You didn't write that awful page. You're just trying to get some data out of it. Beautiful Soup is here to help. Since 2004, it's been saving programmers hours or days of work on quick-turnaround screen scraping projects.

Beautiful Soup

"A tremendous boon." -- Python411 Podcast

[ Download | Documentation | Hall of Fame | Source | Changelog | Discussion group | Zine ]

If you use Beautiful Soup as part of your work, please consider a Tidelift subscription. This will support many of the free software projects your organization depends on, not just Beautiful Soup.

If Beautiful Soup is useful to you on a personal level, you might like to read Tool Safety, a short zine I wrote about what I learned about software development from working on Beautiful Soup. Thanks!

If you have questions, send them to the discussion group. If you find a bug, file it.

Beautiful Soup is a Python library designed for quick turnaround projects like screen-scraping. Three features make it powerful:

  1. Beautiful Soup provides a few simple methods and Pythonic idioms for navigating, searching, and modifying a parse tree: a toolkit for dissecting a document and extracting what you need. It doesn't take much code to write an application
  2. Beautiful Soup automatically converts incoming documents to Unicode and outgoing documents to UTF-8. You don't have to think about encodings, unless the document doesn't specify an encoding and Beautiful Soup can't detect one. Then you just have to specify the original encoding.
  3. Beautiful Soup sits on top of popular Python parsers like lxml and html5lib, allowing you to try out different parsing strategies or trade speed for flexibility.

Beautiful Soup parses anything you give it, and does the tree traversal stuff for you. You can tell it "Find all the links", or "Find all the links of class externalLink", or "Find all the links whose urls match "", or "Find the table heading that's got bold text, then give me that text."

Valuable data that was once locked up in poorly-designed websites is now within your reach. Projects that would have taken hours take only minutes with Beautiful Soup.

Interested? Read more.

Download Beautiful Soup

The current release is Beautiful Soup 4.8.0 (July 20, 2019). You can install Beautiful Soup 4 with pip install beautifulsoup4.

In Debian and Ubuntu, Beautiful Soup is available as the python-bs4 package (for Python 2) or the python3-bs4 package (for Python 3). In Fedora it's available as the python-beautifulsoup4 package.

Beautiful Soup is licensed under the MIT license, so you can also download the tarball, drop the bs4/ directory into almost any Python application (or into your library path) and start using it immediately. (If you want to do this under Python 3, you will need to manually convert the code using 2to3.)

Beautiful Soup 4 works on both Python 2 (2.7+) and Python 3.

Beautiful Soup 3

Beautiful Soup 3 was the official release line of Beautiful Soup from May 2006 to March 2012. It is considered stable, and only critical security bugs will be fixed. Here's the Beautiful Soup 3 documentation.

Beautiful Soup 3 works only under Python 2.x. It is licensed under the same license as Python itself.

The current release of Beautiful Soup 3 is 3.2.1 (February 16, 2012). You can install Beautiful Soup 3 with pip install BeautifulSoup. It's also available as python-beautifulsoup in Debian and Ubuntu, and as python-BeautifulSoup in Fedora.

You can also download the tarball and use in your project directly.

Hall of Fame

Over the years, Beautiful Soup has been used in hundreds of different projects. There's no way I can list them all, but I want to highlight a few high-profile projects. Beautiful Soup isn't what makes these projects interesting, but it did make their completion easier:

If you've used Beautiful Soup in a project you'd like me to know about, please do send email to me or the discussion group.


Development happens at Launchpad. You can get the source code or file bugs.

This document (source) is part of Crummy, the webspace of Leonard Richardson (contact information). It was last modified on Sunday, July 21 2019, 17:41:10 Nowhere Standard Time and last built on Sunday, September 22 2019, 17:00:01 Nowhere Standard Time.

Crummy is © 1996-2019 Leonard Richardson. Unless otherwise noted, all text licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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