Download large file in python with requests

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To download a large file in python with requests:

  1. Use the iter_content() method
  2. Use the shutil.copyfileobj() method
download large files in python

Using request library to download a large file in Python

With the following streaming code, the Python memory usage is restricted regardless of the size of the downloaded file:

def download_file(url):
    local_filename = url.split('/')[-1]
    # NOTE the stream=True parameter below
    with requests.get(url, stream=True) as r:
        r.raise_for_status()
        with open(local_filename, 'wb') as f:
            for chunk in r.iter_content(chunk_size=8192): 
                # If you have chunk encoded response uncomment if
                # and set chunk_size parameter to None.
                #if chunk: 
                f.write(chunk)
    return local_filename

Note that the number of bytes returned using iter_content is not exactly the chunk_size; it's expected to be a random number that is often far bigger and is expected to be different in every iteration.

the chunk_size is crucial. by default, it's 1 (1 byte). that means that for 1MB it'll make 1 milion iterations. So be careful about that.

Using shutil and requests module to download a large file

This streams the file to disk without using excessive memory, and the code is simple.

import requests
import shutil

def download_file(url):
    local_filename = url.split('/')[-1]
    with requests.get(url, stream=True) as r:
        with open(local_filename, 'wb') as f:
            shutil.copyfileobj(r.raw, f)

    return local_filename

Download a large file using urllib module

Using the requests module is good but what about the urllib module to download large files in python. Check the following code that uses the urllib module to download large files.

from urllib.request import urlretrieve

url = 'http://mirror.pnl.gov/releases/16.04.2/ubuntu-16.04.2-desktop-amd64.iso'
dst = 'ubuntu-16.04.2-desktop-amd64.iso'
urlretrieve(url, dst)

Try this code, If you want to save it to memory. It just copies the file to a temporary file in python.

from urllib.request import urlopen
from shutil import copyfileobj
from tempfile import NamedTemporaryFile

url = 'http://mirror.pnl.gov/releases/16.04.2/ubuntu-16.04.2-desktop-amd64.iso'
with urlopen(url) as fsrc, NamedTemporaryFile(delete=False) as fdst:
    copyfileobj(fsrc, fdst)

Large file download using wget module

You can also use the wget module to download files. Check the code below.

import wget
wget.download(url)


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