What is web scraping
Web Scraping is the process to gather content and data from websites in large scale using bots.
These bots use multi-threading technique in software’s by which they can scrape multiple pages simultaneously. So that the data can be gathered in less time but that impact the website sometimes causing huge load on website traffic
These bots extract data from html code based on some predefined path of that html using xpath or some other way.
These web scraping can be used in many business cases. Some of them are listed below
1. Search engines first they crawl the data and then they index them and provides the result in search engine based on some input query. Google, bing and all the search engines used crawling to gather the data.
2. Social Media Content Scraping used to gather the information and then by this information we can analyses the views of public. For example, we have a product and many people are using that product and they have reviews of that product in social media. We can scrape those reviews and comments and by doing sentimental analysis we can get the actual feedback.
3. Email Scraping. Scraping emails from different platforms like Instagram, yelp, yellow pages. These emails are extracted by many lead generation tools along with the other information like phone number, company name, address etc. These scraped emails can be used for lead and promotional activities.
4. Price Monitoring. We can monitor the price of our products or competitor’s product available across the websites. And then we can set our pricing strategy based on the data we gathered from these bots. Many big companies use these price monitoring tool to check there competitors pricing and based on that they set they there pricing for their products
5. Real Estate Scraping. We can get the information of all the available properties across the website with information like pricing, size, amenities and the features. This data can be used by companies or individuals for various purposes
Scraping Bots and Tools
Web scraping bots and software are created in various programming languages like python, c#, java etc. and there are many libraries available to make this easier for developers.
They are built in a manner by which one can just select the website data that is needed and by doing some/low configuration they are ready to scrape the data.
Good Bots vs Bad Bots
Bot designer and developers should always first think that the business of the website should not impact. In some cases, bots generate heavy traffic to the website which impact the business of the website
Protecting from Bad Bots
IP Restriction . We can block the IP address based on the number of requests and the region for example if the website business is in USA and it is getting bot traffic from China then we can ban all the IP address of china region.
CAPTCHA We can use captcha’s so that it would be difficult for a bot to validate. Captcha are of different types. they can be text Image captchas, Image Animation Captchas , Google Recaptcha .Still to crack these some bots uses OCR to get the text information from the Image captchas. Some companies also provide manual work force to solve the captcha requests.
Behavior Analysis. We can block the user based on certain requests behaviors. For example In a web page we have a web API that is called from web page and if a bot is sending only request to the API and not for page and other resources like js , css than we can easily identify that these requests are coming from bots we can block them