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The ideal software solution
So you’ve taken a look at different web scraping software providers, and none of them appeals to you.
The cost could be prohibitive, or the functionality isn’t quite there. It could be just the opposite: you only need a basic scraper, and the extra bells and whistles are just a distraction. You might also want to avoid the website’s API, or RSS feeds.
If you’re feeling brave and in need of a challenge, there is another option: Building your web scraping software!
Advantages of building your web scraping software
Running your web scraping instead of using data feeds does have some plus points:
You can scrape accessible data without logging in.
Data viewed in a browser can easily be scraped.
Information on live sites is often more up-to-date compared to data feeds.
Problems are resolved far faster with live sites than with data feeds.
API’s might rate limit you, whereas you set your scraping speed according to the number of servers in your pool.
API’s aren’t anonymous. Using a large pool of servers is.
It’s essential that you scrape responsibly and not take a ‘crash and burn’ approach to proxy servers.
Scraping a site too quickly without taking steps to avoid detection will probably result in your servers becoming blocked. Those servers are now useless to you. If you block servers through misuse, then your proxy server provider is well within their rights not to replace the servers for you. Any web scraping you perform needs to be handled responsibly through proper human emulation settings.
Web scraping can be a valid way to access data. But you need to be careful. You need to take precautions as occasionally your web scraping might be viewed as illegal. Many sites explicitly prohibit automation and scraping.
When scraping data, you need to be very careful and ensure that you’re complying with local laws. Always respect the site’s terms and conditions. It’s in your interest to always make sure you read and understand those before attempting any scrapes.
You can’t just use any web scraping techniques either as some can be ‘black hat’. Many website owners have previously taken legal action against if they feel aggrieved. The ramifications of this can be severe. So please be very careful when and how you scrape.