Web Scraping for Research

Companies utilize web scraping for research to get market and price insights, weather services use it to track weather data, and real estate companies gather property data. Academics also use web scraping to conduct studies on web forums and social media, gather huge amounts of data or documents published on the web, and track changes to web pages over time. There is virtually likely a scraping program that can meet your research objectives if you are interested in discovering, collecting, and archiving textual material that exists online.

There is a lot of text on the internet. Some of the material is arranged in tables, populated from databases, completely unstructured, or imprisoned in PDFs. On the other hand, most content is organized using HTML or XHTML markup elements that tell browsers how to display it. These tags are intended to make content more readable on the web, and web scraping technologies, like web browsers, may comprehend these tags and follow instructions on how to gather the text they contain.

Web Scraping Tools

Selecting a technology that meets your research objectives is crucial for starting a web scraping project. Web scraping solutions vary from manual browser plugins to desktop programs to purpose-built libraries written in major programming languages.

The features and capabilities of online scraping technologies can vary greatly and can require considerable time and learning. Some tools need a monthly subscription charge, while many are free and available to the public.

Browser Plugin Tools

You may use these tools to add a plugin to your Chrome or Firefox browser. Plugins sometimes need more manual labor in that you, the user, must navigate through the sites and pick what you want to gather. 

Popular alternatives include Scraper, a Chrome plugin, and WebScraper.io, available for Chrome and Firefox.

Programming Languages

For large-scale, sophisticated scraping tasks, employing specialized libraries within popular programming languages is sometimes the best solution. These tools need more initial training, but they have mostly automated operations once set up and running.

It is important to note that you don’t always need to be a programming expert to set up and use these tools, and there are frequently tutorials available to help you. Some common web scraping tools are as follows.

  • Python libraries, such as Scrapy and Beautiful Soup
  • R packages, such as rvest
  • Java libraries, such as Apache Nutch.

Desktop Applications

Downloading one of these programs to your PC can frequently give familiar UI elements and workflows that are simple to master. These tools are frequently extremely sophisticated. But they are built for business environments and may include data storage or membership costs. 

An example would be Parsehub, which has restrictions on data storage and is initially free, or Mozenda, a very effective subscription-based tool.

Application Programming Interface (API)

A web scraping tool is technically an Application Programming Interface. It allows you, the user, to interact with data stored on a server. It is useful to know that if you are getting data from a major website like Google, Amazon, Facebook, or Twitter, they frequently have their own APIs that can assist you. 

Using these ready-made tools may sometimes save time and work, so it is worth looking into before starting a project. Some reliable third-party APIs are Apify and Scraper API.

Proxies for Web Scraping

Using proxies reduces the likelihood of being blocked by the site and allows for more efficient data extraction. Many websites show material based on the virtual location linked with the IP address. For example, if you are in the United States, you may use the proxy service to access a website in France. This is really useful for keeping track of different pricing on e-commerce sites.

You can use numerous IP addresses to send multiple requests to the site at the same time. Certain IP addresses are sometimes entirely banned by site admins. By using a proxy, you can prevent this.

Bright Data

Bright Data offers the most sophisticated rotating residential proxy service, as well as the world’s fastest and biggest real-peer IP network. They provide a solution for all of your scraping needs with datacenter, static residential, rotating residential, and mobile networks.

Their residential and mobile networks are entirely opt-in, following all rules and regulations. You can now guarantee your compliance, as well as the absence of malware. Get complete global access and never worry about incorrect data again!

Smartproxy

Any scraping task will never be cloaked for the Smartproxy network. Their residential proxies do not share any subnet. You can connect to any site with unlimited connections and track data in real-time

Smartproxy network has a 99.99% uptime. To reduce the possibility of being blocked or cloaked, avoid scraping the same page with a single IP address and scale your activities using this proxy provider.

Oxylabs

Oxylabs offers rotating residential proxies from a pool of 100M+ IPs. This will surely power up your scraping operations. You can circumvent geolocation restrictions with ease by accessing residential IP addresses from all over the world through a large proxy pool.

Log in to the Oxylabs dashboard to manage your proxy settings. Then, follow the directions to keep track of your data use and never run out of traffic. You may rest assured that your web scraping efforts will never come to a halt suddenly.

Conclusion

In summary, web scraping simplifies data extraction, automates it, and makes scraped data accessible by providing it in CSV format. Web scraping, in a nutshell, saves you the bother of manually obtaining or copying any data by automating the entire process.

Web scraping without proxies may be challenging, especially since most prominent websites have stringent limitations on access from certain IP addresses. The proxy providers we listed above are in random order. Mainly because they all have what it takes to assist you in scraping the web unnoticed and without worry for obstacles. Use web scraping for research and acquire residential proxies from one of the providers mentioned above.

About Helen Bold

Writer since I learned to write. Freelancer since I was born. Thinker since my past life. My Blog: ReducTot Medium profile: Helen Bold on Medium

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