Architecture overview

This document describes the architecture of Scrapy and how its componentsinteract.


The following diagram shows an overview of the Scrapy architecture with itscomponents and an outline of the data flow that takes place inside the system(shown by the red arrows). A brief description of the components is includedbelow with links for more detailed information about them. The data flow isalso described below.

Data flow

Scrapy architectureThe data flow in Scrapy is controlled by the execution engine, and goes likethis:


Scrapy Engine

The engine is responsible for controlling the data flow between all componentsof the system, and triggering events when certain actions occur. See theData Flow section above for more details.


The Scheduler receives requests from the engine and enqueues them for feedingthem later (also to the engine) when the engine requests them.


The Downloader is responsible for fetching web pages and feeding them to theengine which, in turn, feeds them to the spiders.


Spiders are custom classes written by Scrapy users to parse responses andextract items (aka scraped items) from them or additional requests tofollow. For more information see Spiders.

Item Pipeline

The Item Pipeline is responsible for processing the items once they have beenextracted (or scraped) by the spiders. Typical tasks include cleansing,validation and persistence (like storing the item in a database). For moreinformation see Item Pipeline.

Downloader middlewares

Downloader middlewares are specific hooks that sit between the Engine and theDownloader and process requests when they pass from the Engine to theDownloader, and responses that pass from Downloader to the Engine.

Use a Downloader middleware if you need to do one of the following:

  • process a request just before it is sent to the Downloader(i.e. right before Scrapy sends the request to the website);
  • change received response before passing it to a spider;
  • send a new Request instead of passing received response to a spider;
  • pass response to a spider without fetching a web page;
  • silently drop some requests.

For more information see Downloader Middleware.

Spider middlewares

Spider middlewares are specific hooks that sit between the Engine and theSpiders and are able to process spider input (responses) and output (items andrequests).

Use a Spider middleware if you need to

  • post-process output of spider callbacks - change/add/remove requests or items;
  • post-process start_requests;
  • handle spider exceptions;
  • call errback instead of callback for some of the requests based on responsecontent.

For more information see Spider Middleware.

Event-driven networking

Scrapy is written with Twisted, a popular event-driven networking frameworkfor Python. Thus, it’s implemented using a non-blocking (aka asynchronous) codefor concurrency.

For more information about asynchronous programming and Twisted see theselinks: