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5 Effective Web Scraping Tips And Tricks

Web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites automatically. If used well, it can be a lifesaver. It allows you to collect data and use it in another way.  

The process may sound easy, but there are actually a number of pitfalls that you might run into that can lead to unsatisfactory results or worse, leave you facing legal problems.  

In this article, we’re going to discuss a couple of effective web scraping tips to get the most out of it.

Use The Right Tool

There are countless web scrapers you can choose from today, and each of them come with a unique set of features. It’s vital that you know what type of data you intend to extract before choosing a scraper. It is to avoid wasting your money on an option that doesn’t have come with features and functions that you’re looking for.   

It is why it’s necessary that you have a full understanding of the type of data you should be collecting before purchasing a web scraping tool.

Keep Changing The Proxy

Using a proxy is one of the most common and effective web scraping methods that’s been used around the world. It is used to prevent your real IP from getting blocked and access region-constricted websites.  

The first thing that the anti-scraping system does is to check your IP address. If the website detects that you’re scraping information, you’ll end up on their IP address blocked from that site. But if you buy a proxy from a proxy seller, you can enter the website again because you’ll be using a different IP address.   

You may also want to use premium proxies from this SOCKS5 proxy list to enjoy more benefits, such as the ability to bypass geographical restrictions and scrape from more impenetrable websites such.

Respect The Website

Another effective web scraping tip is to pay attention to the website you’re going to collect data from. Before you scrape a website, take some time to read its robots.txt file to see which pages you can or can’t scrape. And sometimes, it also includes information about how many times you can scrape the particular website.  

Aside from respecting the website, you should also show respect to other users visiting the site. Intensively scraping a website can put a load on its host server, which causes the site to lag.

Respecting a website is a scraping courtesy that you should always observe to avoid getting blocked.

Don’t Act Like A Robot

Web scraping is an extremely rapid process if you know how to do it right. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The rapid pace of scraping data mimics the actions of a robot. Humans can’t possibly parse through hundreds of pages within a matter of seconds. Only a robot (in this case, a software) can do it.  

Websites can tell the nature of a visitor by examining a number of parameters such as speed of browsing. If your scraping tool goes through a hundred web pages at an inhuman pace, you could be suspected of being a robot, and your IP will be blocked as a result.  

The best way to prevent this is to make random pauses as you scrape. It will prevent the website from recognizing you as a robot.

Don’t Scrape If You’re Asked To Log In

Don’t Scrape If You’re Asked To Log In

What if the data you need is hidden behind a login page? It is particularly true when scraping from social media platforms. It’s true that you can still scrape a few contents without logging in, but it’s going to require more labor. It’s also not ideal if the data you want to collect is only visible if you’re part of a group or friends list. In this case, you’ll need to log in and unfortunately, that comes with some problems.  

By logging onto a website, for example Facebook, you can access certain web pages that are not accessible to the public. The problem with logging in is that Facebook will send requests to access your website browser cookies as you try to access their web pages. This process makes it easier for you to be detected and increases your chances of getting blocked. As such, you need to stop scraping if you’re asked to log in. 

Final Thoughts

Web scraping is very helpful. Unfortunately, websites are now integrating anti-bot technologies to prevent you from scraping. But with the help of these tips, you should be able to increase your web scraping effectiveness without facing any trouble.

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