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Overview of HTTPX and Requests Libraries

Overview of HTTPX and Requests Libraries


In the realm of HTTP libraries for Python, two names emerge as popular choices: HTTPX and Requests. As Python developers continue to lean towards asynchronous programming, the decision between “HTTPX vs Requests” often comes up, and for good reasons.

Brief description of HTTPX

HTTPX is a fully featured HTTP client for Python 3, which provides sync and async APIs. It is one of the rare libraries that supports HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2. Its development was largely fueled by the increasing need for Python to handle asynchronous requests, something that was not readily available in the Requests library.

Brief Description of Requests

Requests, on the other hand, have long been the de facto standard for making HTTP requests in Python. It’s simple, intuitive, and built to accommodate the vast majority of HTTP applications. However, it doesn’t natively support asynchronous programming, a feature more developers are demanding in today’s multi-threaded programming environment.

Core Features and Usage

Main features of HTTPX

What is HTTPX

While the “HTTPX vs Requests” debate rages on, it’s essential to look at what HTTPX brings to the table.

Asynchronous requests

HTTPX is designed to support asynchronous requests, allowing you to run multiple HTTP requests concurrently using Python’s async and awaits keywords. This is a powerful feature for applications that need to handle multiple requests at once, such as web scraping or API testing.

HTTP/2 and HTTP/1.1 support

Another noteworthy feature of HTTPX is its support for both HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2. The latter brings significant improvements in terms of performance and security, something that could impact your decision between HTTPX vs Requests.

Making requests directly to WSGI applications or ASGI applications

HTTPX enables developers to make requests directly to WSGI or ASGI applications. This feature can be useful in testing situations, allowing you to make requests to your application without starting a server.

Connection pooling, timeouts, and retries

Finally, HTTPX provides connection pooling, timeouts, and automatic retries, features that make it easier for developers to create robust applications that can handle real-world scenarios and network conditions.

Main features of Requests

what is requests


Despite the rising popularity of HTTPX, Requests remains a powerful and robust tool.

Manual and automatic redirection handling

Requests handle both manual and automatic redirections. It’s a feature that gives developers a lot of control over their HTTP requests.

Session handling

Another feature that sets Requests apart is its support for session handling, which can simplify the process of managing and reusing settings across requests.

Cookie jar handling

Requests also come with a handy cookie jar for handling stored cookies, which makes it easy to manage data between sessions.

Support for multipart file uploads

Finally, Requests offers support for multipart file uploads, simplifying the process of uploading files.

Comparative Analysis: HTTPX vs. Requests

Similarities between HTTPX and Requests

In the “HTTPX vs Requests” debate, it’s worth noting that both libraries provide a high-level, user-friendly interface for making HTTP requests. They both offer support for common HTTP methods, automatic encoding/decoding of response content, and multipart file uploads.

Key differences between HTTPX and Requests

The core differences between HTTPX and Requests lie in their approach to handling asynchronous requests, SSL cipher suites, and User-Agent.

Support for async

The most significant difference is that HTTPX supports asynchronous requests natively, while Requests does not. This can have a substantial impact on performance in applications that make numerous simultaneous HTTP requests.

User-Agent handling

HTTPX and Requests handle the User-Agent header differently. Requests has a default User-Agent header that identifies itself as a Python requests library, while HTTPX identifies itself as HTTPX. Some servers may block or treat requests differently based on the User-Agent header.

SSL Cipher Suites

The Requests library has implemented some SSL Cipher Suites that may not work on certain websites, leading to potential issues. HTTPX doesn’t have such problems. This can make a significant difference when choosing between HTTPX vs Requests for certain applications.

Performance Comparison

A pivotal aspect of deciding between “httpx vs requests” is the performance comparison.

How to test the performance of HTTPX and Requests

Performance testing of these libraries can be achieved through various means. A simple, effective approach is to execute multiple HTTP requests and measure the response time. You can utilize Python’s time module to get the current time before and after the execution of requests, and calculate the difference.

Findings from performance tests

HTTPX, with its asynchronous support, often outperforms Requests in situations where multiple requests are made concurrently. It can handle more simultaneous requests, reducing overall request time. However, for individual, synchronous requests, the performance difference is not as noticeable, with both libraries performing similarly.

Error Handling

Dealing with errors is an inevitable part of programming, and understanding how these libraries handle errors can influence your choice between “httpx vs requests”.

Common errors in HTTPX and how to handle them

HTTPX has a variety of exceptions that it raises when encountering errors. Connection-related exceptions such as ConnectTimeout and ReadTimeout are common, which can be handled by using retries or increasing the timeout limit. Additionally, HTTPStatusError can occur when a non-2xx HTTP response is received, which should be handled by examining the response code and making necessary changes.

Common errors in Requests and how to handle them

The requests library also raises several exceptions. ConnectionError is raised for network issues, Timeout for request timeout, and HTTPError for invalid HTTP responses. Similar to HTTPX, these errors can be managed by using retries, adjusting timeout, or inspecting response codes.

Transitioning from Requests to HTTPX

Understanding the process can ensure a smooth shift if you are considering transitioning from Requests to HTTPX.

Overview of the transition process

The transition from Requests to HTTPX is usually straightforward due to the similar syntax and features. The primary change involves handling asynchronous operations if you choose to utilize them. HTTPX’s API is designed to be similar to Requests, making the learning curve relatively small.

Tips for a smooth transition

For a seamless transition from Requests to HTTPX, it’s recommended to start by changing the import statements, and then gradually modifying the code to handle asynchronous operations. Ensuring you understand the differences in error handling between the two libraries is also crucial.

Use Cases for HTTPX and Requests

Deciding between “httpx vs requests” can also depend on the specific use cases of your application.

When to use HTTPX

HTTPX is beneficial in scenarios where your application needs to make many simultaneous HTTP requests or when you need to make requests to HTTP/2 services. Its support for asynchronous operations can significantly improve performance in these situations.

When to use Requests

Requests are a go-to option for simple, synchronous HTTP requests, especially when there is no need for HTTP/2 support or asynchronous operations. Its wide acceptance and extensive documentation make it an excellent choice for beginners and small to medium-sized projects.

Discussion on Community and Documentation

The community support and documentation of a library are crucial factors when choosing between “httpx vs requests”.

Examination of HTTPX community and documentation

HTTPX has robust and growing community support, with active contributors regularly adding features and fixes. Its documentation is comprehensive, with detailed explanations and examples covering a wide range of use cases.

Examination of Requests community and documentation

Requests, being one of the most popular Python libraries, boasts an expansive community. The library is mature, with comprehensive and accessible documentation that has been a key part of its popularity.

SSL Cipher Suites and User-Agent Blocking

Another element to consider in the “httpx vs requests” debate involves handling SSL Cipher Suites and User-Agent blocking.

An in-depth discussion on SSL Cipher Suites

While HTTPX and Requests support secure HTTP communication via SSL/TLS, they do so with different Cipher Suites. Some versions of the Requests library may use Cipher Suites that are not compatible with certain websites, potentially causing errors. HTTPX, on the other hand, does not seem to have this issue.

Explanation of User-Agent blocking and how to avoid it

Some servers may block or treat requests differently based on the User-Agent header. By default, the User-Agent of Requests identifies itself as a Python requests library, while HTTPX identifies as HTTPX. If you find your requests being blocked, consider changing the User-Agent header or using other methods to bypass blocking.

Miscellaneous Features and Tips

In comparing “httpx vs requests”, there are other features and usage tips to consider.

Other features of HTTPX and Requests not previously covered

HTTPX provides a couple of features not found in Requests, such as making requests directly to WSGI or ASGI applications, and connection pooling. Requests, on the other hand, provide a simpler API for HTTP calls, making it more approachable for beginners.

Advanced usage tips for both libraries

To harness the full power of either library, consider diving into advanced topics like handling sessions and cookies, streaming large files, or managing persistent connections. Understanding these features can help you maximize the efficiency of your HTTP operations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of HTTPX and Requests

advantages and disadvantages of httpx and requests


To further elucidate the choice between “httpx vs requests”, we’ll explore the top advantages and disadvantages of each library.

Advantages of HTTPX

  • Support for HTTP/2 and HTTP/1.1: HTTPX is currently the only Python HTTP library that provides this support. HTTP/2 can offer performance advantages when making multiple requests to the same host.
  • Asynchronous requests: The support for asynchronous requests can be a massive boon for performance when dealing with multiple requests concurrently.
  • Direct requests to WSGI/ASGI applications: This feature can be beneficial for testing web applications directly, bypassing the need for a running server.

Disadvantages of HTTPX

  • Less mature: HTTPX is a relatively new library compared to Requests. While it has been actively developed and has robust features, it might still lack the maturity that comes from being battle-tested over many years.
  • Less extensive community support and resources: While growing, the HTTPX community is currently smaller than that of Requests. This can mean fewer resources, tutorials, and solutions available for troubleshooting.

Advantages of Requests

  • Simplicity and ease of use: Requests are widely appreciated for their simple and intuitive API. It is designed for human beings and emphasizes usability, which makes it an excellent choice for beginners.
  • Maturity and wide usage: Having been around for a decade, Request is a mature library with extensive community support. It has been widely used and tested in various production environments.
  • Powerful features: Despite its simplicity, Requests comes with many powerful features like session handling, automatic redirection, and multipart file uploads.

Disadvantages of Requests

  • No asynchronous support: Requests do not support asynchronous operations. If you need to make many concurrent HTTP requests, you might find Requests to be slower compared to HTTPX.
  • No HTTP/2 support: While HTTP/1.1 is still widely used, the lack of HTTP/2 support could be a limiting factor if you require the performance benefits offered by HTTP/2.

To visually aid the comparison, here’s a simple table summarizing the advantages and disadvantages:

HTTPX Requests
Advantages HTTP/2 support, Asynchronous requests, Direct requests to WSGI/ASGI Simplicity, Maturity, Powerful features
Disadvantages Less mature, Smaller community No asynchronous support, No HTTP/2 support


  1. Confessions of a Data Guy: The blog post discusses a comparison between the “HTTPX” and “Requests” libraries in Python, specifically focusing on performance aspects and sharing the author’s thoughts and insights.
  2. NICCS: The page discusses Skillsoft courses on advanced topics related to HTTP requests and the HTTPX library.
  3. DataScienceTribe: The article provides a detailed analysis and comparison of two popular Python libraries for making HTTP requests: HTTPX and Requests.
  4. Flipnode: The article discusses aspects such as ease of use, community support, compatibility, asynchronous capabilities, and performance benchmarks of HTTPX, Requests, and AIOHTTP. It might also provide code examples and practical scenarios to demonstrate the usage and advantages of each library.

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