In the age of technology, there is a growing aggressive need for data, and just like what Geoffrey Moore said: “Without big data, you are blind and deaf, and in the middle of a freeway.”

Most of us understand what big data is all about and how it works, but do we actually know what Big Data means? It is a massive collection of information gathered through a hard process using established methods or software. Basically, it is a large amount of both structured and non-structured data to use for specific tasks and purposes.

The arrival of big data has been famous because it impacted not just the research, scientific, and academic world, but also the individuals working in such industries.
With plenty of data, the question is how to find the data that is relevant to your needs and demands. This is not as simple as it might seem, but with the rising of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and human intelligence, we have reached an era were Web Crawling, and Web Scraping can do all of that for you.

Industries no longer use Crawling and Scraping as a mere complement to the business. They are now being used as crucial tools to assure the fast and progressive flow of work, methods to cut down costs, time and efforts, and most importantly, some companies are based solely to provide Crawling and Scraping tools just like Crawlbase (formerly ProxyCrawl). Both have similar but different meanings.

In simple terms, Crawling is extracting unstructured data, while Scraping is the gathering of structured and organized data.

What is Web Crawling?

Web Crawling, aka Indexing, is the process to locate knowledge on World Wide Web (WWW), index the information on the page using bots, also known as crawlers. Find and fetch web links from a list of seed URLs. Web Crawling crawls HTML, content on pages, style sheets, metadata, images, and more. For example, Crawling can be used to gather data from different social media platforms, data such as email addresses, phone numbers reviews over products from different websites, etc.

Web crawlers have many names such as web spiders, web robots, bots, and more. These names are all related to what they do - crawl the World Wide Web to index pages for search engines.

The most popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, MSN would necessarily need to look for lots of information and they use crawlers to do so. These search engines use the information crawled to index the web pages.

Web crawlers crawl billions of web pages or websites to generate the results that customers are looking for. As per changing user demand, web crawlers have to adapt to it as well.

Search Engine

What is Web Scraping?

Web Scraping, the demonstration of automatically downloading a page’s data extracted from sites to a new file format. The apparatus utilized for web scraping is known as web scrapers. Web Scrapers extract the content desired from a specific website, then demonstrate it in a structured manner that can then be used for analysis.

Applications of Web Scraping

  • Marketing and Sales: Lead Generation
    Collect contact details of businesses or individuals from websites like Yellow pages or LinkedIn. Details like e-mail addresses, phone, website URL, etc. can be easily extracted using a web scraper.

  • Retail/eCommerce: Gather data for Market Analysis, Price Comparison, Competition Monitoring

  • Machine learning: Collect information for testing/training, points, images, or files for bots.

  • Research: Gather structured data from multiple sources on the Internet with ease.

  • Recruitment: Collect data for available jobs and qualified candidates from people profiles, company websites or job sites. Some examples of data that can be obtained are: names, job status, location, phone numbers, company they work for, interests, etc.

  • Price Scraping: Prices of e-commerce/retail products can be scraped and used for competitor analysis. The details can be received as such name of the company, product details and features, number of items sold, prices, etc.

These data are gathered based on their availability publicly on the web and the sent request by the individual who wants to get them.

Crawling vs Scraping

Difference between Web Scraping and Web Crawling

Mostly Web crawling and web scraping are nearly close to each other and, to some extent, are similar. Let’s take a look for some of the difference between these two terms

Web ScrapingVSWeb Crawling
A tool used is Web ScraperVSA tool used is Web Crawler
Extraction of data from websites or web pagesVSIndexing, locate knowledge on the World Wide Web (WWW). Find and fetch web links
Can be done in both Small and Large ScaleVSMostly done in large scale
Needs Crawl agent and parserVSNeeds only crawl agent

Web crawling creates a copy of what’s there, finding and fetching web links. Web scraping extracts specific data and pulling the content from a web page to create something new. Web scraping can be done without web crawling. Web crawling involves some degree of web scraping to get the URL.

Proxy Provider for Web Scraping and Web Crawling

In short, Web scraping and web crawling are two different tools that work for the same purpose. This purpose is gathering the data present online and making use of it. Web scraping has a more structured and focused approach, while Crawling is more general and broader.

Crawling and scraping any websites is a challenging task. Sites have their protocols, and every visitor needs to follow those rules. They set standards like traffic limits, access time limit per visitor, one single client per IP address, and many more.

Crawlbase (formerly ProxyCrawl) is a perfect web crawling and scraping service for modern institutions. Crawlbase (formerly ProxyCrawl) has a lot of options for you to offer. We have Crawling API and Scraper API. Crawling API an API designed exclusively for Crawling. No need to worry about proxies, speed of proxies, number of IPs, bandwidth, location, residential or data center, if they are blocked or not. We also have a Scraper API that focuses on auto scraping and parsing HTML pages into structured data. Our easy and simple to use application will enable you to start working immediately.

Crawlbase (formerly ProxyCrawl) is accessible and handy with all the crawling and Scraping techniques, skilled and knowledgeable engineers behind your back. We will ensure excellent and satisfying results.

Crawlbase (formerly ProxyCrawl) Scraping