How do I work with persistent connections in urllib3?

urllib3 is a powerful, user-friendly HTTP client for Python. Much of its power comes from the ability to maintain and reuse connections (persistent connections), which can significantly improve the performance of your applications by reducing the overhead of establishing a new connection for each request. This feature is often referred to as connection pooling.

Persistent connections are enabled by default in urllib3 through the use of a connection pool. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to work with persistent connections in urllib3:

Step 1: Import urllib3

First, you need to import urllib3. If you don’t have urllib3 installed, you can install it using pip:

pip install urllib3

Here's the import statement in Python:

import urllib3

Step 2: Create a PoolManager Instance

The PoolManager class is responsible for handling the pooling of connections. You can create an instance of PoolManager to start working with connection pools.

http = urllib3.PoolManager()

Step 3: Make a Request

You can now make a request using the request method of the PoolManager instance. This will automatically use a connection from the pool, or create a new one if necessary.

response = http.request('GET', '')

Step 4: Read the Response

After making a request, you can read the response data.

data =

Step 5: Reuse the Connection

The connection is automatically returned to the pool after the response is read and can be reused for subsequent requests to the same host.

# Another request reusing the same connection
another_response = http.request('GET', '')

Step 6: Close the Pool

Although it's not strictly necessary, as the garbage collector will eventually clean up unused connections, it's good practice to release the resources when you are done with your requests.


Advanced Usage

For advanced usage, urllib3 allows you to customize the connection pool's behavior, such as setting the number of connections to save in the pool, the maximum number of retries for a request, and more.

http = urllib3.PoolManager(num_pools=5, maxsize=10, retries=urllib3.Retry(3, redirect=2))

In this example, num_pools is the number of different hosts to maintain within the pool, maxsize is the maximum number of connections to save that can be reused in the pool, and retries define how many times to retry a request before giving up.


  • Keep in mind that maintaining too many persistent connections can consume significant system resources, so you should adjust the pool size according to your application's needs.
  • Always handle exceptions and errors in your code. Network operations can fail for various reasons, and you should be prepared to handle such situations gracefully.
  • Persistent connections use the HTTP/1.1 protocol's keep-alive feature to avoid closing the connection after each request.

By using urllib3's connection pooling, you can efficiently manage HTTP connections in your applications, improving performance by reusing connections instead of setting up a new connection with each request.

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