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Web Scraping with Python and Scrapy

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  • Post last modified:February 24, 2024

Web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites. Python provides several libraries for web scraping, with Scrapy being one of the most powerful and popular ones. In this tutorial, we’ll explore how to use Python and Scrapy for web scraping, along with examples.


Make sure you have the following installed:

  • Python (3.x recommended)
  • Pip (Python’s package installer)
  • Basic understanding of HTML and CSS

Step 1: Install Scrapy

Open your terminal or command prompt and install Scrapy using pip:

pip install scrapy

Step 2: Create a Scrapy Project

We’ll start by creating a new Scrapy project. In your terminal, navigate to the directory where you want to create the project and run:

scrapy startproject myproject

This will create a directory structure for your project with the following contents:

|-- myproject/
|   |--
|   |--
|   |--
|   |--
|   |--
|   |-- spiders/
|       |--
  • Define the data structure (items) you want to scrape.
  • Customize Scrapy’s request/response process.
  • Define how scraped items are processed.
  • Configure your Scrapy project settings.
  • spiders/: Directory for your spiders (the classes that define how a site will be scraped).

Step 3: Create a Spider

Spiders are classes that you define to scrape information from websites. Let’s create a simple spider to scrape quotes from

Create a new Python file inside the spiders/ directory:

import scrapy

class QuotesSpider(scrapy.Spider):
    name = 'quotes'
    start_urls = ['']

    def parse(self, response):
        for quote in response.css('div.quote'):
            yield {
                'text': quote.css('span.text::text').get(),
                'author': quote.css('span').get(),
                'tags': quote.css('div.tags a.tag::text').getall(),

        next_page = response.css(' a::attr(href)').get()
        if next_page is not None:
            yield response.follow(next_page, self.parse)

This spider will extract quotes, authors, and tags from the website. When it encounters a “Next” button, it will follow the link and continue scraping.

Step 4: Define Items (Optional)

In, you can define the structure of the data you are scraping. For our example, we can define a simple item:

import scrapy

class QuoteItem(scrapy.Item):
    text = scrapy.Field()
    author = scrapy.Field()
    tags = scrapy.Field()

Step 5: Running the Spider

To run the spider, use the scrapy crawl command followed by the spider name. Let’s crawl our quotes spider:

cd myproject
scrapy crawl quotes

Scrapy will start scraping the website and output the scraped data to the console. You can also save the data to a JSON file:

scrapy crawl quotes -o quotes.json

Step 6: Advanced Usage

Passing Arguments to Spiders

You can pass arguments to your spiders. Modify the start_urls attribute based on the arguments:

import scrapy

class QuotesSpider(scrapy.Spider):
    name = 'quotes'

    def start_requests(self):
        url = getattr(self, 'url', '')
        yield scrapy.Request(url, self.parse)

    def parse(self, response):
        # Your parsing logic

Then, run the spider with arguments:

scrapy crawl quotes -a url=

Using Pipelines

Pipelines are used for processing the scraped items. You can define a pipeline in

class MyProjectPipeline:
    def process_item(self, item, spider):
        # Process the scraped item (e.g., save to database)
        return item

Enable the pipeline in

    'myproject.pipelines.MyProjectPipeline': 300,

Using Middlewares

Middlewares are used to customize Scrapy’s request/response cycle. You can define a middleware in

from scrapy import signals

class MyMiddleware:
    def from_crawler(cls, crawler):
        # Create an instance of the middleware
        return cls()

    def process_request(self, request, spider):
        # Modify the request before sending
        return None

    def process_response(self, request, response, spider):
        # Modify the response
        return response

Enable the middleware in

    'myproject.middlewares.MyMiddleware': 543,


This tutorial covered creating a Scrapy project, defining spiders, running the spider, and some advanced features like passing arguments, using pipelines, and middlewares. Web scraping can be a powerful tool, but always ensure you are following the website’s terms of service and respect their robots.txt file. Happy scraping!

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