How to Choose the Best Scraping API for Your Needs
Valentina Dumitrescu on May 31 2021
Nowadays, businesses breathe in the age of big data. Hence, companies need to understand now more than ever that to ground an ambitious, competitive advantage, data harvesting is essential.
Tag along to discover what you need to know before choosing a data extraction tool that can empower your business or project. But first, let’s start with a brief explanatory part of the most important terms when it comes to web scraping.
With efficient and effortless data harvesting, here comes web scraping and APIs
Many see web data gathering as a scary process that requires advanced technological expertise and a giant tech stack. In reality, there are a few ingenious, efficient and quite easy ways to collect large amounts of data in no time. The public’s most valuable candidate is web scraping.
What is web scraping?
Scenario: Regardless of your occupation or field of activity, let’s say you need to obtain a considerable quantity of data from various websites. What do you do? Go!
One possibility could be to review each website and manually cut and paste every piece of information required. Or better yet, you could assign a web scraper to do all the heavy lifting.
By a general definition, web scraping is a faster and more convenient method of extracting data from a website or particular webpage.
After the data is collected, it is usually converted into a more handy format, such as an Excel spreadsheet.
What is an API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It refers to a series of procedures and communication protocols that enable users to access data stored in a program, operating system, or other facilities.
The main reason to use an API is to make it easier to develop new programs that use the same data.
For instance, a news aggregator might build an API that would enable other developers to access their data set and do whatever they wanted with it, such as create a news app, blog or research studies.
Web scraping using an API: what are the advantages?
Because it is a more sophisticated and customisable method, a web scraper will definitely save you lots of time by collecting data at a vaster volume than an individual could ever dream of achieving.
The business decision-making process empowers a significant impact on a company’s future in the market. Generating new ideas often requires additional measures, such as facts and evidence about competition, user reviews and the market landscape.
Web scraping is essentially an invaluable decision-making tool for gathering the knowledge demanded to support management in making wise and outstanding decisions.
Unique and rich datasets
The volume of data one can receive from the Internet is tremendous, such as text, images, videos and numerical data of any kind. Using a web scraper system, you can create custom datasets for analysis, depending on your goal.
All this vital information gathered with a web scraper might have a great impact on business growth. The main areas where such a process is highly appreciated are:
- Price and Products Optimization
- Brand Monitoring
- SEO Activities
- Financial Data
- Travel Fare Aggregation
- HR & Recruitment
- Real Estate
Must-have data extraction features
As the popularity of this genius data and information extraction grows, some companies are also trying their best to keep blocking scrapers to obtain their data with no fuss.
Therefore, finding the best web scraper suited for your needs can be a delicate task. You should know which advantages the chosen software should possess, and to do that, you need to be aware of the most common problem a web scraper usually encounters:
Detection: Websites can distinguish web crawlers from real users by tracking a browsers’ activity, checking the IP address, setting honeypots, attaching CAPTCHAs, or even restricting the request rate.
The following list aims to help you paint a reliable overview of the most charming attributes a Web-Scraper-Prince should have to prevent being noticed and blocked.
1. A strong proxy pool
Because a scraper can visit a website a hundred times per day, it may trigger scraper identification software to flag inappropriate browsing behaviour, resulting in an IP ban.
Therefore, it would be most beneficial to use a proxy server to keep your scraper anonymous by keeping the original IP address hidden.
A proxy serves as a go-between for you and the Internet. When you use a proxy server, the request is filtered through the proxy server first (changing your IP address) and only after it reaches the website.
A strong proxy pool is an essential feature that manages to prevent getting banned quickly by intelligently rotating the IPs used for requests.
Choosing the right type of proxy is only the tip of the iceberg. Even though by using a proxy the probability of being detected is comparatively low, the threat still exists. Therefore, the quality of a proxy pool can be determined by how often you get caught.
Residential IP Proxy: For those who want to make sure they never get blocked, a residential IP proxy is the best fit. This proxy type comes only with legitimate IP addresses that will make it look like a real person is browsing the website, keeping bot detectors calm and unaware.
Mobile IPs: As proxies work as a “tunnel” between web scrapers and websites, the mobile proxy protects the web scraping bot’s IP address and location, allowing it to resemble an anonymous individual. Moreover, proxies defend the scraper by making it look like the requests are coming from a mobile device.
Datacenter IPs: Datacenter IPs is the usually recommended solution for most cases. What makes it a good option is that it provides the best results at the lowest cost. These IPs offer comparable results to residential proxies or mobile IPs but without legal concerns.
2. Geolocation options
Around the globe, geotargeting allows you to access geo-restricted content. If you wish to gather information from a website that grants content targeted for the UK public only, a proxy server will cover that. You can also choose any location of your preference if offered by your selected proxy service.
3. Rotating proxies
One of the most effective ways to protect your scraper from getting blocked is to use rotating proxies. This approach offers you a consequential collection of IPs to scrape. By performing so, it will prevent sending too many requests using the same IP address.
5. Anti-fingerprinting measures
A fingerprint is all the data a website can gather about your web browser and computer. Trust us. There is more information than you might imagine. And even if you address your browser fingerprint, websites might still manage to identify you as the same user.
To help bypass bot detection, you will need to have an individual fingerprint discoverable by the website for every visitor you are trying to create.
The only task left for you: decide what suits you best
No one could argue that choosing the best web scraping API for your particular needs can be a confusing process, even for tech-heads. We hope that this guide helped you to create a reliable overview of what you should be looking for in a web scraper.
However, if you think you need extra information, we recommend 10 Best Web Scraping APIs. This article will help you decide on the ideal web scraping services provider for all your web scraping desires, based on each advantage we briefly named in this one.
Gather the correctly filtered information for your web scraping projects right now!