Advanced Features

If you want, can return information about the cassette it is using to record your requests and responses. This will let you record your requests and responses and make assertions on them, to make sure that your code under test is generating the expected requests and responses. This feature is not present in Ruby’s VCR, but I think it is a nice addition. Here’s an example:

import vcr
import urllib2

with vcr.use_cassette('fixtures/vcr_cassettes/synopsis.yaml') as cass:
    response = urllib2.urlopen('').read()
    # cass should have 1 request inside it
    assert len(cass) == 1
    # the request uri should have been
    assert cass.requests[0].uri == ''

The Cassette object exposes the following properties which I consider part of the API. The fields are as follows:

  • requests: A list of vcr.Request objects corresponding to the http requests that were made during the recording of the cassette. The requests appear in the order that they were originally processed.
  • responses: A list of the responses made.
  • play_count: The number of times this cassette has played back a response.
  • all_played: A boolean indicating whether all the responses have been played back.
  • responses_of(request): Access the responses that match a given request
  • allow_playback_repeats: A boolean indicating whether responses can be played back more than once.

The Request object has the following properties:

  • uri: The full uri of the request. Example: “
  • scheme: The scheme used to make the request (http or https)
  • host: The host of the request, for example “”
  • port: The port the request was made on
  • path: The path of the request. For example “/” or “/home.html”
  • query: The parsed query string of the request. Sorted list of name, value pairs.
  • method : The method used to make the request, for example “GET” or “POST”
  • body: The body of the request, usually empty except for POST / PUT / etc

Backwards compatible properties:

  • url: The uri alias
  • protocol: The scheme alias

Register your own serializer

Don’t like JSON or YAML? That’s OK, can serialize to any format you would like. Create your own module or class instance with 2 methods:

  • def deserialize(cassette_string)
  • def serialize(cassette_dict)

Finally, register your class with VCR to use your new serializer.

import vcr

class BogoSerializer(object):
    Must implement serialize() and deserialize() methods

my_vcr = vcr.VCR()
my_vcr.register_serializer('bogo', BogoSerializer())

with my_vcr.use_cassette('test.bogo', serializer='bogo'):
    # your http here

# After you register, you can set the default serializer to your new serializer

my_vcr.serializer = 'bogo'

with my_vcr.use_cassette('test.bogo'):
    # your http here

Register your own request matcher

Create your own method with the following signature

def my_matcher(r1, r2):

Your method receives the two requests and can either:

  • Use an assert statement: return None if they match and raise AssertionError if not.
  • Return a boolean: True if they match, False if not.

Note: in order to have good feedback when a matcher fails, we recommend using an assert statement with a clear error message.

Finally, register your method with VCR to use your new request matcher.

import vcr

def jurassic_matcher(r1, r2):
    assert r1.uri == r2.uri and 'JURASSIC PARK' in r1.body, \
        'required string (JURASSIC PARK) not found in request body'

my_vcr = vcr.VCR()
my_vcr.register_matcher('jurassic', jurassic_matcher)

with my_vcr.use_cassette('test.yml', match_on=['jurassic']):
    # your http here

# After you register, you can set the default match_on to use your new matcher

my_vcr.match_on = ['jurassic']

with my_vcr.use_cassette('test.yml'):
    # your http here

Register your own cassette persister

Create your own persistence class, see the example below:

Your custom persister must implement both load_cassette and save_cassette methods. The load_cassette method must return a deserialized cassette or raise ValueError if no cassette is found.

Once the persister class is defined, register with VCR like so…

import vcr
my_vcr = vcr.VCR()

class CustomerPersister:
    # implement Persister methods...


Filter sensitive data from the request

If you are checking your cassettes into source control, and are using some form of authentication in your tests, you can filter out that information so it won’t appear in your cassette files. There are a few ways to do this:

Filter information from HTTP Headers

Use the filter_headers configuration option with a list of headers to filter.

with my_vcr.use_cassette('test.yml', filter_headers=['authorization']):
    # sensitive HTTP request goes here

Filter information from HTTP querystring

Use the filter_query_parameters configuration option with a list of query parameters to filter.

with my_vcr.use_cassette('test.yml', filter_query_parameters=['api_key']):

Filter information from HTTP post data

Use the filter_post_data_parameters configuration option with a list of post data parameters to filter.

with my_vcr.use_cassette('test.yml', filter_post_data_parameters=['client_secret']):'', data={'api_key': 'secretstring'})

Advanced use of filter_headers, filter_query_parameters and filter_post_data_parameters

In all of the above cases, it’s also possible to pass a list of (key, value) tuples where the value can be any of the following:

  • A new value to replace the original value.
  • None to remove the key/value pair. (Same as passing a simple key string.)
  • A callable that returns a new value or None.

So these two calls are the same:

# original (still works)
vcr = VCR(filter_headers=['authorization'])

# new
vcr = VCR(filter_headers=[('authorization', None)])

Here are two examples of the new functionality:

# replace with a static value (most common)
vcr = VCR(filter_headers=[('authorization', 'XXXXXX')])

# replace with a callable, for example when testing
# lots of different kinds of authorization.
def replace_auth(key, value, request):
    auth_type = value.split(' ', 1)[0]
    return '{} {}'.format(auth_type, 'XXXXXX')

Custom Request filtering

If none of these covers your request filtering needs, you can register a callback with the before_record_request configuration option to manipulate the HTTP request before adding it to the cassette, or return None to ignore it entirely. Here is an example that will never record requests to the '/login' path:

def before_record_cb(request):
    if request.path == '/login':
        return None
    return request

my_vcr = vcr.VCR(
with my_vcr.use_cassette('test.yml'):
    # your http code here

You can also mutate the request using this callback. For example, you could remove all query parameters from any requests to the '/login' path.

def scrub_login_request(request):
    if request.path == '/login':
        request.uri, _ =  urllib.splitquery(request.uri)
    return request

my_vcr = vcr.VCR(
with my_vcr.use_cassette('test.yml'):
    # your http code here

Custom Response Filtering

You can also do response filtering with the before_record_response configuration option. Its usage is similar to the above before_record_request - you can mutate the response, or return None to avoid recording the request and response altogether. For example to hide sensitive data from the response body:

def scrub_string(string, replacement=''):
    def before_record_response(response):
        response['body']['string'] = response['body']['string'].replace(string, replacement)
        return response
    return before_record_response

my_vcr = vcr.VCR(
    before_record_response=scrub_string(settings.USERNAME, 'username'),
with my_vcr.use_cassette('test.yml'):
     # your http code here

Decode compressed response

When the decode_compressed_response keyword argument of a VCR object is set to True, VCR will decompress “gzip” and “deflate” response bodies before recording. This ensures that these interactions become readable and editable after being serialized.


Decompression is done before any other specified Custom Response Filtering.

This option should be avoided if the actual decompression of response bodies is part of the functionality of the library or app being tested.

Ignore requests

If you would like to completely ignore certain requests, you can do it in a few ways:

  • Set the ignore_localhost option equal to True. This will not record any requests sent to (or responses from) localhost,, or
  • Set the ignore_hosts configuration option to a list of hosts to ignore
  • Add a before_record_request or before_record_response callback that returns None for requests you want to ignore (see above).

Requests that are ignored by VCR will not be saved in a cassette, nor played back from a cassette. VCR will completely ignore those requests as if it didn’t notice them at all, and they will continue to hit the server as if VCR were not there.

Custom Patches

If you use a custom HTTPConnection class, or otherwise make http requests in a way that requires additional patching, you can use the custom_patches keyword argument of the VCR and Cassette objects to patch those objects whenever a cassette’s context is entered. To patch a custom version of HTTPConnection you can do something like this:

import where_the_custom_https_connection_lives
from vcr.stubs import VCRHTTPSConnection
my_vcr = config.VCR(custom_patches=((where_the_custom_https_connection_lives, 'CustomHTTPSConnection', VCRHTTPSConnection),))


Automatic Cassette Naming now allows the omission of the path argument to the use_cassette function. Both of the following are now legal/should work

def my_test_function():
def my_test_function():

In both cases, will use a path that is generated from the provided test function’s name. If no cassette_library_dir has been set, the cassette will be in a file with the name of the test function in directory of the file in which the test function is declared. If a cassette_library_dir has been set, the cassette will appear in that directory in a file with the name of the decorated function.

It is possible to control the path produced by the automatic naming machinery by customizing the path_transformer and func_path_generator vcr variables. To add an extension to all cassette names, use VCR.ensure_suffix as follows:

my_vcr = VCR(path_transformer=VCR.ensure_suffix('.yaml'))

def my_test_function():

Rewind Cassette allows to rewind a cassette in order to replay it inside the same function/test.

with vcr.use_cassette('fixtures/vcr_cassettes/synopsis.yaml') as cass:
    response = urllib2.urlopen('').read()
    assert cass.all_played
    assert not cass.all_played

Playback Repeats

By default, each response in a cassette can only be matched and played back once while the cassette is in use, unless the cassette is rewound.

If you want to allow playback repeats without rewinding the cassette, use the Cassette allow_playback_repeats option.

with vcr.use_cassette('fixtures/vcr_cassettes/synopsis.yaml', allow_playback_repeats=True) as cass:
    for x in range(10):
        response = urllib2.urlopen('').read()
    assert cass.all_played