Fix Python – Problem HTTP error 403 in Python 3 Web Scraping


Asked By – Josh

I was trying to scrape a website for practice, but I kept on getting the HTTP Error 403 (does it think I’m a bot)?

Here is my code:

#import requests
import urllib.request
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
#from urllib import urlopen
import re

webpage = urllib.request.urlopen('').read
findrows = re.compile('<tr class="- banding(?:On|Off)>(.*?)</tr>')
findlink = re.compile('<a href =">(.*)</a>')

row_array = re.findall(findrows, webpage)
links = re.finall(findlink, webpate)


iterator = []

The error I get is:

 File "C:\Python33\lib\urllib\", line 160, in urlopen
    return, data, timeout)
  File "C:\Python33\lib\urllib\", line 479, in open
    response = meth(req, response)
  File "C:\Python33\lib\urllib\", line 591, in http_response
    'http', request, response, code, msg, hdrs)
  File "C:\Python33\lib\urllib\", line 517, in error
    return self._call_chain(*args)
  File "C:\Python33\lib\urllib\", line 451, in _call_chain
    result = func(*args)
  File "C:\Python33\lib\urllib\", line 599, in http_error_default
    raise HTTPError(req.full_url, code, msg, hdrs, fp)
urllib.error.HTTPError: HTTP Error 403: Forbidden

Now we will see solution for issue: Problem HTTP error 403 in Python 3 Web Scraping


This is probably because of mod_security or some similar server security feature which blocks known spider/bot user agents (urllib uses something like python urllib/3.3.0, it’s easily detected). Try setting a known browser user agent with:

from urllib.request import Request, urlopen

req = Request(
    headers={'User-Agent': 'Mozilla/5.0'}
webpage = urlopen(req).read()

This works for me.

By the way, in your code you are missing the () after .read in the urlopen line, but I think that it’s a typo.

TIP: since this is exercise, choose a different, non restrictive site. Maybe they are blocking urllib for some reason…

This question is answered By – Stefano Sanfilippo

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