A distributed web crawler - scalable, fault tolerant and high performance
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Internet is composed of web-pages connected through hyperlinks. This gives it a humongous and sparsely connected graphical structure - with about 1.3 billion unique domains 1 represented as nodes. One fundamental problem is to decipher this graphical structure by exploring all hyperlinks of all web-pages and storing it in a suitable data structure. However, because of the scale of the internet, this is no longer a trivial task, but a “Big Data” problem because data becomes the bottleneck. In this project, we implemented a distributed web crawler capable of tackling the volume of data by scaling across multiple nodes. Besides scalability, the web crawler is also efficient and fault tolerant, and in our experiments have shown high performance even with limited resources. Furthermore, we show that the data collected by the web crawler is an accurate representation of a subset of internet and can be used for indexing the web-pages using algorithms like pagerank.


  • Highly scalable
  • Control crawl rate by varying producer or consumer nodes
  • Fault tolerant
  • Easy deployment through docker

Components and Libraries

  • AWS EC2
  • Kafka
  • Zookeeper
  • MongoDB
  • Docker
  • urllib
  • BeautifulSoup


  • Start Zookeeper, Kafka and MongoDB instances in different nodes
  • Put the the IP addresses in config.cfg
  • Start the config server in a separate node by running config.py
  • Dockerize producer and consumer using the script provided
  • Start multiple producers and consumers using the docker image and AWS ECR
  • Check the WikiGraph collection in MongoDB for results

Analytics - Count the number of webpages referencing a particular node

  • Map function
var mapFunction = function() {
    for(var i = 0; i < this.children.length;i++) {
        emit(this.children[i], 1);
  • Reduce functuon
var reduceFunction = function(key, obj) {
   return Array.sum(obj);
  • Run mapreduce
db.WikiGraph.mapReduce(mapFunction, reduceFunction, { out : "total"});
  • Check output

Read more about our project