Using CRON Jobs for Web Scraping in Python with Requests and LXML

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Introduction to using CRON Jobs with Python

Web scraping is a powerful technique to extract data from websites and store it in a structured format. In this article, we will discuss how to use CRON jobs to automate web scraping tasks in Python using the Requests library for HTTP requests and LXML for parsing HTML content. This guide will walk you through the process of setting up a web scraper, scheduling it with CRON, and managing the retrieved data.

Setting Up a Python Web Scraper

To get started, you will need to install the required libraries: Requests and LXML. You can install them using pip:

pip install requests lxml

Now, let’s create a simple web scraper function that will fetch data from a given URL using the Requests library and parse the HTML content using LXML.

import requests
from lxml import html

def scrape_website(url):
    response = requests.get(url)
    if response.status_code == 200:
        parsed_html = html.fromstring(response.text)
        # Extract data from parsed HTML using XPath or CSS selectors
        # ...
        print(f"Failed to fetch data from {url}. Status code: {response.status_code}")

url = ""

Scheduling the Web Scraper with CRON

To automate the web scraper, we will use CRON jobs. CRON is a time-based job scheduler that allows you to run scripts at specified intervals. In our case, we will schedule the web scraper to run periodically.

Before setting up the CRON job, make sure to save your Python script as a standalone file, e.g.,

Configuring CRON on Linux and macOS

this function in your script and call it after you have extracted the data from the parsed HTML. This will append the scraped data to the specified CSV file.


In this article, we have discussed how to automate web scraping tasks in Python using CRON jobs and the Requests and LXML libraries. By setting up a scheduled job, you can ensure that your web scraper runs at regular intervals, keeping your data up-to-date. With the flexibility of Python and various storage options, you can easily manage and analyze the retrieved data according to your needs. With this guide, you should now have a solid foundation for automating your web scraping tasks and managing the collected data efficiently.

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