A Nutch 2.2.1 plugin which allows users to shuffle off the responsibility for retrieving pages to a selenium hub/node spoke system. This allows Nutch to rely on Selenium/Firefox to fetch and load javascript/content; while keeping Nutch in charge of what it does best: crawling and further parsing.
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README.md Updated README Jun 9, 2016


Nutch Selenium

This plugin allows you to fetch javascript pages using an existing Selenium Hub/Node set-up, while relying on the rest of the awesome Nutch stack! This allows you to

A) Leverage Nutch, a world class web crawler

B) Not have to use some paid service just to perform large-scale javascript/ajax aware web crawls

C) Not have to wait another 2 years for Nutch to patch in either the Ajax crawler hashbang workaround and then, not having to patch it to get the use case of ammending the original url with the hashbang-workaround's content.

The underlying code is based on the nutch-htmlunit plugin, which was in turn based on nutch-httpclient. I also have patches to send through on nutch-htmlunit which get it working with nutch 2.2.1, so stay tuned if you want to use htmlunit for some reason.


This plugin is currently being merged into the Nutch Core - see issue #1933 on Nutch's JIRA

  1. This plugin is currently in the nutch core. See lib-selenium and protocol-selenium.

  2. As a result of #1, this plugin is unsupported on github. Please see the Nutch JIRA for issues.

Inspiration / borrowed code


  • Set up to handle https:// as well in Nutch


  • Currently, the plugin is set to retrieve only the content of <body> - you can change this yourself in src/plugin/lib-selenium/src/java/org/apache/nutch/protocol/selenium/HttpWebClient.java

Getting Selenium Hub/Node Started (Docker)

I've created two docker containers to help you get started: Selenium-Hub and Selenium-Node if you're comfortable with Docker.

  1. https://github.com/momer/docker-selenium-hub
  2. https://github.com/momer/docker-selenium-node

Installation (tested on Ubuntu 14.0x)

Part 1: Installing plugin for Nutch (where NUTCH_HOME is the root of your nutch install)

A) Add Selenium to your Nutch dependencies

<!-- NUTCH_HOME/ivy/ivy.xml -->

<ivy-module version="1.0">

    <!-- begin selenium dependencies -->
    <dependency org="org.seleniumhq.selenium" name="selenium-java" rev="2.42.2" />

    <!-- end selenium dependencies -->


B) Add the required plugins to your NUTCH_HOME/src/plugin/build.xml - or use the included build.xml if you're using Nutch 2.2.1 and this is the only additional plugin you'll be using.

<!-- NUTCH_HOME/src/plugin/build.xml -->

<project name="Nutch" default="deploy-core" basedir=".">
  <!-- ====================================================== -->
  <!-- Build & deploy all the plugin jars.                    -->
  <!-- ====================================================== -->
  <target name="deploy">
    <ant dir="lib-selenium" target="deploy"/>
    <ant dir="protocol-selenium" target="deploy" />

C) Ensure that the plugin will be used as the fetcher/initial parser in your config

<!-- NUTCH_HOME/conf/nutch-site.xml -->


    <description>Regular expression naming plugin directory names to
    include.  Any plugin not matching this expression is excluded.
    In any case you need at least include the nutch-extensionpoints plugin. By
    default Nutch includes crawling just HTML and plain text via HTTP,
    and basic indexing and search plugins. In order to use HTTPS please enable 
    protocol-httpclient, but be aware of possible intermittent problems with the 
    underlying commons-httpclient library.


D) Define your Selenium Hub configuration

<!-- NUTCH_HOME/conf/nutch-site.xml -->


    <description>Selenium Hub Location connection port</description>

    <description>Selenium Hub Location connection path</description>

    <description>Selenium Hub Location connection host</description>

    <description>Selenium Hub Location connection protocol</description>


E) Add the plugin folders to your installation's NUTCH_HOME/src/plugin directory

Nutch plugin directory

F) Compile nutch

ant runtime

G) Start your web crawl (Ensure that you followed the above steps and that your Selenium-Hub / Selenium-Node set-up is running)

NUTCH_HOME/runtime/local/bin/crawl /opt/apache-nutch-2.2.1/urls/ webpage $NUTCH_SOLR_SERVER $NUTCH_CRAWL_DEPTH