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Web Scrapping

A Beginner’s Guide to Ethical Web Scraping: Investigate a Website Before you Scrape

In today’s data-driven world web scrapping has become the valuable skill for acquiring data from the websites or any online resource. We at Nexius Analytics are trying to empower you with that skill, that you will be able to earn money with this skill. We have started this blog series, Either you are a Researcher, data analyst, developer this is the skill we think you have to grip on. Because data is the thing which you may need at any time in you job role. So then instead of doing manual work, you will be able to do this automatically.

However, before starting this journey, it is essential to thoroughly investigate the website. This guide will help you understand all the essential steps to scrape the site ethically and effectively.

Determine your scrapping Goals

The first step in any web scrapping project is to clearly understand the client requirements, that what data he is asking for. What you have to scrape. What is the end goal. Having clear instructions in your mind will lead you to put effort in the right direction and you will be safe from collecting unnecessary data collection.

Identify Target Website

When you are clear with the end goals then in simple steps I will told you, the very first step is to check the behavior of the website. Either the site is Dynamic or static. What Dynamic or static mean is either data is loading with JavaScript or the data is still available on the site if the JavaScript is disabled.

How to Check Site is Dynamic or Static

First Right click on the webpage and go to the last option Inspect then console of the site is opened for you. Then you have you press CTRL+SHIFT+P this will open the little command run terminal in your console page like this.

Where you have to enter Disable Javascript and click ok. Then you reload the page with command CTRL+R and then see if the data is still available on the web page or not. If the data is available then it mean you can scrape this data very easily. If the data is vanished, then the site data is Dynamically loaded, and then you have to find some other way’s.

Check For an API

If the website offers an Application Programming Interface (API), consider using it for data extraction. APIs are designed for data retrieval and provide structured and authorized access to a website’s data. You may have to find it after inspecting the site. See the Network calls and examining deeply to get any hint of Api or explore any hidden API patterns. Some time one Api give’s you a response, and the second Api takes that response as input. So you have to dig deep in to the network calls.

Explore the Script Tags in Header

Locate the data sources on the web page. May be some time when you when you didn’t find anything in the network calls, and also site is dynamic then may be there is a certain chance that data is located in script tag in Json format in your header. This is also another possibility to investigate the site before crawl the data.

Detect Rate Limit and IP Blocking

Websites often employ rate limiting and IP blocking mechanisms to prevent excessive scraping. To avoid this issue first write a simple code before go to the scraping solution and test that either your request is getting successful response or not. May be first time you got the response, but after 20 to 30 hits you detected as a bot and your Ip has been banned. Then in this case you can use IP Rotation Proxy Solution to avoid this problem.

Handle Captchas and Authentication

Prepare for challenges like captchas and authentication mechanisms. Explore solutions for automated captcha solving and handle authentication as needed.

Summary

Investigating a website before web scraping is a crucial step to ensure you scrape responsibly, ethically, and effectively. By understanding the legal and ethical landscape, respecting a website’s terms of service, and following best practices, you can navigate the world of web scraping with confidence. Remember that ethical web scraping benefits everyone, and responsible data collection is a valuable skill in today’s data-driven world.

About Author

Syed Hanad Muqadar

Senior Data Scientist

03405021360 / syedhanad786@gmail.com

Author

nexiusanalytics.com

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