Mastering Scrapy: How to Add Headers to Every or Some Scrapy Requests

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Incorporating headers into Scrapy spiders is an essential technique for web scrapers looking to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their data collection strategies. Headers play a crucial role in ensuring that your Scrapy spiders are perceived as legitimate by web servers, thus enhancing the success rate of your data extraction efforts. Whether your goal is to apply headers to every request or only to specific ones, Scrapy provides a flexible framework to achieve this. For those aiming to elevate their web scraping projects, utilizing a sophisticated web scraping API can offer unparalleled advantages, from simplifying request management to optimizing data extraction processes. This can be manually executed for each request:

class MySpider(scrapy.Spider):
    def parse(self, response):
        yield scrapy.Request(..., headers={"x-token": "123"})

However, to automatically incorporate headers into every or specific outgoing scrapy requests, the DEFAULT_REQUEST_HEADERS setting can be utilized:

    "User-Agent": "my awesome scrapy robot",

If more intricate logic is required, such as adding headers only to certain requests or random User-Agent header, a request middleware is the optimal choice:

import random

class RandomUserAgentMiddleware:
    def __init__(self, user_agents):
        self.user_agents = user_agents

    def from_crawler(cls, crawler):
        """retrieve user agent list from settings.USER_AGENTS"""
        user_agents = crawler.settings.get('USER_AGENTS', [])
        if not user_agents:
            raise ValueError('No user agents found in settings. Please provide a list of user agents in the USER_AGENTS setting.')
        return cls(user_agents)

    def process_request(self, request, spider):
        """attach random user agent to every outgoing request"""
        user_agent = random.choice(self.user_agents)
        request.headers.setdefault('User-Agent', user_agent)
        spider.logger.debug(f'Using User-Agent: {user_agent}')

    # ...
    'myproject.middlewares.RandomUserAgentMiddleware': 760,
    # ...

    'Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/58.0.3029.110 Safari/537.36',
    'Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/60.0.3112.113 Safari/537.36',
    'Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:54.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/54.0',
    'Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_12_6) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/61.0.3163.100 Safari/537.36',
    # ...

It’s important to note that if you’re utilizing Scrape Network’s scrapy SDK, some headers like the User-Agent string are automatically added by the smart anti-blocking API.

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