Pandas: How to read an online CSV file that requires authentication

Updated: February 23, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


Pandas is an open-source library providing high-performance, easy-to-use data structures and data analysis tools for the Python programming language. It’s widely used for various forms of data analysis and manipulation, especially for working with tabular data, like CSV files. Sometimes, the data you want to access is not freely available but requires authentication. This can pose some challenges for data scientists and enthusiasts alike. In this tutorial, we walk through different approaches to read a CSV file online that requires authentication using Pandas.

Understanding Authentication

Before jumping into code examples, it’s vital to understand the different types of authentication you might encounter. The most common ones are Basic Authentication, Token Authentication, and OAuth. Each one requires a different approach to gain access to the protected resources.


  • Python 3.6 or higher installed on your machine.
  • Pandas library installed. You can install it using the command pip install pandas.
  • Requests library installed. You can install it using pip install requests.

Method 1: Basic Authentication

Basic Authentication requires the user to provide a username and password combination, which is encoded and sent with the request’s headers. Let’s start simple:

import pandas as pd
import requests
from io import StringIO

url = ""
username = 'user'
password = 'pass'

response = requests.get(url, auth=(username, password))
data = StringIO(response.text)
df = pd.read_csv(data)


This will print the first few lines of your DataFrame, assuming the credentials were correct and the server responded accordingly.

Method 2: Token Authentication

With token authentication, you typically first send a login request with your credentials to a given endpoint and receive a token. You then use this token for subsequent requests. Here’s a simple example:

import pandas as pd
import requests
from io import StringIO

# Replace these values with your specific details
url = ""
login_url = ""
creds = {'username': 'user', 'password': 'pass'}

# Get token
response =, data=creds)
token = response.json()['token']

# Make the authenticated request to get the CSV
headers = {'Authorization': f'Bearer {token}'}
response = requests.get(url, headers=headers)
data = StringIO(response.text)
df = pd.read_csv(data)


This prints the first few rows of the DataFrame, showing that you’ve successfully authenticated and read the CSV data.

Method 3: Custom Authentication Solutions

Some services use custom authentication mechanisms. Independently of the specifics, the general idea involves sending a request to an authentication endpoint, receiving some form of token or key, and using that token for subsequent requests. As implementations vary significantly, refer to the service’s documentation for exact details.

Handling Large Files

When dealing with large files, consider reading the file in chunks to avoid overwhelming your machine’s memory:

chunk_size = 10000 # the number of rows per chunk
for chunk in pd.read_csv(data, chunksize=chunk_size):
    process(chunk) # your processing function here

This allows efficient processing of large files by breaking them down into more manageable pieces.


In summary, reading an online CSV file that requires authentication using Pandas involves making an authenticated request to retrieve the file data. Depending on the authentication method, this might involve using basic authentication, a token-based system, or custom authentication procedures. With the examples and techniques provided in this tutorial, you are now equipped to handle these scenarios in your data analysis tasks.