Introduction to Python Selenium: Getting Started Guide

In this article, we will explore the basics of the Selenium module for Python, and how to use it to automate web browsers, perform web scraping, and test web applications. Selenium is an open-source tool that offers a powerful way to control web browsers through your Python code.

Table of Contents

What is Selenium?

Selenium is an open-source framework designed for automating web browsers. It supports multiple programming languages, including Python, Java, C#, and Ruby. Selenium is mainly used for:

  • Automating repetitive tasks on the web
  • Web scraping (extracting data from websites)
  • Testing web applications (functional and performance testing)

Installing Selenium

To get started with Selenium, you first need to install the Selenium package. You can do this using pip:

pip install selenium

Setting Up a Web Driver

Selenium requires a web driver to interface with your preferred web browser. Web drivers are available for Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers. In this guide, we will use the Chrome driver. To set up the Chrome driver:

  1. Download the appropriate ChromeDriver from here
  2. Extract the downloaded file to a directory of your choice
  3. Add the directory containing the ChromeDriver executable to your system's PATH

Basic Browser Automation

Let's begin with a simple example of browser automation. The following code will open a new Chrome browser window and navigate to the specified URL:

from selenium import webdriver

driver = webdriver.Chrome()

Navigating and Interacting with Web Pages

Selenium allows you to interact with web pages and perform various actions, such as clicking buttons, filling out forms, and navigating between pages. Here is an example of interacting with a web page:

from selenium import webdriver
from selenium.webdriver.common.keys import Keys

driver = webdriver.Chrome()

search_box = driver.find_element_by_name("q")
search_box.send_keys("Python Selenium")

In this example, we navigate to Google, find the search box input element, enter the query "Python Selenium" and press Enter to perform the search.

Web Scraping with Selenium

Selenium can also be used for web scraping – extracting data from websites. Here's an example of using Selenium to scrape data from a web page:

from selenium import webdriver

driver = webdriver.Chrome()

content = driver.find_element_by_id("main-content")


In this example, we navigate to the website, find an element with the ID "main-content," extract its text content, and print it to the console.


In this introductory guide, we learned about the Selenium framework, how to install it, set up a web driver, perform basic browser automation, interact with web pages, and perform web scraping using Python. With this foundation, you can now explore more advanced features of Selenium and use it to automate and test web applications, scrape data from websites, or perform any other tasks that involve controlling web browsers with Python.

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