Getting HEAD content with Python Requests

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Question :

Getting HEAD content with Python Requests

I’m trying to parse the result of a HEAD request done using the Python Requests library, but can’t seem to access the response content.

According to the docs, I should be able to access the content from requests.Response.text. This works fine for me on GET requests, but returns None on HEAD requests.

GET request (works)

import requests
response = requests.get(url)
content = response.text

content = <html>...</html>

HEAD request (no content)

import requests
response = requests.head(url)
content = response.text

content = None


OK I’ve quickly realized form the answers that the HEAD request is not supposed to return content- only headers. But does that mean that, to access things found IN the <head> tag of a page, like <link> and <meta> tags, that one must GET the whole document?

Asked By: Yarin


Answer #1:

By definition, the responses to HEAD requests do not contain a message-body.

Send a GET request if you want to, well, get a response body. Send a HEAD request iff you are only interested in the response status code and headers.

HTTP transfers arbitrary content; the HTTP term header is completely unrelated to an HTML <head>. However, HTTP can be advised to download only a part of the document. If you know the length of the HTML <head> code (or an upper boundary therefor), you can include an HTTP Range header in your request that advises the remote server to only return a certain number of bytes. If the remote server supports HTTP ranges, it will then serve the reduced answer.

Answered By: phihag

Answer #2:

A HEAD doesn’t have any content! Try response.headers – that’s probably where the action is. An HTTP HEAD request doesn’t get the <head> element of the HTML response you would get from a GET request. I think that’s your mistake.

Answered By: Spacedman

Answer #3:

HEAD responses have no body. They only return HTTP headers, the same you would get using a GET request.

Answered By: Dor Shemer

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