HTTP error 403 in Python 3 Web Scraping

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

8 Answers

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…

Definitely it’s blocking because of your use of urllib based on the user agent. This same thing is happening to me with OfferUp. You can create a new class called AppURLopener which overrides the user-agent with Mozilla.

import urllib.request

class AppURLopener(urllib.request.FancyURLopener):
    version = "Mozilla/5.0"

opener = AppURLopener()
response ='')


“This is probably because of mod_security or some similar server security feature which blocks known


user agents (urllib uses something like python urllib/3.3.0, it’s easily detected)” – as already mentioned by Stefano Sanfilippo

from urllib.request import Request, urlopen
req = Request(url, headers={'User-Agent': 'Mozilla/5.0'})

web_byte = urlopen(req).read()

webpage = web_byte.decode('utf-8')

The web_byte is a byte object returned by the server and the content type present in webpage is mostly utf-8. Therefore you need to decode web_byte using decode method.

This solves complete problem while I was having trying to scrap from a website using PyCharm

P.S -> I use python 3.4

Based on the previous answer,

from urllib.request import Request, urlopen       
#specify url
url = 'https://xyz/xyz'
req = Request(url, headers={'User-Agent': 'XYZ/3.0'})
response = urlopen(req, timeout=20).read()

This worked for me by extending the timeout.

Since the page works in browser and not when calling within python program, it seems that the web app that serves that url recognizes that you request the content not by the browser.


curl --dump-header r.txt

<TITLE>Access Denied</TITLE>
<H1>Access Denied</H1>
You don't have permission to access ...

and the content in r.txt has status line:

HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden

Try posting header ‘User-Agent’ which fakes web client.

NOTE: The page contains Ajax call that creates the table you probably want to parse. You’ll need to check the javascript logic of the page or simply using browser debugger (like Firebug / Net tab) to see which url you need to call to get the table’s content.

Based on previous answers this has worked for me with Python 3.7

from urllib.request import Request, urlopen

req = Request('Url_Link', headers={'User-Agent': 'XYZ/3.0'})
webpage = urlopen(req, timeout=10).read()


You can try in two ways. The detail is in this link.

1) Via pip

pip install –upgrade certifi

2) If it doesn’t work, try to run a Cerificates.command that comes bundled with Python 3.* for Mac:(Go to your python installation location and double click the file)

open /Applications/Python 3.*/Install Certificates.command

If you feel guilty about faking the user-agent as Mozilla (comment in the top answer from Stefano), it could work with a non-urllib User-Agent as well. This worked for the sites I reference:

    req = urlrequest.Request(link, headers={'User-Agent': 'XYZ/3.0'})
    urlrequest.urlopen(req, timeout=10).read()

My application is to test validity by scraping specific links that I refer to, in my articles. Not a generic scraper.

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