Choosing a web parser explained by a trusted proxy website
Contents of article:
- Web scrapers explained by a provider of geo targeted proxies
- Competitive leverage sought after
- Goals achieved with web data scrapers and geo targeted proxies
- 7 musts of a great web scraper
- Summary of a web parser selection process
Identifying a matching web scraper for data harvesting efforts might be exacting and even dispiriting. There are many solutions available on the market, and each is highlighted as the best option by creators. As a trusted proxy website that offers geo targeted proxies across 100+ countries at affordable prices, Dexodata is regularly asked by users a simple question. People want to know more about web scrapers to use with our proxies, including proxies for social networks. Luckily, there are 7 properties that help evaluate a web scraper. After that, new users can start a private proxy free trial with us and make the most of a web scraper.
Legal and legit web scraping means extracting publicly available information from pages. It can be divided into two types. This is how Dexodata sees the dividing line, while running the pool of geo targeted proxies.
First, non-automatic scraping efforts imply manual techniques, i.e. when one simply copies words and figures and pastes all this info in a data set. Obviously, there are also many disadvantages of manual approaches. No matter how dependable, for instance, proxies for social networks might be, users will still face:
- Inevitable mistakes caused by human error, e.g. typos or info that is mis-pasted in a mismatching cell.
- Absence of bulletproof processes to transfer and submit data to Product Information Management team members. As common practice indicates, it always occurs ad hoc.
- Manual scraping is a monotonous, and demotivating thing.
- If data is frequently scraped, more time is spent on manual techniques in comparison with a purchased or in-house engineered scraper.
Second, automated scraping relies on specifically developed programs. This software sends a request to a page, receives data, and structures it for storage. Any web scraper is a piece of software engineered to execute and run an extracting command specified by its script.
First, web scrapers forward automated HTTP and HTTPS to pages. Second, servers respond to queries by sending the data requested. After that, the parsing stage is initiated. This phase decodes and interprets this info obtained in HTML files, with batches of unstructured and amorphous data. A decent and reliable web scraper is to be able to structure and save this data in CSV or JSON files. Dexodata, as a trusted proxy website and owner of a pool of top-notch geo targeted proxies, knows this well.
Data harvesting enabled by bots is not uncommon. As early as in 2013, almost 61% of the web traffic, in its totality, was estimated to be generated by bots. So not a single person will be surprised by a bot.
There exist multiple ways to obtain a web scraper:
- Browser extensions for Chrome or Opera. They are not hard to get and use, however, do not expect IP rotation, and it is possible to scrape just a single page at a time. With Chrome, for instance, there is an opportunity to try an entire range of extensions available with their store.
- Cloud-based scraper running on an external server and capable of processing large amounts of data. Geo targeted proxies are a must in this context. As for a list of proxy options, it includes many tools, e.g. Dexodata, known for our high efficiency of IP rotation, multiple proxy time, and almost universal uptime. Learn more about these aspects and the ecosystem in general in the F.A.Q. section;
- Scrapers based on installed software (such programs may differ, however, it is certainly a dying type no matter what);
- Scrapers developed on your own.
If one is really going to code their own scraper, then, in the opinion of Open Data Science Conference, these are the TOP-5 picks to develop a proprietary scraper:
- Python is called the best choice owing to its capability to use variables, instantly available libraries, simple syntax, a framework based on “small code, big task”, and ever-growing community;
- Ruby with its stressed ability to process broken code fragments;
- Good old C++ seen as a dependable remedy to parsing and storage due to its object-oriented nature;
- Finally, Java can be a way to go when complex scraping is not needed.
The data scraper of choice must provide an impetus. Our recommendation, as a trusted proxy website, would be to double check whether it is capable of serving in terms of:
- Saving time, as getting vast data sets within a short space of time not only boosts productivity, but also enables users to allocate time and resources to more meaningful and less monotonous efforts;
- More adequate pricing based on real time access to rivals’ data. If a company gets this info in a speedy fashion, it is possible to react almost immediately with coupons, discounts, and adjustments;
- Trend identification capabilities that empower businesses to comprehend what people really want right now;
- AI-potential, as artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms constantly need new enormous volumes of data;
- Precision and data-driven accuracy needed to customize corporate websites, social media pages, and product offerings.
Typically, law-abiding companies using data scrapers (Dexodata collaborates with them exclusively, with all KYC and AML policies in place) seek to find:
- Retail prices in e-commerce domains (both minor online stores and such giants as Amazon, eBay, and Shopify do so). The rationale in this case is to compare one's company with rivals and make sure current prices are more palatable to boost sales. It is also feasible to react not only in a reactive, but in a proactive fashion, as well to identify patterns in advance and shape an effective pricing policy.
- Social networks data, concerning trendy hashtags, stats, skills, etc. It provides a company with knowledge of audience engagement rates, trending sentiments, overall attitudes, and everything else needed to promote businesses in this segment. Please note that, due to the might of social networks, specialized programs must be employed, e.g. Dripify and Snov.io for LinkedIn, as well as Apify for all such major networks as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Beyond doubt, being a highly-rated provider of proxies for social networks, Dexodata is a top choice for complex initiatives in this area.
- Reselling (exemplified by sneakers). Limited collections of sneakers, that are always in short supply, sought after, and popular and expensive, are a real goldmine for e-commerce or m-commerce initiatives, if they are updated properly about their release, prices, and availability. Decent web scrapers help buy them on time and at cheap prices to resell to fans later.
What data can be legally scraped on social networks (now):
1. Profile-related data, including usernames, URLs, profile picture address, info concerning followers and the followed ones, reactions and subjects of interest.
2. Post-related data covering the time of posts, their location, reactions, views, and comments left. In addition, addresses of texts and associated media can be scrapped.
Twitter makes it possible to grab such sets as trending keywords and hashtags, tweets associated with given profiles, and info that includes short bios, as well as followers and the followed ones.
There, users are able to get data concerning posts, friends, and URLs posted there. Also, comments (data, address, likes) and hashtags can be obtained.
- Stock market data encompassing trends, price dynamics, investment opportunities, and even projections.
- SEO-related info, when scraped properly, will give leverage to propel the performance of websites to new heights, as one will be familiar with keywords, titles, meta titles and descriptions, links, search trends, etc.
- Travel fare aggregation and other marketing research activities which are always geo-dependent. The case is that airline ticket prices, hotel booking rates, as well as many other offerings differ across various locations. By identifying the most cost-effective option, it is possible to capitalize on it by using a proxy.
To obtain this data, one inevitably requires a trustworthy data scraper. Here is a checklist provided by Dexodata for greater convenience:
Compatibility with rotating proxies. Such an intermediary link working between users and websites of interest is necessitated by sites’ anti-scraping safeguards. They will mask real IPs by rotating IP addresses linked with relevant geos. Sites do not like to be scraped, so harvesting is virtually impossible without proxies. As for Dexodata, a truly popular and trusted proxy website, our team is fully prepared to provide geo targeted proxies, including proxies for social networks. Any new user is entitled to start with a private proxy free trial.
Characteristics of a web scraper needed for succesful job
Web crawler. Any workable scraper should also feature a crawler. It is a special bot that “travels” across the Web and finds new sites and web pages. In this capacity, it fulfills its mission before the harvesting session begins. Its mission is to identify data to be scrapped.
CAPTCHA-solving capability. CAPTCHAs and reCAPTCHAs are popular mechanisms used to distinguish real visitors from bots and scraping activities. Unless solved, these puzzles will not grant any access. That is why a CAPTCHA-solving feature is mandatory to resolve this issue.
Auto-Retry and scheduled bulk scraping. This checkbox is self-evident. First, if the initial request fails, the next one is to be initiated instantly and automatically. On top of that, this automation, on a scheduled basis, must be able to encompass multiple websites simultaneously.
Extended data delivery options. Extracted data can be exported in several ways. The more formats are available, the better it is for teams. Trying to save it in a different format may damage the file. So make sure that the range of options includes XML, JSON, and CSV at the very least. Concerning data delivery options, they are to encompass FTP, Google Cloud Storage, and DropBox.
Customer support. For tech-savvy users, web scrapers are not challenging to use. However, serious companies able to work with enterprise-grade customers always employ customer and tech assistance specialists to help tune and customize parsers.
If a scraper meets all these criteria and is capable of being used with an advanced proxy ecosystem, such as Dexodata, it is the right choice. As a result, users will quickly obtain tons of data needed to make data-driven decisions. Information is the key to survival in business. As for our trusted proxy website, it is ever-ready to serve individuals and teams with geo targeted proxies, including proxies for social media. A private proxy free trial is available for all newcomers.