Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects simply to a non-technical, business audience. Over…
Web scraping is the process of extracting data from a specific web page. It involves making an HTTP request to a website’s server, downloading the page’s HTML and parsing it to extract the desired data.
Web scraping is used for a variety of purposes, including:
Web scraping can be done manually, but if the process involves a large number of web pages, it is more efficient to use an automated web scraping tool like BeautifulSoup or Scrapy.
Web scraping may also be referred to as screen scraping, Web harvesting or Web data extraction.
Web scraping is an efficient way to retrieve information that has been posted on websites.
Web scraping can be executed manually or programmatically. Manual scraping is a useful approach for quick and simple data extraction tasks. Automated web scraping is better suited for large extraction tasks, but because it can put a significant load on website servers, some sites may block or limit the rate at which automated scraping tools can send requests.
Manual web scraping involves using a web browser’s developer tools to view and extract a web page’s source code.
Here are the basic steps:
Automated web scraping involves using scraping tools like Python scripts or Scrapy libraries to extract content from multiple web pages.
Web scraping is used for a variety of business purposes, including:
Data collection — collect data from multiple websites for market research and competitor analysis.
Content aggregation — gather information about content from multiple sources to populate a news feed.
Search engine indexing — crawl and index websites so end users can find information online.
Machine learning — build training datasets for machine learning models.
Price monitoring — monitor price changes on e-commerce websites.
Lead generation — collect corporate contact information, including email addresses and phone numbers.
Preventing website content from being scraped can be a challenging task because the process is so used widely for legitimate purposes, including search engine optimization (SEO). To reduce the risk of a site’s content being scraped for unauthorized or illegal purposes, publishers can use:
It’s worth noting that no single solution will completely prevent a website from being scraped. The best approach is often a combination of different techniques.
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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.
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