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.

When either the brotli or brotlicffi package is installed, requests also decodes Brotli-encoded responses.

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. See documentation about headers.

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! Requests officially supports Python 2.7 & 3.6+ and PyPy.

Python 2 Support?

Yes! We do not have immediate plans to sunset our support for Python 2.7. We understand that we have a large user base with varying needs.

That said, it is highly recommended users migrate to Python 3.6+ since Python 2.7 is no longer receiving bug fixes or security updates as of January 1, 2020.

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 2.7, 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 is important when servers are using Virtual Hosting. When such servers are hosting more than one SSL site they need to be able to return the appropriate certificate based on the hostname the client is connecting to.

Python3 and Python 2.7.9+ include native support for SNI in their SSL modules. For information on using SNI with Requests on Python < 2.7.9 refer to this Stack Overflow answer.