Web scraping is a contentious internet activity loved by many but loathed by others. Nevertheless, it is an activity that underpins some principles of the internet.
Web scraping can be used to search, analyze, and index online data. It helps to perform companies better by adjusting competitive prices, doing market research, SEO monitoring, and much more. These activities can help businesses in planning their marketing and pricing strategies and also help consumers to save some cash on purchases by scraping internet data for the best deals.
Simply put, data scraping is a simplified method of grabbing online content from web pages. It is not hacking when it does not go beyond ethical boundaries, as some people falsely believe.
With it, you can access data from your browser and easily bypass API and database requirements. The alternative to web scraping is manual copying and pasting, which is not feasible for big data.
A manual process is costly and makes the data mining unfeasible. So, rather than hire workers to copy and paste, businesses employ programs instead, to web scrape, and perform automated queries with lighting speeds.
Legitimate uses of web scraping
- Manufacturing and retail
Retail businesses and manufacturers use web scrapers to perform price monitoring to keep their pricing strategies more competitive. Since prices change regularly, it is quite impossible to track them manually. With a rotating IP, a retailer can extract product prices and update their strategy in real-time.
Retailers can also use the data collection process to access different product descriptions and images. This increases brand protection by highlighting copyright infringement activities. They also use web scrapers to monitor consumer sentiment by reviewing feedback and reviews.
- Financial research
Financial researchers mine their insights from vast news sources. It is impossible to manually access every online magazine, newsletter, or news article for information. They, therefore, use web scrapers to extract prized inputs for actionable feedback. This process can also give valuable data in equity research and help to guide a business’s investment decisions.
- Real-time data analytics
Unlike batch analytics, real-time analytics produce insights on command. Such timely data is invaluable for financial institutions that require credit extension data on their fingertips. Real-time data can also save point of sale fraud in retail stores. Web scraping can also help to forecast probabilities in predictive analysis.
- Sales, marketing and product applications
Sales and marketing strategies such as data-driven content marketing require web scraping for insights from different online platforms. Content marketers will, for instance, scrape for data on social media and blogs to help them to create engaging content. This process can also enhance lead generation and SEO monitoring.
- Reputation monitoring
Web scraping can extract customer reviews and sentiments from online platforms to help you to understand your customer’s view of your brand. The insights mined from these reviews can forge your reputation and brand monitoring strategy. The process can also help to protect a business with private proxies that provide email protection.
Why websites prevent web scraping
There are bad use cases of web scraping accomplished by bad bots that fetch data for nefarious activities such as online fraud and competitive data mining. They are also used to perform DDoS attacks, hijack identity, and intellectual property theft amongst a horde of other fraudulent activities.
Data shows that these malpractices constitute almost 20% of all online traffic. Nevertheless, good bot web scraping is a legal, affordable, and powerful method of data collection.
Why proxies are necessary to prevent IP blocks
Web scraping requires the use of proxy servers. Proxies act as gateways between your computer and the internet. When you have a functioning proxy on your computer network, it will effectively mask your IP address when online.
Proxies will direct all your browser queries to their servers first, before directing them to the queried website. The website that your internet connection is accessing will, consequently, view the proxy server’s IP address. This action will help to protect your identity from hackers or trackers and keep your business data safe.
Top ways how to scrape websites without blocking
If you are going to perform web-scraping activities, you will require a proxy server and multiple IPs. If not, websites will ban an IP that sends too many queries from irrelevant geo-locations, from the same browser or high-risk sources.
Private proxies with a rotating IP function will effectively mask your web scraping activities since they resemble genuine and trustworthy IP activity. Also, with IP rotation, proxy servers can mask your identity and prevent IP banning. For web scraping services use proxy servers that provide a rotating IP function. To have IP rotation explained to you, dig in deeper to the web.
Use of VPN
Virtual private networks provide an efficient way of masking IP addresses and evading website blacklisting. There are various VPN services for all types of devices, and they are instrumental in protecting sensitive personal data.
How a VPN protects your IP address and privacy?
VPNs basically make an information burrow between your local network and a exist hub in another area, which could be a large number of miles away, causing it to appear as though you’re in somewhere else. This advantage permits online opportunity, or the capacity to get to your most loved applications and sites while in a hurry.
Here’s a more critical glance at how a virtual private system functions. VPNs use encryption to scramble information when it’s sent over a Wi-Fi organize. Encryption makes the information garbled. Information security is particularly significant when utilizing an open Wi-Fi arrange, in light of the fact that it forestalls any other individual on the system from listening in on your web movement.
The TOR search engine is a privacy advocate and is designed to prevent online surveillance and allow anonymity. Tor is free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication.
Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult to trace Internet activity to the user: this includes “visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms”.
Tor’s intended use is to protect the personal privacy of its users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities unmonitored.
The use of web proxies with a rotating IP ability is one of the easiest ways to perform web scraping. They provide affordable and easily accessible technology that will mine all the data that you need while enhancing your online privacy and protection.