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Top 5 Popular Python Libraries for Web Scraping in 2020

Oleg Kulyk

Oleg Kulyk

Co-Founder @ ScrapingAnt

Top 5 Popular Python Libraries for Web Scraping in 2020

It is a well-known fact that Python is one of the most popular programming languages for data mining and Web Scraping. There are tons of libraries and niche scrapers around the community, but we’d like to share the 5 most popular of them.

Most of these libraries' advantages can be received by using our API and some of these libraries can be used in stack with it.

The Top 5 Python Web Scraping Libraries in 2020#

1. Requests#

Requests logo

Well known library for most of the Python developers as a fundamental tool to get raw HTML data from web resources.

To install the library just execute the following PyPI command in your command prompt or Terminal:

pip install requests

After this you can check installation using REPL:

>>> import requests
>>> r = requests.get('https://api.github.com/repos/psf/requests')
>>> r.json()["description"]
'A simple, yet elegant HTTP library.'

2. LXML#

LXML logo

When we’re talking about the speed and parsing of the HTML we should keep in mind this great library called LXML. This is a real champion in HTML and XML parsing while Web Scraping, so the software based on LXML can be used for scraping of frequently-changing pages like gambling sites that provide odds for live events.

To install the library just execute the following PyPI command in your command prompt or Terminal:

pip install lxml

The LXML Toolkit is a really powerful instrument and the whole functionality can’t be described in just a few words, so the following links might be very useful:

3. BeautifulSoup#

BeautifulSoup logo

Probably 80% of all the Python Web Scraping tutorials on the Internet uses the BeautifulSoup4 library as a simple tool for dealing with retrieved HTML in the most human-preferable way. Selectors, attributes, DOM-tree, and much more. The perfect choice for porting code to or from Javascript's Cheerio or jQuery.

To install this library just execute the following PyPI command in your command prompt or Terminal:

pip install beautifulsoup4

As it was mentioned before, there are a bunch of tutorials around the Internet about BeautifulSoup4 usage, so do not hesitate to Google it!

4. Selenium#

Selenium logo

Selenium is the most popular Web Driver that has a lot of wrappers suitable for most programming languages. Quality Assurance engineers, automation specialists, developers, data scientists - all of them at least once used this perfect tool. For the Web Scraping it’s like a Swiss Army knife - there are no additional libraries needed because any action can be performed with a browser like a real user: page opening, button click, form filling, Captcha resolving, and much more.

To install this library just execute the following PyPI command in your command prompt or Terminal:

pip install selenium

The code below describes how easy Web Crawling can be started with using Selenium:

from selenium import webdriver
from selenium.webdriver.common.keys import Keys
driver = webdriver.Firefox()
driver.get("http://www.python.org")
assert "Python" in driver.title
elem = driver.find_element_by_name("q")
elem.send_keys("pycon")
elem.send_keys(Keys.RETURN)
assert "No results found." not in driver.page_source
driver.close()

As this example only illustrates 1% of the Selenium power, we’d like to offer of following useful links:

5. Scrapy#

Scrapy logo

Scrapy is the greatest Web Scraping framework, and it was developed by a team with a lot of enterprise scraping experience. The software created on top of this library can be a crawler, scraper, and data extractor or even all this together.

To install this library just execute the following PyPI command in your command prompt or Terminal:

pip install scrapy

We definitely suggest you start with a tutorial to know more about this piece of gold: https://docs.scrapy.org/en/latest/intro/tutorial.html

As usual, the useful links are below:

What web scraping library to use?#

So, it’s all up to you and up to the task you’re trying to resolve, but always remember to read the Privacy Policy and Terms of the site you’re scraping 😉.