When speaking about web scraping, it refers to extracting data from websites to improve your business processes. A web scraping tool analyzes the URLs given by you to collect data and present it in a feasible format (CSV, JSON, etc.) without coding.
When it comes to the reason for web scraping, it is usually done to find what works best for your competitors and then imitate or improve your business strategies. The most common one being eCommerce crawling. Online retailers use it for keyword research, find products, reviews, and pricing.
Most websites are aware of web scraping and will block your IP address if they think you are scraping their site. This makes it essential to buy proxies for web scraping. Proxies provide you with several IP addresses, making it easier to scrape the website without worrying about getting blocked. Even if the website blacklists an IP, the proxy will provide you a different one.
Best Tips for Web Scraping
Hence, you need to apply the best tactics for successful web scraping. Here are six tips to get the most from your web scraping efforts.
Use a Rotational Residential Proxy
Residential proxy equips you with IP addresses that are associated with internet service providers. These IPs point to a physical location, making the user seem legitimate. Zenscrape – rotating residential proxies can help you scrape data online.
Since websites use the number of HTTPS requests coming from a single IP to determine if someone is scraping their site, a rotational proxy is a must.
Rotational residential proxy changes your IP address every few minutes, making it look like there are multiple users on it. Thus, by using residential proxies, you can bypass the anti-scraping measures implemented by websites easily.
Reduce the Speed of Crawling
The primary reason people use web scrapers is that they are faster and can collect more information than humans in less time. But, the quicker the bot crawls, the easier it is to detect. Besides, if a website receives too many requests at once, it might become unresponsive.
By reducing the crawling speed, you will go undetected and can gather all the data you need. You can decrease the crawling speed by putting random programmatic sleep calls between requests. It is recommended to add a delay of 10-20 seconds after crawling a small number of pages.
Additionally, implement auto throttling mechanisms that automatically adjust the crawling speed based on the load on the spider and your target website.
Set and Rotate User Agents
A user agent is a tool that informs the website about which browser you are using. If you don’t set the user agent, the site will likely block your access.
Simultaneously, if every request is made from the same user agent constantly, it gets more accessible for the website to detect the bot.
This situation can be avoided by rotating user agents. It makes the website think multiple users are visiting from different locations and browsers.
Install Captcha Solvers
Captcha is one of the most common anti web scraping measures implemented by websites. If the user behavior seems suspicious, you are served captchas to solve.
In order to scrape data successfully, it is essential to use captcha solvers. They are relatively cheap and can pass the captcha test easily.
However, make sure to test the captcha solver before paying for it for the long-term. Most of the captcha solvers offer a free trial. Implement them to solve the captcha served by your target websites to measure their effectiveness.
Avoid Scraping if You Are Asked to Login
Logging into a website provides you access to specific web pages that are not visible to the public. The best example of it is Facebook. At most, you can view two-three posts without logging in (that too if you enter the posts’ link directly on the browser).
If the scraper is asked to log in, it will probably send requests to your browser cookies to try to get access to the page. This makes it easy for the website to identify requests coming from the same address, thereby increasing your chances of getting blocked. Therefore, it is recommended to stop scraping if you are required to log in.
Leverage Headless Browsers
Tools like Puppeteer and Selenium allow you to code and control a headless browser that imitates real user behavior.
It might seem like much work, but is one of the most effective web scraping techniques. But, since only the most advanced websites use this technology to detect web scrapers, you will need headless browsers when all the tactics mentioned above don’t work.
Web scraping helps businesses determine what’s working for their competitors and enables them to enhance their strategies. However, with websites implementing advanced technologies to prevent scraping, you need tried-and-tested approaches that increase your web scrapers’ effectiveness.
The six tips mentioned above can bypass almost every website’s anti-scraping measures and provide you the data you need. Happy Web Scraping!