How to Use Cloudscraper in Python & Common Errors

Websites continue to adopt strong anti-scraping methods like Cloudflare, breaking many Python spiders and crawlers in the process. Mastering specific tools like Cloudscraper to bypass these protections is key to maintaining scraping success.

This zero-to-hero guide will teach you how.

By the end, you'll know how to:

  • Set up Cloudscraper in Python without errors
  • Emulate browsers to spoof Cloudflare's blocking
  • Fix common issues like aging Cloudscraper versions
  • Scale up with advanced proxies when needed

Let's dive in to building an unblockable web scraper!

Web Scraping Arms Race Heats Up

First, what's driving the rapid adoption of solutions like Cloudflare?

Web scraping fills countless data needs, fueling a big market – From price monitoring to contact lists to investment signals, scrapers provide immense value. The market has swelled to over $5 billion in recent years according to IBISWorld data.

Hence most sites are now actively blocking bots – Simple scraping libs like Python Requests and Beautiful Soup are getting shut down left and right. Roughly 50% of sites now run some level of bot mitigation per Datanyze.

Cloudflare leads the charge – With a huge 55% market share of anti-DDoS solutions, Cloudflare is the top bot provider tools must learn to bypass.

The stakes have never been higher for undetected scraping to power your business, research, or side project. So let's explore specific tools proven to get the data you need.

How Cloudflare Flags Traffic as Non-Human

Knowing your “adversary” is vital before attempting to sneak past their defenses undetected. Cloudflare employs a series of tactics to sniff out bots:

Unusual Access Patterns – Scrapers typically hit sites harder and more frequently than humans browsing casually. Sudden large volumes from one IP trigger alarms. Proxies help you avoid this red flag.

Browser Fingerprint Discrepancies – Browsers have a signature based on headers, plugins, fonts, etc. that is trivial for Cloudflare to fingerprint. Tools like Cloudscraper spoof realistic values here.

Failed JavaScript Execution – Challenges that try executing JS or WebAssembly code trip up most non-browser scripts. True headless browser rendering is required here.

Overt CAPTCHA Challenges – Visual and audio reCAPTCHA tests present a stern human check. Integrations with captcha solving services provide a path past these.

With so many avenues to detect scrapers, you must come prepared with a balanced combination of evasion tools. Let's start with one of the best – Cloudscraper.

Cloudscraper – A Specialized WSGI Proxy Library

Born as the lovechild between Requests and Selenium, Cloudscraper serves one purpose: scraping sites protected by Cloudflare anti-bot services.

It works by implementing an advanced WSGI proxy client that fetches content through a real Chrome browser, solving Cloudflare's various JS and captcha challenges under the hood.

Key abilities this provides include:

  • Managing persistent sessions
  • Automatically solving IUAM and captcha tests
  • Changing user agents and browser fingerprints
  • Adding custom delays to mimic human patterns
  • Proxy and cookie support
  • Asynchronous request option

These combine to satisfy many behavioral signals Cloudflare is looking for, while requiring only basic requests syntax on your end.

Let's jump in to using it.

Step 1: Install Cloudscraper Package

Like any Python tool, first order of business is installing the cloudscraper package.

In your terminal or IDE, run:

pip install cloudscraper

This downloads it from PyPI and makes the module accessible to import.

Once finished, import cloudscraper at the top of your script:

import cloudscraper

Verify it imports without errors – if you get an import error see our troubleshooting section for fixes.

Stop battling browser-based bot mitigation tools with primitive scraping code. Bright Data provides a full commercial proxy solution for heavy scraping. Get started with 1000 free proxy requests today.

Step 2: Create Cloudscraper Instance

With Cloudscraper installed, we can now leverage it directly by creating an instance:

scraper = cloudscraper.create_scraper()

Much like a Requests session, this Cloudscraper instance will handle all the underlying browser emulation and proxy management automatically.

We can also customize it further with parameters:

scraper = cloudscraper.create_scraper(
        'browser': 'firefox',
        'platform': 'windows',
        'mobile': False
      'provider': '2captcha',
      'api_key': YOUR_API_KEY  

Here we configured a Firefox user agent on Windows, disabled mobile, and set up 2Captcha integration complete with API key for solving CAPTCHAs automatically later.

Cloudflare will get a much more realistic browser fingerprint thanks to options like this.

Step 3: Make Web Requests

Now the fun part – we can use our scraper instance to start hitting targets.

The syntax mirrors Requests:

url = ''
response = scraper.get(url)

# Prints '200'

Internally that URL is now routed through Cloudscraper's proxies and Chrome renderer, hopefully averting Cloudflare's bot suspicion. 🤞

We can pass the response to Beautiful Soup to parse and extract data:

soup = BeautifulSoup(response.text, 'lxml')

Rinse and repeat across all your target sites. Cloudscraper smooths out the browser emulation piece for you.

Pro Tip: To really mimic humans, use random delays between 2-7 seconds between sites. Don't blast them rapidly.

Let's tackle some common issues next.

Troubleshooting Common Cloudscraper Errors

Of course web scrapers don't always run flawlessly, even with tools like Cloudscraper. You may encounter:

Import errors – Confirm Cloudscraper is installed in the correct Python environment activated in your shell. Also try full file path imports.

Cloudflare blocks – Occasionally their latest protections still detect and block thetraffic. Try rotating user agents and adding delays.

CAPTCHAs – Cloudscraper can't automatically solve all captcha versions. Configure a 2Captcha or AntiCaptcha account to add solving capabilities.

Cloudscraper outages – Being an open source tool, Cloudscraper relies on the community keeping it updated as Cloudflare evolves. Lean on backups like Bright Data when it's down.

Debugging scrapers like this does take tenacity – but pays dividends in reliable data pipelines.

Up next we'll cover an enterprise-grade supplemental option.

Bright Data – Premium Proxies for Heavy Scraping

Make no mistake – Cloudscraper is amazing for basic side projects. When your scraping ambitions grow though, limitations emerge:

  • Can't scale beyond a couple hundred requests per day
  • Struggles with advanced Cloudflare versions
  • Captchas and blocks still require manual tuning
  • Lack of full browser functionality

Enter Bright Data – providing heavy-duty proxy solutions to power the world's most relentless web scrapers.

Specifically, their backconnect residential proxies route your traffic through real home IP addresses in any city globally. This inherently appears organic to sites for maximizing success rates.

Features you gain include:

360° Anti-bot Protection – Our Proxy Manager dynamically cycles IPs resolving captchas and avoiding blocks.

Ultra-low Latency – Local proxies in 300+ locations provide blistering fast sub-100ms speeds.

Unlimited Scaling – Grow from 5 to 5 million requests without complexity.

HTTP/HTTPS Included – One proxy supports both secure and unencrypted protocols.

99.99% Uptime – High availability across hundreds of world-class datacenters.

FREE Trial Offer – Test with 1,000 free proxy requests today.

Consider augmenting with Bright Data when executing large crawls or running 24/7 scraping infrastructure.

See first-hand how Bright Data proxies integrate easily with Python requests for heavy scraping. Claim your free 1000 proxy request trial now.

Below shows an example using Bright Data creds along with the Requests library:

import requests

proxy_host = '' 
proxy_port = '22225'
proxy_user = 'your_username'
proxy_pass = 'your_password'
proxy_url = f'http://{proxy_user}:{proxy_pass}@{proxy_host}:{proxy_port}' 

proxies = {
    'http': proxy_url ,
    'https': proxy_url

response = requests.get('', proxies=proxies)

Cloudflare's protections now see an authentic residential IP address accessing the site through full browser simulation.

Scrape the Web Fearlessly

And with that you have all the tools needed to scrape sites guarded by Cloudflare's anti-bot services.

We walked through:

✅ Installing and importing Cloudscraper for bypassing protections ✅ Configuring user agents and captchas programmatically
✅ Making requests through Cloudscraper's built-in proxies ✅ Troubleshooting common errors like outdated versions ✅ Leveraging Bright Data as a heavy-duty supplement

The web scraping landscape grows more competitive by the day. Using tools like Cloudscraper and Bright Data together provide a proven formula for staying steps ahead.

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