The Best Methods to Extract Data from AJAX PagesJanuary 20, 2023 | By David Selden-Treiman | Filed in: web-crawler-development.
Web crawling, also known as web scraping, is the process of automatically visiting and extracting information from websites. It is an essential tool for many businesses and organizations, as it allows them to gather large amounts of data for various purposes such as market research, competitor analysis, and search engine optimization. Web crawlers can be used to extract structured data, such as prices and product information, as well as unstructured data, such as news articles and blog posts.
What are the Limitations of Traditional Web Crawlers?
Each of these techniques has its own pros and cons, and the best choice will depend on the specific requirements of the project. For example, headless browsers are a good choice when the goal is to extract information from multiple pages, while browser extensions may be more appropriate when the goal is to extract information from a single page.
When web crawling, it is important to follow best practices to ensure that the process is ethical and legal. Some key best practices to keep in mind include:
Many websites will have a robots.txt file that specifies which pages or sections of the website should not be crawled. It’s important to check this file and abide by the rules set out by the website owner.
Avoiding overloading the server
Sending too many requests to a website too quickly can overload the server and cause the website to crash. To avoid this, it’s important to set appropriate delays between requests.
Websites may use CAPTCHAs to prevent automated scraping. It’s important to have a way to handle these challenges, such as using OCR tools to automatically solve them or using a CAPTCHA solving service.
Being mindful of the website’s terms of service
Each website has its own terms of service that outline what is allowed and what is not allowed when scraping their website. It’s important to read and understand these terms before starting to scrape a website.
Being mindful of the data usage
Scraped data should be used only for the specified purpose and should not be shared or sold to third parties without the website’s owner consent.
By following these best practices, web crawling can be done ethically and legally, while also ensuring that the information that is extracted is as accurate and up-to-date as possible.
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David Selden-Treiman is Director of Operations and a project manager at Potent Pages. He specializes in custom web crawler development, website optimization, server management, web application development, and custom programming. Working at Potent Pages since 2012 and programming since 2003, David has extensive expertise solving problems using programming for dozens of clients. He also has extensive experience managing and optimizing servers, managing dozens of servers for both Potent Pages and other clients.