Content-Type']

>>> r.headers.get('content-type')

It is also special in that the server could have sent the same header multiple times with different values, but requests combines them so they can be represented in the dictionary within a single mapping, as per RFC 7230:

> A recipient MAY combine multiple header fields with the same field name > into one “field-name: field-value” pair, without changing the semantics > of the message, by appending each subsequent field value to the combined > field value in order, separated by a comma.


If a response contains some Cookies, you can quickly access them:

>>> url = 'http://example.com/some/cookie/setting/url'
>>> r = requests.get(url)

>>> r.cookies['example_cookie_name']

To send your own cookies to the server, you can use the cookies parameter:

>>> url = 'http://httpbin.org/cookies'
>>> cookies = dict(cookies_are='working')

>>> r = requests.get(url, cookies=cookies)
>>> r.text
'{"cookies": {"cookies_are": "working"}}'

Redirection and History

By default Requests will perform location redirection for all verbs except HEAD.

We can use the history property of the Response object to track redirection.

The Response.history list contains the Response objects that were created in order to complete the request. The list is sorted from the oldest to the most recent response.

For example, GitHub redirects all HTTP requests to HTTPS:

>>> r = requests.get('http://github.com')
>>> r.url
>>> r.status_code
>>> r.history
[<Response [301]>]

If you’re using GET, OPTIONS, POST, PUT, PATCH or DELETE, you can disable redirection handling with the allow_redirects parameter:

>>> r = requests.get('http://github.com', allow_redirects=False)
>>> r.status_code
>>> r.history

If you’re using HEAD, you can enable redirection as well:

>>> r = requests.head('http://github.com', allow_redirects=True)
>>> r.url
>>> r.history
[<Response [301]>]


You can tell Requests to stop waiting for a response after a given number of seconds with the timeout parameter:

>>> requests.get('http://github.com', timeout=0.001)
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
requests.exceptions.Timeout: HTTPConnectionPool(host='github.com', port=80): Request timed out. (timeout=0.001)


timeout is not a time limit on the entire response download; rather, an exception is raised if the server has not issued a response for timeout seconds (more precisely, if no bytes have been received on the underlying socket for timeout seconds).

Errors and Exceptions

In the event of a network problem (e.g. DNS failure, refused connection, etc), Requests will raise a ConnectionError exception.

In the rare event of an invalid HTTP response, Requests will raise an HTTPError exception.

If a request times out, a Timeout exception is raised.

If a request exceeds the configured number of maximum redirections, a TooManyRedirects exception is raised.

All exceptions that Requests explicitly raises inherit from requests.exceptions.RequestException.

Ready for more? Check out the advanced section.

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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