Scaling Your Web Scraping Efforts Effectively

Should You Consider Scaling Your Web Scraping Efforts For Business?

Web scraping or harvesting is a helpful process for many businesses as it quickly provides access to vast amounts of public data. With access to this data, businesses can make informed decisions regarding various elements such as their pricing strategies, marketing, SEO and more. However, there’s a big difference between scraping websites now and again and relying on a lot of data daily. So, how can you effectively scale your scraping efforts?

In this article, we’ll look at scaling your web scraping efforts and why you might want to consider it for your business. We’ll also look at some of the challenges that come with scaling your efforts and how proxies can help overcome some of them.

We’ll cover the following topics related to scaling web harvesting processes:

  • Should you consider scaling your web scraping efforts?
  • What are the challenges of scaling your web scraping?
  • The role proxies play in scaling your web scraping

Should You Consider Scaling Your Web Scraping Efforts?

Scaling your web scraping efforts isn’t necessary for every situation. If your business only uses web harvesting once in a while to conduct some market research or check competitors’ prices, scaling your efforts might not be worthwhile. However, if you rely on a lot of data consistently, then you should consider scaling your efforts to manage a higher workload.

Some businesses, like aggregators, require consistent, accurate data to ensure the prices they list are relevant and correct. To do this, they need scrapers running all the time to ensure they catch any price fluctuations and adjust them accordingly. In these situations, you’d need to scale your web harvesting efforts to handle the numerous requests being sent.

Perhaps your business isn’t an aggregator but still relies on the collection of a lot of data. Maybe your company does market research for other businesses. Or perhaps you collect and sell data. In these cases, it might also be a good idea for you to scale your web harvesting efforts to ensure you can handle the collection of all the data you require.

The Challenges Of Scaling Your Web Scraping?

More and more websites are starting to put various techniques and anti-bot systems in place to protect their websites against malicious bots. Scraping tools are considered bots as they automatically collect the requested data across numerous websites without human intervention. As such, these measures can make it challenging for bots to gain access and collect information from the site.

Some challenges, prevention techniques and anti-bot systems include the following:

  • Complicated web page structures
  • IP blocking
  • Login requirement
  • Anti-spam honeypots
  • Time measuring detection
  • Securimage

This list might seem intimidating, and if you just try to scale your web harvesting without planning for these, you’ll very likely get stuck. Many of these challenges can be overcome if you have a proper scraping plan in place that prepares you for these hurdles.

The first thing you have to ensure is that you know what hurdles there are – that’s the only way you can prepare for them. You can then proceed to build your own web scraping tool (if you know a coding language). One of the benefits of building your own tool is that you can ensure your scraper is prepared for these challenges and that they’re able to overcome them.

If you don’t know coding or don’t have the time or money to invest in building and maintaining your scraper, many premium scrapers are already prepared for these types of hurdles. When looking at which scraper to choose, make sure you choose one that’s equipped to deal with these challenges. Unfortunately, free scrapers won’t be able to get the job done if you’re trying to scale your efforts. They’ll either have limitations, or they won’t have the features required to navigate these obstacles.

Another challenge you might experience when scaling your web harvesting efforts is the drain on system resources when launching a large number of requests every few minutes. Even though the bot doesn’t require human intervention and can run in the background, it still takes a lot of your computer’s resources, slowing down the system considerably. That’s why it’s recommended to have a separate computer that’s only used for web scraping. This way, it has all the resources required, but you and your employees can continue working without any drops in processing speed.

The Role Proxies Play In Scaling Your Web Scraping

Proxies will be an essential tool when you scale your web harvesting efforts. Using a reliable proxy alongside your scraper will enable it to collect higher-quality data while avoiding bans. However, any old proxy won’t do. You’ll need good-quality residential proxies with large IP pools and unlimited concurrent threads.

Something else to bear in mind is proxy management. When you’re launching hundreds of requests, managing the proxies for each one will be impossible without having a team dedicated to only that. That’s not the most efficient way to manage your proxies or scale your scraping efforts. Instead, you should consider rotating proxies that automatically change the IP with each new request. This will ensure you can continue collecting high-quality data efficiently without having to worry about IP bans or managing hundreds of different IPs for each request.

Final Thoughts

Web scraping has already proven to be a beneficial technique for collecting data for business purposes. However, when scaling your web harvesting efforts, there are a few things to consider, such as the challenge you need to face. By being aware of these challenges, you can ensure you have the right measures in place to overcome them and continue collecting high-quality public data.

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