Web scraping is the act of creating an agent that can automatically scrape, parse, and download data from the web. Extracting small websites usually cause a scraping problem. In the case of larger or complex websites like Linkedin and Google, there is a high possibility of getting rejected requests and even getting IP blocked. Hence it is crucial to be aware of the web scraping strategies that let you scrape websites without getting blocked.
Web scraping is a technique with massive benefits as more companies move towards a data-driven approach. The benefits and reasons for using web scraping are many; some of the essential usages of web scraping is following:
E-commerce: Web scrapers can extract data from numerous e-commerce websites, particularly data relating to the pricing of a given product; for comparison and analysis, these data assist firms in putting strategies in place and planning ahead of time based on data trends. On the other hand, manually keeping track of prices is not viable.
Lead Generation: Lead generation is vital for a company; without new leads to fuel your sales funnel, you won’t attract clients and develop your company. Most businesses’ usual way is to buy leads from one of the many sites selling targeted leads. Scraping competitor websites, social media, and company directories with web scraping helps firms generate new leads.
A proxy server is a type of router that acts as a connection between users and the internet. It is a virtual address assigned to your computer to transfer, receive data and authenticate your device. Every time you browse the internet, this IP address sends the relevant data to your computer. A proxy server is an internet server that has its IP address. Whenever you make a web request, it first goes to the proxy server, which requests on your behalf, gets the data, and redirects you to the web page to connect with it.
If you try to scrape the web with the same IP address, there is a high possibility that the web-server detects your IP address and block you; to avoid this, you will have to change your IP address each time you make a request. Rotating proxies are the best solution for this as it assigns a new IP address from its pool of proxies. The objective of applying the rotating IPs technique is to make it appear as a human accessing the website from various locations across the world rather than a bot.
Although tons of free proxies are accessible, many come with several drawbacks, including collecting data and poor performance. Furthermore, since many individuals use these free proxies, they have already been labelled or blocked. Alternatively, you can pay for a proxy service that can give you privacy, security, and high performance and allow you to scrape websites without getting blocked.
Slowing the scraping is an intelligent way to do it. The scraping bots that are automated work faster than humans. Web scraper-defeating software can identify such speeds as those of a non-human visitor. It is not a good idea to send many requests to a website in a short period. Allow for some breathing room between them. You can imitate human behavior by adding delays between the requests to avoid scraper blocking and scrape websites without getting blocked.
Use a headless browser
It is simple for a website to link a request to a genuine user. It’s simple to recognize and define a request by looking at its fonts, cookies, and extensions. Websites, of course, can recognize browsers and spot the scrapers. The best solution to avoid this is to use a customized headless browser. A headless browser is a browser where we cannot see anything on the screen. The program runs in the backend, and nothing appears on the screen.
A headless browser protects fonts, cookies, and other personally identifiable information. Thus, websites will receive your requests but not attach them to you or your device. A headless browser hides the fonts, cookies, and another user’s identifiable information; hence the website will get your requests but not associate them with your device.
A user-agent is a string in an HTTP request header that identifies the browsers, apps, or os that connect to the server. Each browser has its user-agents other than these bots, and crawlers like Googlebot Google AdSense, also have user-agent. If you make a lot of requests with the same user agent, you can get blocked. It’s essential to change your user agent frequently to get around barriers and continue scraping. Create several user agents and set up automatic switching to scrape websites without getting blocked.
Most websites use captchas to force crawlers and even real users to solve them at least once before considering them as trusted users. Solving captchas is the most common approach to get around practically all anti-scraping measures.
Luckily, third parties can solve captchas by API at a specified cost. All you have to do is register with them, pay, and follow their instructions to solve captchas.
Through saving and utilizing cookies, you can get around a lot of anti-scraping protection. Usually, captcha providers keep cookies once you complete a captcha. After you use the cookies to make requests, they don’t check whether you’re an authentic user or not, so saving cookies is a great way to bypass ant scraping measures and scrape websites without getting blocked.
If you need to sign in to a webpage, the scraper will submit information or cookies for each page request. As a result, they’ll be able to tell whether you’re using a scraper immediately, and your account will be blocked; hence it is not advisable to scrape data behind the login.
A honeypot is a safety measure that sets up a simulated trap for attackers to fall into. Websites use honeypot traps to detect and prevent malicious web scraping. The honeypots traps are links installed in HTML that are invisible for regular users, but the web scrapers can catch them. The websites use this trap to detect and block the web scrapers, so it is vital to see whether the website is using this trap while scraping; make sure your scraper only follows the visible links.
Scraping website data from Google’s cached copy is another solution to scrape websites without getting blocked. If you try to access a blocked website directly, your request will be rejected. Using Google’s data copy to scrape web pages affects how you access them. Although it isn’t a perfect solution, it works for most websites.
Websites generally have distinct patterns and themes, leading your scrapers to fail if the website owner decides to change the layout as it is tricky to scrape several designs. To ensure that your web crawler is effective when the website changes its structure, you must identify these changes with your web scraper and develop an ongoing monitoring solution.
Web scraping indeed brings various challenges, but one can overcome all and scrape websites without getting blocked with proper strategy. Moreover, it is advisable to use a web scraping tool for your data extraction need, which comes with IP rotation, CAPTCHA solving and prevents you from getting blocked. Crawlbase (formerly ProxyCrawl) is one such tool you must check to extract thousands of websites without getting blocked.