Setting up web scraping python environment on Google Compute Engine

Disclaimer: Nothing unique is described here. Post is made with intent to have a checklist of my setup. It’d be great if it might be interested or helpful to someone else

One of my project requires a daily web scraping and storing data on database. Project includes the following components:

  • Python 3.7
  • Postgres
  • Cron

Past years this project was running on AWS EC2 t2.micro instance and this was enough. I was going to switch from AWS to GCP in order to test and evaluate new service.

Max. of CPU utilization on AWS EC2 micro Max. of CPU utilization on AWS EC2 micro

1. Setup Google Cloud Platform account

It’s super easy to fill in several forms and get your account.

2. Setup Debian machine.

I choose g1-small machine with 1 vCPU and 1.7 GB memory which should be enough for my experiments. During machine configuration process you can add your ssh key.

3. Connect via SSH.

After setup you can login with SSH directly from browser or by your preferable client with ssh key provided in the previous step

ssh -i "~/.ssh/id_rsa" pavel@

where pavel is name which I give to my ssh key and is public IP address of my instance.

After login to the newly created instance I have to setup all required tools

4. Python installation

Debian machine comes with Python 3.5 installed. My projects use python 3.7, so I need to install this Python version.

Install build-essential

sudo apt-get install build-essential

Build Python from sources

tar xvf Python-3.7.1.tgz
cd Python-3.7.1
./configure --enable-optimizations
make -j8
sudo make altinstall

It took about 40 minutes on this machine

CPU utilization during python compilation

5. Postgres installation

Official postgres site provides great instruction on how to install postgres version which you need. create file

sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list

with the following content

deb stretch-pgdg main

Then run

wget --quiet -O - | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get update
apt-get install postgresql-11

After success Postgres installation we need to perform initial configuration. Setup postgres user password by the following command.

sudo -u postgres psql -c "ALTER USER postgres PASSWORD 'your_password';"
sudo vim /etc/postgresql/11/main/pg_hba.conf

change config file with the following values

# Database administrative login by Unix domain socket
local   all             postgres                                md5

# "local" is for Unix domain socket connections only
local   all             all                                     md5

Restart Postgres

sudo /etc/init.d/postgresql restart

Create new user for using in your development environment

createuser -U postgres -d -e -E -l -P -r -s <my_name>

6. Configure crontab

run crontab -e and add the following lines to its config

0 0 15 * * python /home/pavel/projects/p1/src/ all
0 * * * * python /home/pavel/projects/p1/src/ latest
0 * * * * python /home/pavel/projects/p1/src/s1/

7. Create a swap file

Google Cloud Compute vm had no swap file. So we need to create one

sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/var/swap bs=2048 count=524288
sudo chmod 600 /var/swap
sudo mkswap /var/swap
sudo swapon /var/swap

And then the following line to /etc/fstab to make it permanent.

/var/swap none swap sw 0 0

That’s a complete setup of my web scraping environment. Here’s monitoring of web scraping activity

[google cloud platform][postgres][python]