Developer Docs

Making an API request

The url format for making a screenshot request to urlbox.io's API is:

https://api.urlbox.io/v1/YOUR_API_KEY/FORMAT?REQUEST_OPTIONS

And if you are using urlbox directly on a public facing website, you should use the authenticated request url format:

https://api.urlbox.io/v1/YOUR_API_KEY/GENERATED_TOKEN/FORMAT?REQUEST_OPTIONS

Where:

  • YOUR_API_KEY should be replaced by your actual urlbox API key which you can get by registering for an account.
    (If you have already registered, you can find your API Key by logging in to your account.)

  • GENERATED_TOKEN should be replaced by a hash which is generated server side by taking the HMAC SHA1 of the query string and signing it with your API Secret. This parameter is optional unless you have enabled the Force Authenticated Requests option in your dashboard.
    Example code is below to get you started in no time

  • FORMAT should be one of either png or jpg depending on which format you want the resulting image

    . You can also set format to pdf to generate a pdf from the URL
  • REQUEST_OPTIONS should be replaced by a query string that contains all of the options you want to set.
    A table of all options and their defaults are shown below

An example, valid urlbox url is shown below, with the following options:

  • format is set to png
  • url is set to apple.com
  • thumb_width is set to 600 pixels wide
  • ttl is set to 86400 seconds which is equivalent to 1 day, meaning the screenshot will be freshly generated once daily
https://api.urlbox.io/v1/ca482d7e-9417-4569-90fe-80f7c5e1c781/png?url=apple.com&thumb_width=600&ttl=86400

And here is the authenticated version:

https://api.urlbox.io/v1/ca482d7e-9417-4569-90fe-80f7c5e1c781/73ff36a5393a7a96bd6cdd5c0d05d0fede884cad/png?url=apple.com&thumb_width=600&ttl=86400

Simply putting this url as the src attribute in a normal img tag, the resulting image is:

urlbox.io screenshot API showing a screenshot thumbnail of apple.com

Request Options

Below is a table listing all of the available options to the API.
Combine these options as parameters in the query string for e.g. ?url=bbc.co.uk&full_page=true

FieldDefaultDescription
url-The URL of the website you want to screenshot
width1280Viewport width of the browser in pixels
height1024Viewport height of the browser in pixels
selector-Take a screenshot of the element that matches this selector. By default, if the selector is not found, Urlbox will take a normal viewport screenshot. If you prefer Urlbox to fail the request when the selector is not found, pass fail_if_selector_missing=true.
fail_if_selector_missingfalseFails the request if selector or wait_for elements are not found on the page
frame-If your target element specified by either the selector or wait_for option is inside an iframe, set a selector to the containing iframe here .e.g iframe:nth-child(1)
thumb_width-Width in pixels of the generated thumbnail, leave off for full-size screenshot
block_ads-Blocks requests from popular ad-networks from loading
user_agent-User-Agent string used to emulate a particular client
accept_langen-USSets an Accept-Language header on requests to the target URL
authorization-Sets an Authorization header on requests to the target URL
cookie-Sets a cookie on the request when loading the URL. E.g. OptIn=true. Can be set multiple times to set more than one cookie
header-Sets a custom request header when loading the URL. E.g. X-My-Header=SomeValue. Can be set multiple times to set more than one header
delay-Amount of time to wait in milliseconds before urlbox takes the screenshot
wait_for-Waits for the element specified by this selector to be present in the dom before taking a screenshot. By default Urlbox will take a screenshot if the wait_for element is not found. If you prefer Urlbox to fail the request when the wait_for element is not found, pass fail_if_selector_missing=true
timeout30000Amount of time to wait in milliseconds for the website at url to respond
full_pagefalseSpecify whether to capture the full scrollable area of the website
skip_scrollfalseEnabling skip_scroll will speed up renders by skipping an initial scroll through the page which is used to trigger any lazy loading elements.
allow_infinite-By default when Urlbox detects an infinite scrolling page, it does not attempt to continue scrolling until the bottom, as this could result in infinite scrolling! If you want to override this behaviour pass true for this option
detect_full_height-Some pages have full-height backgrounds whose heights are set to 100% of the viewport. Due to the way Urlbox takes screenshots, this can cause the backgrounds to get stretched when making a full_page screenshot. If you are seeing this behaviour in your screenshots, pass true for this option.
max_height4096When Urlbox takes a full_page screenshot, the maximum height of each image section is set as 4096 pixels. If a site is greater than this value, Urlbox will start splitting the screenshot into sections. Sometimes it is worthwhile to experiment with this number
scroll_increment-When scrolling the page to trigger lazy loading elements, decide by how many pixels the page should be scrolled by. By default the scroll incrememnt is set to the browser viewport height. Some pages lazy loading elements however only trigger when the scroll increment is smaller than this e.g. 400px
flashfalseEnable the flash plugin for flash using websites
forcefalseTake a fresh screenshot instead of getting a cached version
ttl2592000 (30 days)Short for 'time to live'. Number of seconds to keep a screenshot in the cache. Note the default is also the maximum value for this option.
unique-You can pass a unique string such as a UUID, hash or timestamp to have more control over when to generate a fresh screenshot. For example unique=20180624100403
quality80JPEG only - image quality of resulting screenshot (0-100)
disable_jsfalseTurns off javascript on target url. This option will also disable full_page=true because it is hard to infer the full content height when javascript is turned off.
retinafalseTake a 'retina' or high definition screenshot equivalent to setting a device pixel ratio of 2.0 or @2x. Please note that retina screenshots will be double the normal dimensions and will normally take slightly longer to process due to the much bigger image size.
transparentfalseIf a website has no background color set, the image will have a transparent background (PNG only)
click-Element selector that is clicked before taking a screenshot e.g. #clickme would click the element with id="clickme". Can be used multiple times to simulate multiple sequential click events.
hover-Element selector that is hovered before taking a screenshot e.g. #hoverme would hover over the element with id="hoverme"
bg_color-Hex code or css color string. Some websites don't set a body background colour, and will show up as transparent backgrounds with PNG or black when using JPG. Use this setting to set a background colour. If the website explicitly sets a transparent background on the html or body elements, this setting will be overridden.
crop_width-Crop the width of the screenshot to this size in pixels
hide_selector-Comma delimited string of css element selectors that are hidden by setting their style to `display:none !important;`. Useful for hiding popups.
hide_cookie_banners-Attempts to hide cookie banners from most websites
click_accept-Attempt to click accept buttons in order to hide popups
highlight-Word to highlight on the page before capturing a screenshot
highlightfgwhiteText color of the highlighted word
highlightbgredBackground color of the highlighted word
latitude-Latitude used to emulate the Geolocation API
longitude-Longitude used to emulate the Geolocation API
accuracy-How accurate the Geolocation API should be in meters
proxy-Pass in an address to a proxy server to make screenshot requests via that server i.e. [address]:[port]. If proxy authentication is needed: [user]:[password]@[address]:[port].
download-Pass in a filename e.g. download=myfilename.png which sets the content-disposition header on the response. This will make the urlbox link a downloadable link and prompt the user to save the file as myfilename.png.
use_s3falseSave the screenshot directly to the S3 bucket configured on your account
s3_path-The s3 path, including subdirectories and the filename, to save the screenshot to in your S3 bucket. The extension (.png, .jpg or .pdf) will be provided automatically and should not be included in s3_path.
s3_bucket-Override the configured s3 bucket that the screenshot will be saved to

Frequently Asked Questions

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Example Code

Sample code is available in the following languages: Node.js, Ruby, PHP, Python, Java and C#.
If you would like help integrating our API with your language please get in touch

Node.js

Sample code to take website screenshots in Node.js

Check out our npm package here, and on github

// npm install urlbox --save

import Urlbox from 'urlbox';

// Plugin your API key and secret
const urlbox = Urlbox(YOUR_API_KEY, YOUR_API_SECRET);

// Set your options
const options = {
  url: 'github.com',
  thumb_width: 600,
  format: 'jpg',
  quality: 80
};

const imgUrl = urlbox.buildUrl(options);
// https://api.urlbox.io/v1/YOUR_API_KEY/TOKEN/jpg?url=github.com&thumb_width=600&quality=80

// Now set it as the src in an img tag to render the screenshot
<img src={imgUrl} />

Ruby

Sample code to take website screenshots in Ruby

# ruby gem coming soon
require 'openssl'
require 'open-uri'

def encodeURIComponent(val)
  URI.escape(val, Regexp.new("[^#{URI::PATTERN::UNRESERVED}]"))
end
 
def urlbox(url, options={}, format='png')
  urlbox_apikey = 'YOUR_API_KEY'
  urlbox_secret = 'YOUR_API_SECRET'
 
  query = {
    :url         => url, # required - the url you want to screenshot
    :force       => options[:force], # optional - boolean - whether you want to generate a new screenshot rather than receive a previously cached one - this also overwrites the previously cached image
    :full_page   => options[:full_page], # optional - boolean - return a screenshot of the full screen
    :thumb_width => options[:thumb_width], # optional - number - thumbnail the resulting screenshot using this width in pixels
    :width       => options[:width], # optional - number - set viewport width to use (in pixels)
    :height      => options[:height], # optional - number - set viewport height to use (in pixels)
    :quality     => options[:quality] # optional - number (0-100) - set quality of the screenshot
  }
 
  query_string = query.
    sort_by {|s| s[0].to_s }.
    select {|s| s[1] }.       
    map {|s| s.map {|v| encodeURIComponent(v.to_s) }.join('=') }.
    join('&')
  
  token = OpenSSL::HMAC.hexdigest('sha1', urlbox_secret, query_string)
 
  "https://api.urlbox.io/v1/#{urlbox_apikey}/#{token}/#{format}?#{query_string}"
end

### USAGE: (format can be png or jpg, we default to png) ###
url = urlbox("www.google.com", {thumb_width: 200, full_page: true, quality: 90}, 'jpg')
puts url
# url: "https://api.urlbox.io/v1/YOUR_API_KEY/TOKEN/jpg?full_page=true&quality=90&thumb_width=200&url=www.google.com"

PHP

Sample code to take website screenshots in PHP

Check out our composer package here, and on github


// run this on the command line to install the urlbox php package:
// composer require urlbox/screenshots

use Urlbox\Screenshots\Urlbox;

$urlbox = Urlbox::fromCredentials('API_KEY', 'API_SECRET');

// only required option is a url:
$options['url'] = 'example.com';

// specify any other options to augment the screenshot...
$options['width'] = 320;

// Create the Urlbox URL
$urlboxUrl = $urlbox->generateUrl($options);

// $urlboxUrl is now 'https://api.urlbox.io/v1/API_KEY/TOKEN/png?url=example.com&width=320'

// Generate a screenshot by loading the Urlbox URL in an img tag:
echo '<img src="'.$urlboxUrl.'" alt="Test screenshot generated by Urlbox">'

Python

Sample code to take website screenshots in Python

#pypy package coming soon
#!/usr/bin/python
import hmac
from hashlib import sha1
try:
    from urllib import urlencode
except ImportError:
    from urllib.parse import urlencode
def urlbox(args):
    apiKey = "xxx-xxx"
    apiSecret = "xxx-xxx"
    queryString = urlencode(args, True)
    hmacToken = hmac.new(str.encode(apiSecret), str.encode(queryString), sha1)
    token = hmacToken.hexdigest().rstrip('
')
    return "https://api.urlbox.io/v1/%s/%s/png?%s" % (apiKey, token, queryString)

argsDict = {'url' : "twitter.com", 'thumb_width': 400}
print(urlbox (argsDict))

Java

Sample code to take website screenshots in Java

import java.io.UnsupportedEncodingException;
import java.math.BigInteger;
import java.net.URLEncoder;
import java.security.InvalidKeyException;
import java.security.NoSuchAlgorithmException;
import java.util.Map;
import java.util.HashMap;
import javax.crypto.Mac;
import javax.crypto.spec.SecretKeySpec;

public class Urlbox { 

  private String key;
  private String secret;

  Urlbox(String api_key, String api_secret) {
    this.key = api_key;
    this.secret = api_secret;
  }

  // main method demos Example Usage
  public static void main(String[] args) { 
    String urlboxKey = "your-urlbox-api-key";
    String urlboxSecret = "your-urlbox-secret";

    // Set request options
    Map<String, Object> options = new HashMap<String, Object>();
    options.put("width", 1280);
    options.put("height", 1024);
    options.put("thumb_width", 240);
    options.put("full_page", "false");
    options.put("force", "false");

    // Create urlbox object with api key and secret
    Urlbox urlbox = new Urlbox(urlboxKey, urlboxSecret);
    try {
      // Call generateUrl function of urlbox object
      String urlboxUrl = urlbox.generateUrl("bbc.co.uk", options);
      // Now do something with urlboxUrl.. put in img tag, etc..
    } catch (UnsupportedEncodingException ex) {
      throw new RuntimeException("Problem with url encoding", ex);
    }
  }

  public String generateUrl(String url, Map<String,Object> options) throws UnsupportedEncodingException {

    String encodedUrl = URLEncoder.encode(url, "UTF-8");
    String queryString = String.format("url=%s", encodedUrl);

    for (Map.Entry<String, Object> entry : options.entrySet()) {
      String queryParam = "&"+entry.getKey()+"="+entry.getValue(); 
      queryString += queryParam;
    }

    String token = generateToken(queryString, this.secret);
    String result = String.format("https://api.urlbox.io/v1/%s/%s/png?%s", this.key, token, queryString);
    System.out.println(result);
    return result;
  }
     
  private String generateToken(String input, String key) {
    String lSignature = "None";
    try {
      Mac lMac = Mac.getInstance("HmacSHA1");
      SecretKeySpec lSecret = new SecretKeySpec(key.getBytes(), "HmacSHA1");
      lMac.init(lSecret);

      byte[] lDigest = lMac.doFinal(input.getBytes());
      BigInteger lHash = new BigInteger(1, lDigest);
      lSignature = lHash.toString(16);
      if ((lSignature.length() % 2) != 0) {
        lSignature = "0" + lSignature;
      }
    } catch (NoSuchAlgorithmException lEx) {
      throw new RuntimeException("Problems calculating HMAC", lEx);
    } catch (InvalidKeyException lEx) {
      throw new RuntimeException("Problems calculating HMAC", lEx);
    }
    return lSignature;
  }
}

C#

Sample code to take website screenshots in C#

Check out our nuget package here

using UrlboxMain;

namespace Screenshot
{
  public class Screenshotter
  {
    Urlbox urlbox = new Urlbox("YOUR_URLBOX_API_KEY", "YOUR_URLBOX_API_SECRET");

    public void GetScreenshotUrl()
    {
      dynamic options = new ExpandoObject();
      options.Width = 1280;
      options.Thumb_Width = 500;
      options.Full_Page = true;

      var output = urlbox.GenerateUrl("bbc.co.uk", options);
      // output is now https://api.urlbox.io/v1/YOUR_URLBOX_API_KEY/d6b5068716c19ba4556648ad9df047d5847cda0c/png?url=bbc.co.uk&width=1280&thumb_width=500&full_page=true
      // to generate a screenshot image you would make a simple GET request to this URL, for example putting it inside an <img> tag.
    }
  }
} 
 // ================================================================
// UrlboxMain project/package:
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Dynamic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using PCLCrypto;

namespace UrlboxMain
{
  public class Urlbox
  {
    String apiKey;
    String apiSecret;
    static List<String> encodedPropertyNames = new List<String> { "user_agent", "bg_color", "hide_selector", "click_selector", "highlight", "highlightbg", "highlightfg" };
    static List<String> booleanPropertyNames = new List<String> { "force", "retina", "full_page", "disable_js" };

    public Urlbox(String apiKey, String apiSecret)
    {
      if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(apiKey) || String.IsNullOrEmpty(apiSecret))
      {
        throw new ArgumentException("Please provide your Urlbox.io API Key and API Secret");
      }
      this.apiKey = apiKey;
      this.apiSecret = apiSecret;
    }

    public string GenerateUrl(string url)
    {
      return this.GenerateUrl(url, new ExpandoObject());
    }

    public string GenerateUrl(string url, ExpandoObject options)
    {
      if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(url))
      {
        throw new ArgumentException("Please provide a url in order to generate a screenshot URL");
      }
      var encodedUrl = urlEncode(url);
      var format = "png";

      byte[] key = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(this.apiSecret);
      var urlString = string.Format("url={0}", encodedUrl);
      StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder(urlString);

      foreach (KeyValuePair<string, object> kvp in options)
      {
        var optionName = kvp.Key.ToLower();
        var optionValue = kvp.Value.ToString();
        if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(optionValue))
        {
          continue;
        }
        if (string.Equals(optionName, "format")){
          format = optionValue;
          continue;
        }
        if (encodedPropertyNames.Contains(optionName))
        {
          optionValue = urlEncode(optionValue);
        }
        if (booleanPropertyNames.Contains(optionName))
        {
          if (!(bool)kvp.Value) { continue; }
          optionValue = optionValue.ToLower();
        }
        sb.Append(string.Format("&{0}={1}", optionName, optionValue));
      }

      var queryString = sb.ToString();
      var uniqueToken = generateToken(queryString, key);
      return string.Format("https://api.urlbox.io/v1/{0}/{1}/{2}?{3}", this.apiKey, uniqueToken, format, queryString);
    }

    private static string generateToken(String data, byte[] key)
    {
      var algorithm = WinRTCrypto.MacAlgorithmProvider.OpenAlgorithm(MacAlgorithm.HmacSha1);
      CryptographicHash hasher = algorithm.CreateHash(key);
      hasher.Append(Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(data));
      byte[] mac = hasher.GetValueAndReset();
      var macStr = byteArrayToString(mac);
      return macStr;
    }

    private static string byteArrayToString(byte[] ba)
    {
      string hex = BitConverter.ToString(ba).ToLower();
      return hex.Replace("-", "");
    }

    private static string urlEncode(string url)
    {
      // make it behave like javascript encodeURIComponent()
      var encoded = Uri.EscapeDataString(url);
      encoded = encoded.Replace("%28", "(");
      encoded = encoded.Replace("%29", ")");
      return encoded;
    }

  }
}