Proxies are some of the must-have tools for business owners involved in web crawling. They allow you unlimited access to websites that you may otherwise not have access to. Having that level of access improves the quantity and quality of data you mine, and the inferences you make are much more accurate.
Web crawling using proxies is also safer for your business website since your IP address is not visible to other website owners.
There are times, though, where you may need to supplement proxies or find alternatives to improve your web crawling experience.
Why you may need Alternatives to Proxies for Web Crawling
1. Websites that Block Proxies
Some sites have systems that detect IP addresses that appear to be proxies. Once they note continued proxy-like activity from such IPs, they blacklist and block them.
It usually happens with high-security websites, especially those that handle sensitive data. If many such sites blacklist and block your proxies, the data you obtained by your web data crawler may not be reliable.
2. Slow due to Colossal Traffic
Some proxy companies, especially those that offer free IPs, sometimes take on too many customers beyond their capacity. It strains their servers, which results in slow services that could hamper your data mining process.
3. Malicious Service Providers
When companies offer free proxy services, they may decide to use other questionable ways of getting revenue. Since they have your real IP address, some of them use it to steal cookies from your website or insert malware. It can apply to harm not only your online business operations but also your customers and other people that access your site.
One way you can escape these types of challenges is to avoid free proxies. Instead, get your proxy IPs from a reputable company at a reasonable fee. Since they gain revenue from their proxy services, such companies go the extra mile to make sure that you get high-quality services.
You can also opt to run an automated web crawling process.
Automated Web Data Mining
If you need just a small amount of data from a website, you can extract it by sending your data scrapers into the website. It can be done in a quick time if the site isn’t complicated, especially in terms of its security features.
However, if you want to mine a lot of data from a complex website or several websites, it could be either too hard or downright impossible.
It could be even more complicated if the target websites have different security encryptions, and you are using scrapers and crawlers customized for just one type of website. In such instances, you could end up missing out on a lot of data that your tools could not gain access to.
You can solve this challenge by using customized web data mining tools.
Automated web data mining tools designed such that they can navigate through several websites seamlessly. As such, they have a web data crawler component that maneuvers from one site to the next without complications. The web data crawler element collects and catalogs the data for easy retrieval as it moves through this website.
The web crawler, however, cannot retract the data into your computer system on its own. The data mining tool is, therefore, also programmed with a data scraping element for this purpose.
Most developers also incorporate a parser in the program. The parser helps convert the data from the original format on the website to a standard format that you can easily read and analyze.
Designing a tool with all the necessary features is the harder part. Once you do this, any developer can do the automation.
Advantages of Automated Data Scraping
Automating the data scraping process comes with some benefits:
- The data is more accurate thus more reliable
- The process is faster
- When developed competently, the data scrapers are harder to screen and block from accessing sites. If need be, you can combine them with proxies
- The resultant, end-point data is also more organized thus more comfortable to manage and process
Should you have an Automated Web Scraping tool made for your Business?
At first look, it might seem reasonable for your business to have an in-house web-scraping tool at your disposal all the time. However, developing and maintaining customized web data crawling tools may not be sensible.
First, modern websites are quite complex and differ significantly in their design structure. Therefore, developing a web data crawler would be a difficult task for most developers. You would, thus, end up costing you unnecessarily more.
There is also a possibility that the tool will become obsolete rapidly as creators design security systems that include anti-scraping mechanisms.
Making in-house automated web scrapers may, therefore, make sense for big business since they have the necessary funds and resources. But if you are a small or medium enterprise, it might be more prudent for you to outsource.
There are companies dedicated to providing automated web data mining services. They mine the data you requested from the target websites and present them in a final format.
The main advantages of this approach are:
- The companies are well equipped to handle the complex website structures
- You will get the data in a ready-to-use format
- Since these are professional teams, they have the necessary expertise and technological know-how. You can, therefore, trust their data.
- Most of the companies will give you support services at no extra charge
Also Read: Choosing a Great VPN for Home Use
In data scraping, you need to use tools and processes that provide you the most amount of data in the shortest period possible. Automating web scraping achieves this but also improves the accuracy and reliability of data significantly.
It is excellent for your business since it means you are making decisions about your business from the point of accurate information. The result is that the operations you initiate based this data achieve the projected results often. The costs of automating the data mining processes are also negligible compared to the benefits. There is, therefore, every reason to opt for these options before competitors beat you to it.