how to follow meta refreshes in Python

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Question :

how to follow meta refreshes in Python

Python’s urllib2 follows 3xx redirects to get the final content. Is there a way to make urllib2 (or some other library such as httplib2) also follow meta refreshes? Or do I need to parse the HTML manually for the refresh meta tags?

Asked By: hoju


Answer #1:

Here is a solution using BeautifulSoup and httplib2 (and certificate based authentication):

import BeautifulSoup
import httplib2

def meta_redirect(content):
    soup  = BeautifulSoup.BeautifulSoup(content)

    if result:
        if text.strip().lower().startswith("url="):
            return url
    return None

def get_content(url, key, cert):


    resp, content = h.request(url,"GET")

    # follow the chain of redirects
    while meta_redirect(content):
        resp, content = h.request(meta_redirect(content),"GET") 

    return content  
Answered By: asmaier

Answer #2:

A similar solution using the requests and lxml libraries. Also does a simple check that the thing being tested is actually HTML (a requirement in my implementation). Also is able to capture and use cookies by using the request library’s sessions (sometimes necessary if redirection + cookies are being used as an anti-scraping mechanism).

import magic
import mimetypes
import requests
from lxml import html 
from urlparse import urljoin

def test_for_meta_redirections(r):
    mime = magic.from_buffer(r.content, mime=True)
    extension = mimetypes.guess_extension(mime)
    if extension == '.html':
        html_tree = html.fromstring(r.text)
        attr = html_tree.xpath("//meta[translate(@http-equiv, 'REFSH', 'refsh') = 'refresh']/@content")[0]
        wait, text = attr.split(";")
        if text.lower().startswith("url="):
            url = text[4:]
            if not url.startswith('http'):
                # Relative URL, adapt
                url = urljoin(r.url, url)
            return True, url
    return False, None

def follow_redirections(r, s):
    Recursive function that follows meta refresh redirections if they exist.
    redirected, url = test_for_meta_redirections(r)
    if redirected:
        r = follow_redirections(s.get(url), s)
    return r


s = requests.session()
r = s.get(url)
# test for and follow meta redirects
r = follow_redirections(r, s)
Answered By: mlissner

Answer #3:

OK, seems no library supports it so I have been using this code:

import urllib2
import urlparse
import re

def get_hops(url):
    redirect_re = re.compile('<meta[^>]*?url=(.*?)["']', re.IGNORECASE)
    hops = []
    while url:
        if url in hops:
            url = None
            hops.insert(0, url)
            response = urllib2.urlopen(url)
            if response.geturl() != url:
                hops.insert(0, response.geturl())
            # check for redirect meta tag
            match =
            if match:
                url = urlparse.urljoin(url, match.groups()[0].strip())
                url = None
    return hops
Answered By: hoju

Answer #4:

If you dont want to use bs4 ,you can use lxml like this:

from lxml.html import soupparser

def meta_redirect(content):
    root = soupparser.fromstring(content)
    result_url = root.xpath('//meta[@http-equiv="refresh"]/@content')
    if result_url:
        result_url = str(result_url[0])
        urls = result_url.split('URL=') if len(result_url.split('url=')) < 2    else result_url.split('url=')
        url = urls[1] if len(urls) >= 2 else None
        return None
    return url
Answered By: chroming

Answer #5:

Use BeautifulSoup or lxml to parse the HTML.

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