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Integrating Scrapy projects

Scrapy is a widely used open-source web scraping framework for Python. Scrapy projects can now be executed on the Apify platform using our dedicated wrapping tool. This tool allows users to transform their Scrapy projects into Apify Actors with just a few simple commands.

Getting started

Install Apify CLI

To run the migration tool, you need to have the Apify CLI installed. You can install it using Homebrew with the following command:

brew install apify-cli

Alternatively, you can install it using NPM with the following command:

npm i -g apify-cli

In case of any issues, please refer to the installation guide.

Actorization of your existing Scrapy spider

Assuming your Scrapy project is set up, navigate to the project root where the scrapy.cfg file is located.

cd your_scraper

Verify the directory contents to ensure the correct location.

$ ls -R
your_scraper requirements.txt scrapy.cfg

./your_scraper: spiders


To convert your Scrapy project into an Apify Actor, initiate the wrapping process by executing the following command:

apify init

The script will prompt you with a series of questions. Upon completion, the output might resemble the following:

Info: The current directory looks like a Scrapy project. Using automatic project wrapping.
? Enter the Scrapy BOT_NAME (see books_scraper
? What folder are the Scrapy spider modules stored in? (see SPIDER_MODULES in books_scraper.spiders
? Pick the Scrapy spider you want to wrap: BookSpider (/home/path/to/actor-scrapy-books-example/books_scraper/spiders/
Info: Downloading the latest Scrapy wrapper template...
Info: Wrapping the Scrapy project...
Success: The Scrapy project has been wrapped successfully.

For example, here is a source code of an actorized Scrapy project, and here the corresponding Actor in Apify Store.

Run the Actor locally

Create a Python virtual environment by running:

python -m virtualenv .venv

Activate the virtual environment:

source .venv/bin/activate

Install Python dependencies using the provided requirements file named requirements_apify.txt. Ensure these requirements are installed before executing your project as an Apify Actor locally. You can put your own dependencies there as well.

pip install -r requirements-apify.txt [-r requirements.txt]

Finally execute the Apify Actor.

apify run [--purge]

If ActorDatasetPushPipeline is configured, the Actor's output will be stored in the storage/datasets/default/ directory.

Run the scraper as Scrapy project

The project remains executable as a Scrapy project.

scrapy crawl your_spider -o books.json

Deploy on Apify

Log in to Apify

You will need to provide your Apify API Token to complete this action.

apify login

Deploy your Actor

This command will deploy and build the Actor on the Apify platform. You can find your newly created Actor under Actors -> My Actors.

apify push

What the wrapping process does

The initialization command enhances your project by adding necessary files and updating some of them while preserving its functionality as a typical Scrapy project. The additional requirements file, named requirements_apify.txt, includes the Apify Python SDK and other essential requirements. The .actor/ directory contains basic configuration of your Actor. We provide two new Python files and, where we encapsulate the Scrapy project within an Actor. We also import and use there a few Scrapy components from our Python SDK. These components facilitate the integration of the Scrapy projects with the Apify platform. Further details about these components are provided in the following subsections.


The scheduler is a core component of Scrapy responsible for receiving and providing requests to be processed. To leverage the Apify request queue for storing requests, a custom scheduler becomes necessary. Fortunately, Scrapy is a modular framework, allowing the creation of custom components. As a result, we have implemented the ApifyScheduler. When using the Apify CLI wrapping tool, the scheduler is configured in the src/ file of your Actor.

Dataset push pipeline

Item pipelines are used for the processing of the results produced by your spiders. To handle the transmission of result data to the Apify dataset, we have implemented the ActorDatasetPushPipeline. When using the Apify CLI wrapping tool, the pipeline is configured in the src/ file of your Actor. It is assigned the highest integer value (1000), ensuring its execution as the final step in the pipeline sequence.

Retry middleware

Downloader middlewares are a way how to hook into Scrapy's request/response processing. Scrapy comes with various default middlewares, including the RetryMiddleware, designed to handle retries for requests that may have failed due to temporary issues. When integrating with the Apify request queue, it becomes necessary to enhance this middleware to facilitate communication with the request queue marking the requests either as handled or ready for a retry. When using the Apify CLI wrapping tool, the default RetryMiddleware is disabled, and ApifyRetryMiddleware takes its place. Configuration for the middlewares is established in the src/ file of your Actor.

HTTP proxy middleware

Another default Scrapy downloader middleware that requires replacement is HttpProxyMiddleware. To utilize the use of proxies managed through the Apify ProxyConfiguration, we provide ApifyHttpProxyMiddleware. When using the Apify CLI wrapping tool, the default HttpProxyMiddleware is disabled, and ApifyHttpProxyMiddleware takes its place. Additionally, inspect the .actor/input_schema.json file, where proxy configuration is specified as an input property for your Actor. The processing of this input is carried out together with the middleware configuration in src/

Known limitations

There are some known limitations of running the Scrapy projects on Apify platform we are aware of.

Asynchronous code in spiders and other components

Scrapy asynchronous execution is based on the Twisted library, not the AsyncIO, which brings some complications on the table.

Due to the asynchronous nature of the Actors, all of their code is executed as a coroutine inside the In order to execute Scrapy code inside an Actor, following the section Run Scrapy from a script from the official Scrapy documentation, we need to invoke a CrawlProcess.start method. This method triggers Twisted's event loop, also known as a reactor. Consequently, Twisted's event loop is executed within AsyncIO's event loop. On top of that, when employing AsyncIO code in spiders or other components, it necessitates the creation of a new AsyncIO event loop, within which the coroutines from these components are executed. This means there is an execution of the AsyncIO event loop inside the Twisted event loop inside the AsyncIO event loop.

We have resolved this issue by leveraging the nest-asyncio library, enabling the execution of nested AsyncIO event loops. For executing a coroutine within a spider or other component, it is recommended to use Apify's instance of the nested event loop. Refer to the code example below or derive inspiration from Apify's Scrapy components, such as the ApifyScheduler.

from apify.scrapy.utils import nested_event_loop


# Coroutine execution inside a spider

More spiders per Actor

It is recommended to execute only one Scrapy spider per Apify Actor.

Mapping more Scrapy spiders to a single Apify Actor does not make much sense. We would have to create a separate instace of the request queue for every spider. Also, every spider can produce a different output resulting in a mess in an output dataset. A solution for this could be to store an output of every spider to a different key-value store. However, a much more simple solution to this problem would be to just have a single spider per Actor.

If you want to share common Scrapy components (middlewares, item pipelines, ...) among more spiders (Actors), you can use a dedicated Python package containing your components and install it to your Actors environment. The other solution to this problem could be to have more spiders per Actor, but keep only one spider run per Actor. What spider is going to be executed in an Actor run can be specified in the input schema.

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