The Wayback Machine Scraper
The repository consists of a command-line utility
wayback-machine-scraper that can be used to scrape or download website data as it appears in archive.org's Wayback Machine.
It crawls through historical snapshots of a website and saves the snapshots to disk.
This can be useful when you're trying to scrape a site that has scraping measures that make direct scraping impossible or prohibitively slow.
It's also useful if you want to scrape a website as it appeared at some point in the past or to scrape information that changes over time.
The command-line utility is highly configurable in terms of what it scrapes but it only saves the unparsed content of the pages on the site.
If you're interested in parsing data from the pages that are crawled then you might want to check out scrapy-wayback-machine instead.
It's a downloader middleware that handles all of the tricky parts and passes normal
response objects to your Scrapy spiders with archive timestamp information attached.
The middleware is very unobtrusive and should work seamlessly with existing Scrapy middlewares, extensions, and spiders.
wayback-machine-scraper uses behind the scenes and it offers more flexibility for advanced use cases.
The package can be installed using
pip install wayback-machine-scraper
Writing a custom Scrapy spider and using the
WaybackMachine middleware is the preferred way to use this project, but a command line interface for basic mirroring is also included.
The usage information can be printed by running
usage: wayback-machine-scraper [-h] [-o DIRECTORY] [-f TIMESTAMP] [-t TIMESTAMP] [-a REGEX] [-d REGEX] [-c CONCURRENCY] [-u] [-v] DOMAIN [DOMAIN ...] Mirror all Wayback Machine snapshots of one or more domains within a specified time range. positional arguments: DOMAIN Specify the domain(s) to scrape. Can also be a full URL to specify starting points for the crawler. optional arguments: -h, --help show this help message and exit -o DIRECTORY, --output DIRECTORY Specify the domain(s) to scrape. Can also be a full URL to specify starting points for the crawler. (default: website) -f TIMESTAMP, --from TIMESTAMP The timestamp for the beginning of the range to scrape. Can either be YYYYmmdd, YYYYmmddHHMMSS, or a Unix timestamp. (default: 10000101) -t TIMESTAMP, --to TIMESTAMP The timestamp for the end of the range to scrape. Use the same timestamp as `--from` to specify a single point in time. (default: 30000101) -a REGEX, --allow REGEX A regular expression that all scraped URLs must match. (default: ()) -d REGEX, --deny REGEX A regular expression to exclude matched URLs. (default: ()) -c CONCURRENCY, --concurrency CONCURRENCY Target concurrency for crawl requests.The crawl rate will be automatically adjusted to match this target.Use values less than 1 to be polite and higher values to scrape more quickly. (default: 10.0) -u, --unix Save snapshots as `UNIX_TIMESTAMP.snapshot` instead of the default `YYYYmmddHHMMSS.snapshot`. (default: False) -v, --verbose Turn on debug logging. (default: False)
The usage can be perhaps be made more clear with a couple of concrete examples.
A Single Page Over Time
One of the key advantages of
wayback-machine-scraper over other projects, such as wayback-machine-downloader, is that it offers the capability to download all available archive.org snapshots.
This can be extremely useful if you're interested in analyzing how pages change over time.
wayback-machine-scraper -a 'news.ycombinator.com$' news.ycombinator.com
--allow regular expression
news.ycombinator.com$ limits the crawl to the front page.
This produces a file structure of
website/ └── news.ycombinator.com ├── 20070221033032.snapshot ├── 20070226001637.snapshot ├── 20070405032412.snapshot ├── 20070405175109.snapshot ├── 20070406195336.snapshot ├── 20070601184317.snapshot ├── 20070629033202.snapshot ├── 20070630222527.snapshot ├── 20070630222818.snapshot └── etc.
with each snapshot file containing the full HTML body of the front page.
A series of snapshots for any page can be obtained in this way as long as suitable regular expressions and start URLs are constructed. If we are interested in a page other than the homepage then we should use it as the start URL instead. To get all of the snapshots for a specific story we could run
wayback-machine-scraper -a 'id=13857086$' 'news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13857086'
website/ └── news.ycombinator.com └── item?id=13857086 ├── 20170313225853.snapshot ├── 20170313231755.snapshot ├── 20170314043150.snapshot ├── 20170314165633.snapshot └── 20170320205604.snapshot
A Full Site Crawl at One Point In Time
If the goal is to take a snapshot of an entire site at once then this can also be easily achieved.
Specifying both the
--to options as the same point in time will assure that only one snapshot is saved for each URL.
wayback-machine-scraper -f 20080623 -t 20080623 news.ycombinator.com
produces a file structure of
website └── news.ycombinator.com ├── 20080621143814.snapshot ├── item?id=221868 │ └── 20080622151531.snapshot ├── item?id=222157 │ └── 20080622151822.snapshot ├── item?id=222341 │ └── 20080620221102.snapshot └── etc.
with a single snapshot for each page in the crawl as it appeared on June 23, 2008.