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5 tips on how to be successful when web scraping

No one can’t deny the fact that web scraping services are very important for all kinds of business and are very important for business growth. Nevertheless, many websites aren’t so keen on scraping and often can make web scraping tasks very difficult. But there are several tips on how to avoid this and be successful when scraping.

1.Choosing the right web scraping tool

Web scraping can benefit you only when it is automated. For that, you should look for the best web scraping tool that would meet your needs as well as you would be able to work with it. You can find many web scraping tools in the market but these still remain the best:

  • Scrapy — Scrapy is a free web scraping tool and available for anyone. Even though Scrapy was originally designed for web scraping, it can also be used to extract data using APIs or as a general-purpose web crawler.
  • Parsehub — Parsehub can be your gateway into scraping. There’s no need to know any coding — just launch a project, click on the information that needs to be collected and let Parsehub do the rest. This is why this tool is very useful for those who just started web scraping and don’t have much knowledge of programming. Nevertheless, this tool is pretty advanced and can complete various difficult web scraping tasks.
  • Octoparse — Octoparse is a free and powerful web scraper with comprehensive features. The point and click user interface allow you to teach the scraper how to navigate and extract fields from a website.

2. Use rotating proxies

Rotating proxy servers are the type of proxy server that changes IP addresses randomly. If the proxy server has a lot of proxies in its pool, its users can be sure that their connection requests are less noticeable. The best rotating proxy servers have a lot of residential proxies, which do not share a subnetwork.
Here are some providers that you can check for rotating proxies:

  • Smartproxy — over 40 million IPs in the pool, fast and affordable services with many locations to choose from. Their proxies are really great solution when scraping and you can always get a discount when purchasing them with the code SMARTPRO;
  • Luminati — one of the biggest proxy providers, but also one of the most expensive ones out there. Nevertheless, they offer great quality services and can be a great choice.
  • PacketStream — over 7 million IPs and proxies from many countries around the world, but no city targeting solution. Despite that, they have very competitive prices and can meet many customers’ needs.

3. Always use User-Agent

This is something that is very important but not so often mentioned when it comes to web scraping. When using User-Agent you are actually helping yourself to hide and if you use rotating proxies as well, it makes it more difficult for the website to detect you and block your IP as well as preventing you from data gathering.

4. Use Headless Browser if needed

Many websites have content rendered by Javascript, and therefore unavailable to scrape directly from the raw HTML. The only way to do it is by using a headless browser. The headless browser will process the Javascript and render all the content. We call it headless because there is no graphical user interface. This is an advanced way to simulate a human user, as the scraper visits and parses the page as if it were using a regular browser.

5. Set random intervals between requests
This is very important because if you send 1 request every second, you will be noticed in no time at all since that reveals automatic actions online. Normal human beings don’t act like that online and if you want to be successful when scraping, you need to imitate natural human activity online. For that, you should randomize the time between the requests you’re sending (it can be between 2–10 seconds).

Hopefully, these tips will help you when scraping various websites and using gathered data for your business. Many of those tips can make your web scraping experience better and make all the process way faster and definitely safer.

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