Modifying the Official Google Chrome RPM to Run on Amazon Linux and CentOS 6 CentOS, Amazon Linux AMI, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux are three closely related GNU/Linux distributions which are all popular choices for server installations. They offer excellent performance and stability, but package availability can often be lacking. The Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL), a community maintained repository of additional packages, significantly improves the situation, but doesn’t include Google Chrome/Chromium or a lot of other software that you would expect on more desktop-oriented distributions.
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Detecting Headles Chrome A short article titled Detecting Chrome Headless popped up on Hacker News over the weekend and it has since been making the rounds. Most of the discussion on Hacker News was focused around the author’s somewhat dubious assertion that web scraping is a “malicious task” that belongs in the same category as advertising fraud and hacking websites. That’s always a fun debate to get into, but the thing that I really took issue with about the article was that it implicitly promoted the idea of blocking users based on browser fingerprinting.
UPDATE: This article is updated regularly to reflect the latest information and versions. If you’re looking for instructions then skip ahead to see Setup Instructions. NOTE: Be sure to check out Running Selenium with Headless Chrome in Ruby if you’re interested in using Selenium in Ruby instead of Python. Background It has long been rumored that Google uses a headless variant of Chrome for their web crawls. Over the last two years or so it had started looking more and more like this functionality would eventually make it into the public releases and, as of this week, that has finally happened.
NOTE: Be sure to check out Running Selenium with Headless Chrome if you’re interested in using Selenium in Python instead of Ruby. Since Google added support to run Chrome and Chromium in headless mode as of version 59, it has become a popular choice for both testing and web scraping. There are a few Chrome-specific automation solutions out there, such as Puppeteer and Chrome Remote Interface, but Selenium remains a popular choice due to it’s uniform API across web browsers and it’s support for multiple programming languages.
Sometimes during the course of testing or web scraping with Google Chrome, you might desire to clear the browser cache and cookies with Selenium. You can of course call driver.close() on your current ChromeDriver instance and then provision a new one. The fresh instance of Chrome will start with a clean browser history, cookies, and cache. There are however times when this method loses other state that you may want to preserve.