Web Scraping Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is Web scraping?

Web Scraping, web harvesting, screen scraping, or web data extraction is data scraping that is used to extract data from websites. The process saves data to a local file or to a database in spreadsheet format. Collecting data from multiple websites, which could be quite tedious if done manually is automated through web scraping so as improve the efficiency and volume of data extraction.

What is the best web scraping tool?

The feasibility and use of any web scraping tool depend on the kind of website that it is scraping and its complexity. Web scraping tools generally fall in the categories of tools that you install on your computer or in your computer’s browser (Chrome or Firefox) and services that are self-servicing. Web scraping tools (free or paid) and self-service websites/applications can be a good choice if your data requirements are small, and the source websites aren’t complicated.

What is Web scraping/screen scraping used for?

Web scraping has a variety of applications in a data-driven world. It aids in the creation of alternative data and market research documents, price monitoring, human capital optimization, robotic process automation, and almost every other field. Web scraping is used largely by investment and hedge fund firms to make financial projections and calculations.

Is Web scraping legal?

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Is violating the terms of use or service of a website illegal?

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Is Web scraping data mining?

Web scraping and data mining are two different concepts, though they have common areas of application. Data mining is a process of identifying or discovering patterns from large data sets. It contains three main areas: Content mining, usage mining and structure mining.

Web scraping is a kind of content mining, where useful or required information is collected from websites using automated code structures.

What is Web scraping using Python?

Python is a high-level programming language that has a design philosophy which emphasizes code readability. Python is the most popular and most widely used programming language for web scraping. It can handle most of the web scraping requirements smoothly. Beautiful Soup and Scrapy are the most widely used web scraping frameworks based on Python and provide the most robust system for extracting data even from complicated websites.

What is the difference between Web Crawling and Web Scraping?

Web scraping and web crawling are related concepts. Web scraping, like we already mentioned in the process of automatically requesting a web document or page and extracting data from it. On the other hand, web crawling is the process of locating information on the web, indexing all the words in a document, adding them to a database and then following all hyperlinks and indexes and then adding this information to a database. Hence web scraping, in fact, requires some degree of web crawling skills.

What is a Web crawler and how does it work?

A web crawler often called a spider, spiderbot or crawler is a piece of code that systematically browses the web to index information that can be extracted from websites.

A web crawler begins with a list of URLs to visit, called the seeds. It then identifies all major hyperlinks in the page and adds them to the list of URLs to be visited. They are then visited recursively according to a list of pre-set policies. The crawler archives and saves information as it goes and is preserved as snapshots.

What is crawling in SEO?

Crawling in SEO is extracting data about a website. In this process, search engines crawlers/spiders or bots collect details about each page including titles, images, keywords, and other linked pages. It is through this indexing that a search engine can return results that pertain to a search phrase or keyword that you enter.

Is Google a web crawler or webscraper?

Google search is both a web crawler and a web scraper. Google’s crawler is known as Googlebot. Through crawling and scraping of data, Googlebot discovers new and updated pages to add to Google search index.

What does Web research mean?

Internet or web search is a practice of using information that is available on the web to make clever and feasible interpretations. Web scraping aids internet research since it makes extraction and compilation of huge amounts of data easily possible. It is something you are probably doing right now !

What is meant by Data Harvesting?

Data harvesting is the process in which a script or program is used to automatically extract large amounts of data from a website. The process is quite similar to web scraping, but could sometimes involve the use of complex statistical algorithms.

What is a robots.txt file?

robots.txt is a text file that is used by websites to let crawlers, bots or spiders know if and how a website should be crawled as specified by the website owner. Many sites might not allow crawling or might limit extraction from them. It is critical to understand the robots.txt file in order to prevent getting banned or blacklisted while scraping.

Can you scrape Linkedin?

Yes. It is possible to extract publicly available data and listings from LinkedIn. However, since Microsoft has acquired LinkedIn, it has taken a stricter approach to allowing access to the profile data that goes beyond the wishes of the people who entered their data on LinkedIn and as a result in the latest legal ruling the judge ruled against LinkedIn.

The summary can be read at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) website.

Can you scrape Google?

In lesser amounts, yes. But Google generally automatically block your IP address after you exceed a certain number of results.

What is Beautiful Soup in Python?

Beautiful Soup is a Python library that pulls out data from HTML and XML files. It engages with your parser to create idiomatic ways of navigating, searching, modifying and processing the parse trees. It saves time and resources by making this process smooth for programmers.

What is social scraping?

Many social media platforms and channels such as Twitter and Facebook allow crawlers and scrapers to extract data from their websites. This could also include blogs, news sites and other generic channels that yield user generated content in the form of unstructured data that is only accessible through the web.

Can you scrape data from Twitter?

Accessing historical data from social media feeds can be quite useful in conducting sentiment analysis and understanding user behavior towards an event, product or statement. With the right infrastructure, advanced search result data can be scraped based on keywords or time frame, which makes this feature immensely useful for market research.

Turn the Internet into meaningful, structured and usable data