Skip to main content API Wrapper for public comment/submission search

Project description


pip install psaw

At present, only python 3 is supported.


A minimalist wrapper for searching public reddit comments/submissions via the API.

Pushshift is an extremely useful resource, but the API is poorly documented. As such, this API wrapper is currently designed to make it easy to pass pretty much any search parameter the user wants to try.

Although it is not necessarily reflective of the current status of the API, I recommend you attempt to familiarize yourself with the Pushshift API documentation to better understand what search arguments are likely to work. The documentation is distributed across several locations:


  • Handles rate limiting and exponential backoff subject to maximum retries and maximum backoff limits. A minimum rate limit of 1 request per second is used as a default per consultation with Pushshift’s maintainer, /u/Stuck_in_the_matrix.

  • Handles paging of results. Returns all historical results for a given query by default.

  • Returns results in comment and submission objects whose API is similar to the corresponding praw objects. Additionally, result objects have an additional .d_ attribute that offers dict access to the associated data attributes.

  • Adds a created attribute which converts a comment/submission’s created_utc timestamp to the user’s local time.

  • Extremely simple interface to pass query arguments to the API. The API is sparsely documented, so it’s often fruitful to just try an argument and see if it works.

  • Limited support for pushshift’s aggs argument.

  • A stop_condition argument to make it simple to stop yielding results given arbitrary user-defined criteria

Demo usage

from psaw import PushshiftAPI

api = PushshiftAPI()

100 most recent submissions

# The `search_comments` and `search_submissions` methods return generator objects
gen = api.search_submissions(limit=100)
results = list(gen)

First 10 submissions to /r/politics in 2017, filtering results to url/author/title/subreddit fields.

The created_utc field will be added automatically (it’s used for paging).

import datetime as dt

start_epoch=int(dt.datetime(2017, 1, 1).timestamp())

                            filter=['url','author', 'title', 'subreddit'],

Trying a search argument that doesn’t actually work

According to the API documentation, we should be able to search submissions by url, but (at the time of this writing) this doesn’t actually work in practice. The API should still respect the limit argument and possibly other supported arguments, but no guarantees. If you find that an argument you have passed is not supported by the API, best thing is to just remove it from the query and modify your api call to only utilize supported arguments to mitigate risks from of unexpected behavior.

url = ''
url_results = list(api.search_submissions(url=url, limit=500))

len(url_results), any(r.url == url for r in url_results)
# 500, False

All AskReddit comments containing the text “OP”

Use the q parameter to search text. Omitting the limit parameter does a full historical search. Requests are performed in batches of size specified by the max_results_per_request parameter (default=500). Omitting the “max_reponse_cache” test in the demo below will return all results. Otherwise, this demo will perform two API requests returning 500 comments each. Alternatively, the generator can be queried for additional results.

gen = api.search_comments(q='OP', subreddit='askreddit')

max_response_cache = 1000
cache = []

for c in gen:

    # Omit this test to actually return all results. Wouldn't recommend it though: could take a while, but you do you.
    if len(cache) >= max_response_cache:

# If you really want to: pick up where we left off to get the rest of the results.
if False:
    for c in gen:

Using the aggs argument to count comments mentioning trump each hour in past week

Replicating the example from the pushshift documentation:

I haven’t really experimented much with this functionality of the API, so I figured the simplest way to support it would be to just disable most of the bells and whistles provided by the API wrapper when the aggs argument is provided (i.e. paging, converting the result to a namedtuple for dot notation attribute access).

api = PushshiftAPI()
gen = api.search_comments(q='trump',

result = next(gen)

Using the stop_condition argument to get the most recent submission by a bot account

gen = api.search_submissions(stop_condition=lambda x: 'bot' in

for subm in gen:



PSAW’s source is provided under the Simplified BSD License.

  • Copyright (c), 2018, David Marx

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