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0.1.4 • Public • Published


A simple webcrawler. orbweaver prints out the URLs it finds on your site, crawling pages in parallel for speed. orbweaver can also simulate many separate website visitors at once, as a load-testing tool.


npm install -g orbweaver

Basic usage

orbweaver http://mysite.example.com


... etc ...

Let's get rid of those static assets.

orbweaver http://mysite.example.com --ignore-static


... etc ...

This makes a great sitemap, but I want to know how fast the site is responding and see status codes.

orbweaver http://mysite.example.com --metrics --ignore-static

Output (notice the referring URLs on the left, useful if there are 404's):

* -> http://mysite.example.com: 200 (320ms)
http://mysite.example.com -> http://mysite.example.com/about: 200 (325ms)
http://mysite.example.com -> http://mysite.example.com/products: 200 (310ms)
http://mysite.example.com -> http://mysite.example.com/services: (200ms)
http://mysite.example.com -> http://mysite.example.com/blog: (1050ms)
http://mysite.example.com/blog -> http://mysite.example.com/blog/2014/01/01/our-new-product-launch: 200 (150ms)

Great, but I want to test just one page at a time, instead of six at once.

orbweaver http://mysite.example.com --parallel=1

Still too fast! I want a delay between requests. Half a second would be nice.

orbweaver http://mysite.example.com --parallel=1 --interval=500

Let's put a limit on the total number of pages explored.

orbweaver http://mysite.example.com --limit=1000

Let's simulate a real person. The delay between pages should vary. We only fetch one page at a time, and we don't stick around terribly long.

orbweaver http://mysite.example.com --interval=500-2000 --metrics --limit=20 --parallel=1

How about 100 people?

orbweaver http://mysite.example.com --interval=500-2000 --metrics --limit=20 --parallel=1 --users=100

"parallel" versus "users"

Each "user" crawls the site separately, so two users may fetch the same page. Each user counts toward its own limit. For making sitemaps, use the default setting, --parallel=6. For simulating traffic load from actual people, use --users=n, and set --parallel=1.

Other options

--ignore-static is based on our own list of file extensions. You can specify your own with --ignore-extensions:


Or specify a regular expression that tests the entire URL with --ignore:


These options cannot be combined, so if you wish to use --ignore take care to match everything you don't want.

--timeout specifies the timeout in milliseconds for each request and defaults to 60000 (one minute).


Also check out holodeck, which replays the requests found in an existing web server log file.


  • There is currently no support for automatically farming out requests to multiple machines to more accurately simulate traffic from many people.

  • Only GET requests are simulated.

  • The crawler is currently only interested in href attributes. It won't find images, JavaScript files, etc.

  • The user agent is not configurable. Your webserver might treat it differently than a regular browser.

  • orbweaver will never leave the site you point it to. An option to do so might be nice.


0.1.4: removed arachnophobia-triggering photo.

0.1.3: --metrics output includes referring URLs so you can do more with 404's. Also, fixed a bug in which entities in URLs were not decoded, leading to false 404's on some URLs with query strings.

0.1.2: set main to lib/orbweaver.js so the API can be used properly.

0.1.1: added filterAttributes option for those using the API who want to see what's going on in documents.

0.1.0: initial release.

About P'unk Avenue and Apostrophe

orbweaver was created at P'unk Avenue for use in testing websites built with Apostrophe, an open-source content management system built on node.js. orbweaver isn't mandatory for Apostrophe and vice versa, but they play very well together. If you like orbweaver you should definitely check out apostrophenow.org. Also be sure to visit us on github.


Feel free to open issues on github.


npm i orbweaver

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