Can I use Headless Chromium to monitor website changes in real-time?

Yes, you can use headless Chromium to monitor website changes in real-time, although "real-time" monitoring typically involves setting up a polling interval since true real-time push notifications would require the website to support a technology like WebSockets or Server-Sent Events (SSE) to push changes to clients. Here's how you can set up a basic system to monitor website changes using headless Chromium:


  1. Install Puppeteer or Selenium: These are popular libraries for controlling headless browsers. Puppeteer works with Node.js and is specifically designed for Chromium, while Selenium has bindings for several languages, including Python, and can work with different browsers, including Chromium.

  2. Set Up Polling Logic: Decide on a reasonable interval to check the website for changes. Note that polling too frequently may be considered abusive behavior by some websites and could result in your IP being blocked.

  3. Compare Page Content: After each visit, you would compare the content of the page with the content from the previous visit to detect any changes.

  4. Handle Changes: If a change is detected, perform whatever action is needed, such as sending a notification or storing the information.

Example Using Puppeteer (Node.js)

const puppeteer = require('puppeteer');

let previousContent = '';

async function checkForChanges(url, interval) {
    const browser = await puppeteer.launch({ headless: true });
    const page = await browser.newPage();

    async function poll() {
        await page.goto(url, { waitUntil: 'networkidle0' });  // wait until page is loaded
        const currentContent = await page.content();  // get page content

        if (currentContent !== previousContent) {
            console.log('The page has changed!');
            // Handle the change appropriately
            previousContent = currentContent;
        } else {
            console.log('No changes detected.');

        setTimeout(poll, interval);


const urlToMonitor = '';
const pollingInterval = 10000; // 10 seconds

checkForChanges(urlToMonitor, pollingInterval);

Example Using Selenium (Python)

from selenium import webdriver
from import Options
from import By
import time
import hashlib

# Set up headless Chrome options
chrome_options = Options()

# Initialize the WebDriver
driver = webdriver.Chrome(options=chrome_options)

def get_page_content(url):
    return driver.page_source

def get_content_hash(content):
    return hashlib.md5(content.encode('utf-8')).hexdigest()

def monitor_changes(url, interval):
    previous_hash = ""
        while True:
            content = get_page_content(url)
            current_hash = get_content_hash(content)

            if current_hash != previous_hash:
                print("Website content has changed.")
                # Handle the change here
                previous_hash = current_hash
                print("No changes detected.")


url_to_monitor = ''
polling_interval = 10  # 10 seconds

monitor_changes(url_to_monitor, polling_interval)


  • Load on the Server: Frequent requests to a server, especially if you're scraping large pages or many pages, can put a significant load on the server. You should be respectful of the server's resources and abide by the website's robots.txt file and terms of service.

  • Legal and Ethical Concerns: Some websites expressly forbid web scraping in their terms of service. Always ensure that your actions are legal and ethical.

  • Blocking and Rate Limiting: Websites often employ mechanisms to block or rate-limit scrapers. Make sure to identify yourself (with a User-Agent string), follow polite scraping practices, and handle potential blocking gracefully.

  • Dynamic Content: If the page content is loaded dynamically with JavaScript, make sure to wait for the necessary AJAX requests to complete before checking the content of the page.

  • Efficiency: Hashing the content and comparing hashes, rather than the content itself, can be more efficient, especially for large pages.

  • Notifications: For a real-time monitoring system, consider integrating email or SMS notifications, or using a messaging service like Slack or Discord to alert you of changes.

By following these steps and considerations, you should be able to set up a basic system to monitor website changes using headless Chromium.

Related Questions

Get Started Now

WebScraping.AI provides rotating proxies, Chromium rendering and built-in HTML parser for web scraping