Best Web Crawling Techniques
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Many businesses are turning to web scraping to increase revenue and stay competitive. Web scraping has become an irreplaceable tool for data access and analysis when enterprises want to compare prices, content, availability, reviews, or merchandise with other companies.
As an illustration, the ability to compare then lower or increase prices by a small margin can maintain competitiveness in the marketplace. It will boost not just sales but also loyalty amongst your customers. Companies with robust IT departments can write their web crawler and web scraping tools.
There are, however, easy to use web scraping and crawling tools for the less IT savvy. To succeed in real-time web scraping, you will require proxies to help you to bypass website restrictions that hamper smooth web scraping activities.
What is a proxy server?
A proxy or proxy server is a remote server that acts as an intermediary between your computer and the internet. When you connect your computer network to a proxy, the proxy not only veils your IP address but also rotates your connection, as is the case with rotating proxies.
While web scraping, websites will view the proxy server’s IP address rather than your own. You will then enjoy an anonymous internet experience, where your details such as your location remain private. Proxy servers are very beneficial in the web scraping business because most websites block scrapers to prevent web content stealing, spamming, and DDoS attacks.
If you, therefore, undertake web scraping without veiling your IP address, your computer will be blocked, restricting your access to that website. Web scrapers send many requests to one site simultaneously, generating highly suspicious traffic. One proxy address will not be sufficient to hide this activity.
This is why rotating web proxies are used in web scraping activities. The rotating proxies look like separate requests from different IP addresses and allow data scraping minus the risk of blacklisting. Proxies also permit your computer network to access geo-blocked content, highly beneficial activity for scraping data from e-commerce websites.
Different types of proxies
The main two classes of proxies are residential and data center proxies. Third-party providers offer data center proxies while residential proxies that are sold by internet service providers. Data center proxies are cheap and easy to access.
They are perfect for real-time web scraping or any other online activity that does not require inputting sensitive personal data such as credit card information. Their main advantages are that high-quality data center IPs offer high speeds and are affordable in bulk.
Unfortunately, their activities are easy to recognize since they do not have a real IP address. These proxies are, therefore, very prone to blacklisting, which renders them useless.
Unlike data center IPs sold off the internet by middlemen, residential proxies are sold by internet service providers. A residential IP is just like your computer’s IP, meaning that it is very authentic. These proxies are more expensive than their counterparts are and are harder to acquire.
Their main advantage is that websites do not easily detect them because they are valid IP addresses. They are, consequently, perfect for data scraping if you can access enough of them to use as rotating proxies.
Different types of web scraping tools
There are three main types of web scraping tools, classified by the mode of operation.
● Browser extensions
Browser extensions are perfect for minimal scraping activities. They work perfectly as web browser plugins and are easy to install. Once they are installed on your browser and enabled in your browser settings, they will scrape data and download it in a format of your choice. They are nevertheless slow scrapers because they perform their activities one page at a time.
● Web scraping software
There are many types of web scraping apps that are installed on a computer and configured by the user for the ultimate web scraping experience. These apps are perfect for medium-sized web scraping, and they can scroll more pages at a go than browser extension scrappers can.
● Cloud-based scraping tools
This is the ultimate web-scraping arsenal for broad data access, download, and analytics activities. They are cloud-based, meaning that they will not require your computer’s local resources to function.
All you need is to access their API after subscription payment and configurations. Cloud-based web scrapers run on a robust computing environment and do not have a cap as to the amount of data that they can scrape, unlike other solutions.
How web crawling/ scraping tools can benefit businesses
If your business requires web scraped data, then you need proxy solutions to aid data access. Some enterprises have native proxy management solutions for big data research. These in-house solutions are managed by the IT or technical team. The management oversees the purchase of and rotation of proxies.
Businesses that do not have or cannot afford in-house proxy management need to outsource these functions. There are varieties of proxy management solutions in the market that will access, manage, and rotate proxy for you and offer data scraping services as well.
Outsourced proxy management services come at a premium and have their risks. You need to ensure that you only work with reputable businesses that will not scrape data as per requests and not share it with your competitors.