urllib

Decode received bytes according to content type encoding

The received bytes have to be decoded with the correct character encoding to be interpreted as text:

Python 3.x3.0
import urllib.request

response = urllib.request.urlopen("http://stackoverflow.com/")
data = response.read()

encoding = response.info().get_content_charset()
html = data.decode(encoding)
Python 2.x2.7
import urllib2
response = urllib2.urlopen("http://stackoverflow.com/")
data = response.read()

encoding = response.info().getencoding()
html = data.decode(encoding)

HTTP GET

Python 2.x2.7

Python 2

import urllib
response = urllib.urlopen('http://stackoverflow.com/documentation/')

Using urllib.urlopen() will return a response object, which can be handled similar to a file.

print response.code
# Prints: 200

The response.code represents the http return value. 200 is OK, 404 is NotFound, etc.

print response.read()
'<!DOCTYPE html>\r\n<html>\r\n<head>\r\n\r\n<title>Documentation - Stack. etc'

response.read() and response.readlines() can be used to read the actual html file returned from the request. These methods operate similarly to file.read*

Python 3.x3.0

Python 3

import urllib.request

print(urllib.request.urlopen("http://stackoverflow.com/documentation/"))
# Prints: <http.client.HTTPResponse at 0x7f37a97e3b00>

response = urllib.request.urlopen("http://stackoverflow.com/documentation/")

print(response.code)
# Prints: 200
print(response.read())
# Prints: b'<!DOCTYPE html>\r\n<html>\r\n<head>\r\n\r\n<title>Documentation - Stack Overflow</title> 

The module has been updated for Python 3.x, but use cases remain basically the same. urllib.request.urlopen will return a similar file-like object.

HTTP POST

To POST data pass the encoded query arguments as data to urlopen()

Python 2.x2.7

Python 2

import urllib
query_parms = {'username':'stackoverflow', 'password':'me.me'}
encoded_parms = urllib.urlencode(query_parms)
response = urllib.urlopen("https://stackoverflow.com/users/login", encoded_parms)
response.code
# Output: 200
response.read()
# Output: '<!DOCTYPE html>\r\n<html>\r\n<head>\r\n\r\n<title>Log In - Stack Overflow'
Python 3.x3.0

Python 3

import urllib
query_parms = {'username':'stackoverflow', 'password':'me.me'}
encoded_parms = urllib.parse.urlencode(query_parms).encode('utf-8')
response = urllib.request.urlopen("https://stackoverflow.com/users/login", encoded_parms)
response.code
# Output: 200
response.read()
# Output: b'<!DOCTYPE html>\r\n<html>....etc'