Downloading files from web using Python
Requests is a versatile HTTP library in python with various applications. One of its applications is to download a file from web using the file URL.
Installation: First of all, you would need to download the requests library. You can directly install it using pip by typing following command:
pip install requests
Or download it directly from here and install manually.
This small piece of code written above will download the following image from the web. Now check your local directory(the folder where this script resides), and you will find this image:
All we need is the URL of the image source. (You can get the URL of image source by right-clicking on the image and selecting the View Image option.)
Download large files
The HTTP response content (r.content) is nothing but a string which is storing the file data. So, it won’t be possible to save all the data in a single string in case of large files. To overcome this problem, we do some changes to our program:
r = requests.get(URL, stream = True)
Setting stream parameter to True will cause the download of response headers only and the connection remains open. This avoids reading the content all at once into memory for large responses. A fixed chunk will be loaded each time while r.iter_content is iterated.
Here is an example:
In this example, we are interested in downloading all the video lectures available on this web-page. All the archives of this lecture are available here. So, we first scrape the webpage to extract all video links and then download the videos one by one.
Advantages of using Requests library to download web files are:
- One can easily download the web directories by iterating recursively through the website!
- This is a browser-independent method and much faster!
- One can simply scrape a web page to get all the file URLs on a webpage and hence, download all files in a single command-
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