trafilatura: Web scraping tool for text discovery and retrieval

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Demo as GIF image


Trafilatura is a Python package and command-line tool which seamlessly downloads, parses, and scrapes web page data: it can extract metadata, main body text and comments while preserving parts of the text formatting and page structure. The output can be converted to different formats.

Distinguishing between a whole page and the page’s essential parts can help to alleviate many quality problems related to web text processing, by dealing with the noise caused by recurring elements (headers and footers, ads, links/blogroll, etc.).

The extractor aims to be precise enough in order not to miss texts or to discard valid documents. In addition, it must be robust, but also reasonably fast. With these objectives in mind, Trafilatura is designed to run in production on millions of web documents. It is based on lxml as well as readability and jusText as fallback.


  • Seamless parallelized online and offline processing:
    • Download and conversion utilities included
    • URLs, HTML files or parsed HTML trees as input
  • Robust and efficient extraction:
    • Main text and/or comments
    • Structural elements preserved: paragraphs, titles, lists, quotes, code, line breaks, in-line text formatting
    • Extraction of metadata (title, author, date, site name, categories and tags)
  • Several output formats supported:
    • Plain text (minimal formatting)
    • CSV (with metadata, tab-separated values)
    • JSON (with metadata)
    • XML (for metadata and structure) and TEI-XML
  • Link discovery and URL lists:
    • Support for sitemaps and ATOM/RSS feeds
    • Efficient and polite processing of URL queues
    • Blacklisting
  • Optional language detection on extracted content

Evaluation and alternatives

For more detailed results see the evaluation page and evaluation script. To reproduce the tests just clone the repository, install all necessary packages and run the evaluation script with the data provided in the tests directory.

500 documents, 1487 text and 1496 boilerplate segments (2020-11-06)
Python Package Precision Recall Accuracy F-Score Diff.
justext 2.2.0 (tweaked) 0.870 0.584 0.749 0.699 6.1x
newspaper3k 0.2.8 0.921 0.574 0.763 0.708 12.9x
goose3 3.1.6 0.950 0.629 0.799 0.757 19.0x
boilerpy3 1.0.2 (article mode) 0.851 0.696 0.788 0.766 4.8x
baseline (text markup) 0.746 0.804 0.766 0.774 1x
dragnet 2.0.4 0.906 0.689 0.810 0.783 3.1x
readability-lxml 0.8.1 0.917 0.716 0.826 0.804 5.9x
news-please 1.5.13 0.923 0.711 0.827 0.804 184x
trafilatura 0.6.0 0.924 0.849 0.890 0.885 3.9x
trafilatura 0.6.0 (+ fallbacks) 0.933 0.877 0.907 0.904 8.4x

External evaluations:

Usage and documentation

For further information please refer to the documentation:


trafilatura is distributed under the GNU General Public License v3.0. If you wish to redistribute this library but feel bounded by the license conditions please try interacting at arms length, multi-licensing with compatible licenses, or contacting me.

See also GPL and free software licensing: What’s in it for business?


  • [-] Duplicate detection at sentence, paragraph and document level using a least recently used (LRU) cache
  • [-] URL lists and document management
  • [-] Configuration and extraction parameters
  • [-] Graphical user interface
  • [ ] Interaction with web archives (notably WARC format)
  • [ ] Integration of natural language processing tools


Contributions are welcome!

Feel free to file issues on the dedicated page. Thanks to the contributors who submitted features and bugfixes!


This effort is part of methods to derive information from web documents in order to build text databases for research (chiefly linguistic analysis and natural language processing). Extracting and pre-processing web texts to the exacting standards of scientific research presents a substantial challenge for those who conduct such research. Web corpus construction involves numerous design decisions, and this software package can help facilitate text data collection and enhance corpus quality.

You can contact me via my contact page or GitHub.

Going further

Online documentation:

Tutorials: overview.

Trafilatura: Italian word for wire drawing.

Corresponding posts on Bits of Language (blog).