How to read a remote web page with ASP.NET 2.0

Two classes in the System.Net namespace make it very easy to obtain the html of a remote web page. These are the HttpWebRequest and HttpWebResponse. Here's a quick demo.

The static method below makes an http request for a web page, and the resulting string of html within the http response is captured and returned to the caller.


static string GetHtmlPage(string strURL)

  String strResult;
  WebResponse objResponse;
  WebRequest objRequest = HttpWebRequest.Create(strURL);
  objResponse = objRequest.GetResponse();
  using (StreamReader sr = new StreamReader(objResponse.GetResponseStream()))
    strResult = sr.ReadToEnd();
  return strResult;
Shared Function GetHtmlPage(ByVal strURL As String) As String

  Dim strResult As String
  Dim objResponse As WebResponse
  Dim objRequest As WebRequest = HttpWebRequest.Create(strURL)
  objResponse = objRequest.GetResponse()
  Using sr As New StreamReader(objResponse.GetResponseStream())
    strResult = sr.ReadToEnd()
  End Using
  Return strResult
End Function

And to call the method:

string TheUrl = "";
string response = GetHtmlPage(TheUrl);
Dim TheUrl As String = ""
Dim response As String = GetHtmlPage(TheUrl)

The HttpWebRequest object can be configured to supply header information. Most of the default values are null. For example, the User-Agent value is null, but can be set to anything you want. Cookies can also be "enabled" for the object through the CookiesContainer property, if required to maintain sessions.