By default, cached responses will be stored indefinitely. There are a number of options for specifying how long to store responses, either with a single expiration value, glob patterns, or cache headers.

The simplest option is to initialize the cache with an expire_after value, which will apply to all reponses:

>>> # Set expiration for the session using a value in seconds
>>> session = CachedSession(expire_after=360)

Expiration Precedence#

Expiration can be set on a per-session, per-URL, or per-request basis, in addition to cache headers (see sections below for usage details). When there are multiple values provided for a given request, the following order of precedence is used:

  1. Cache-Control response headers (if enabled)

  2. Cache-Control request headers

  3. Per-request expiration (expire_after argument for CachedSession.request())

  4. Per-URL expiration (urls_expire_after argument for CachedSession)

  5. Per-session expiration (expire_after argument for CacheBackend)

Expiration Values#

expire_after can be any of the following:

  • -1 (to never expire)

  • 0 (to “expire immediately,” e.g. bypass the cache)

  • A positive number (in seconds)

  • A timedelta

  • A datetime


>>> # To specify a unit of time other than seconds, use a timedelta
>>> from datetime import timedelta
>>> session = CachedSession(expire_after=timedelta(days=30))

>>> # Update an existing session to disable expiration (i.e., store indefinitely)
>>> session.expire_after = -1

>>> # Disable caching by default, unless enabled by other settings
>>> session = CachedSession(expire_after=0)

Expiration With URL Patterns#

You can use urls_expire_after to set different expiration values based on URL glob patterns. This allows you to customize caching based on what you know about the resources you’re requesting or how you intend to use them. For example, you might request one resource that gets updated frequently, another that changes infrequently, and another that never changes. Example:

>>> urls_expire_after = {
...     '*.site_1.com': 30,
...     'site_2.com/resource_1': 60 * 2,
...     'site_2.com/resource_2': 60 * 60 * 24,
...     'site_2.com/static': -1,
... }
>>> session = CachedSession(urls_expire_after=urls_expire_after)


  • urls_expire_after should be a dict in the format {'pattern': expire_after}

  • expire_after accepts the same types as CachedSession.expire_after

  • Patterns will match request base URLs without the protocol, so the pattern site.com/resource/ is equivalent to http*://site.com/resource/**

  • If there is more than one match, the first match will be used in the order they are defined

  • If no patterns match a request, CachedSession.expire_after will be used as a default

Expiration and Error Handling#

In some cases, you might cache a response, have it expire, but then encounter an error when retrieving a new response. If you would like to use expired response data in these cases, use the stale_if_error option.

For example:

>>> # Cache a test response and wait until it's expired
>>> session = CachedSession(stale_if_error=True)
>>> session.get('https://httpbin.org/get', expire_after=1)
>>> time.sleep(1)

Afterward, let’s say the page has moved and you get a 404, or the site is experiencing downtime and you get a 500. You will then get the expired cache data instead:

>>> response = session.get('https://httpbin.org/get')
>>> print(response.from_cache, response.is_expired)
True, True

In addition to HTTP error codes, stale_if_error also applies to python exceptions (typically a RequestException). See requests documentation on Errors and Exceptions for more details on request errors in general.

Removing Expired Responses#

For better read performance, expired responses won’t be removed immediately, but will be removed (or replaced) the next time they are requested.


Implementing one or more cache eviction algorithms is being considered. If this is something you are interested in, please provide feedback via issues!

To manually clear all expired responses, use CachedSession.remove_expired_responses():

>>> session.remove_expired_responses()

Or, when using patching:

>>> requests_cache.remove_expired_responses()

You can also apply a different expire_after to previously cached responses, which will revalidate the cache with the new expiration time:

>>> session.remove_expired_responses(expire_after=timedelta(days=30))