What is open source technology in web data collection?

Contents of article:

  1. Browser-based vs. no-browser approaches
  2. Web scraping via regular browsers vs. headless browsers
  3. HTTP vs. SOCKS

WWW expands. Last year 1+ billion sites existed. Growing volumes mean ever-harder scraping challenges. Tackling them mandates complex solution combos. Most associate with open source technology domains. In this piece, Dexodata evaluates common alternatives people might contemplate for productive cost-effective decision-making. Scrutinizing this entire “chain” is optimal before you buy residential and mobile proxies, as it makes purchases smart and scenario-specific.

As an ecosystem of geo targeted proxies applied globally, our team knows how compute-intensive collecting vast datasets is. Manual techniques don’t suffice. Paid close source software helps, but CSS options are costly, falling short of expected flexibility. Resultantly, open source technologies, where code is universally accessed and altered ad hoc, serve as chief bets.

1. Browser-based vs. no-browser approaches

Our initial dilemma covers browser-based vs. no-browser info harvesting:

  • The first web scraping type implies extracting data by “robotized” interactions with browsers (headless included). It typically involves coupling surfing programs (e.g. Chrome or Firefox) with browser automation leverage like Selenium or BeautifulSoup
  • No-browser tricks suggest utilization of no internet surfers in habitual shapes. 
Browser-based No-browser
Open source pros
    1. JS rendering. Modern websites set the JS potential in motion, loading content dynamically. Browser-based frameworks, building upon Selenium or, say, Puppeteer, allow web scraping of dynamic content.
    2. User interaction. In case platforms require user interactions like clicks or form submissions, automation tools simulate these actions.
    3. Visual assessment. Browser-based web scraping enables individuals to inspect pages during development phases visually.
    1. Faster execution. Making direct requests is quicker than launching browsers, making it more efficient concerning large-scale operations.
    2. Lower capital expenditure. Since you don't need to render full browsers, power usage rates are lower, making it suitable when constraints emerge.
    3. Simplified implementation. Code lines for direct requests and parsing responses are simpler, more straightforward, etc.
Open source cons
    1. Complexity. Up-to-date web exploration tools are intricate, with sophisticated “machinery” behind, legacy issues, integrations. Adjusting to such individual collisions is time-consuming.
    2. Capacity. Initiating full browsers consumes extra system resources. This could be a negative factor when scalability is at stake.
    3. Slower execution. Running automation setups could be slower compared with no-browser practices, especially when dealing with large amounts of pages, even when headless browsers are chosen for web scraping.
    1. Limited JS execution. No-browser activities may miss dynamically generated data. In such situations, you might need to analyze and replicate JS scraping requests manually.
    2. No user interaction. If sites demand user interactions for revealing certain data, no-browser approaches may not suit, unless you can identify and mimic necessary HTTP requests.
    3. Lack of visual inspection. Since you don't render pages, debugging and understanding web structures may be troublesome.


2. Web scraping via regular browsers vs. headless browsers 


Having compared immediate requests against browser-based harvesting, we dive deeper. Assume, you opt for browsers. Here is where a second puzzle emerges. Will it be regular or headless browsers? Both are capable of handling JS with user interactions. Thus, open source rationales behind decisions are in different fields.  

Regular browsers Headless browsers 
Difference # 1
Actual windows with graphical user interface elements get opened and are controlled by scripts. Users view scraping processes, as they visually interact with the web pages, which feels convenient These operate without GUIs. Harvesting flows occur in backgrounds, making them invisible. This reduces digital assets’ consumption tempos, grants cost-effectiveness
Divergence # 2
This path looks easier to debug since the browser's GUI is visible. Developers can inspect elements, view logs, visually analyze pages during scraping sessions Debugging becomes more challenging, as there are no visual process representations. Engineers may need to rely on logs and other debugging tools




Whether one intends to buy residential and mobile proxies, or datacenter alternatives for open source solutions, they shall finally choose what exact proxy protocol to activate. Distinctions between HTTP and SOCKS proxies comprise the following points:

  1. HTTP geo targeted proxies function at application layers, SOCKS works at lower levels, typically at the transport one
  2. As the name implies, HTTP options tend to be practicable for HTTP traffic tasks on account of their specialized focuses. SOCKS is less HTTP-workable. Concurrently, they offer flexibility regarding FTP, SMTP, alike
  3. HTTP geo targeted proxies can modify HTTP headers, which is useful for missions such as changing user-agents for mimicking different web browsers. SOCKS counterparts pass data without interpreting or altering the content.

Sherlock Holmes remarked, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.” Now readers know how to grab this prerequisite via the Open Source technology.

Whatever your open source technology picks, buy residential and mobile proxies, as well as rent datacenter IPs, from Dexodata. Our pool of geo targeted proxies is compatible with popular software. It encompasses America, Canada, major EU member states, Japan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Turkey, Chile, 100+ destinations in all. Simplified HTTP-SOCKS switching is enabled. Verify these capabilities. Free proxy trial is obtainable for newcomers, so you test our ecosystem in action!


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