What is Web scraping?
Web scraping is a process of fetching data and content from websites with the help of bots. It is different from screen scraping, because in that, only pixels displayed on-screen are copied. While, in web scraping we can copy whole HTML code along with database of data stored in it. It can be used to replicate whole website content.
Uses of Web Scraping
We can take it as the best tool to gather huge amount of data in minutes. This reduces the work load of a worker and a company, very much. It is used in many businesses for varieties of functions. Some of them are:
- Used in comparison of price and product description by different allied seller website.
- Used by search engine for crawling a site and analysing its contents to give it a ranking.
- Used by market research companies to pull data from different social media and forum for advertisement and selling of products.
Along with benefits it also has many disadvantages, like many users are using it in illegal activities, like theft of copyrighted content and undercutting of prices. Any business which is dealing with content distribution and competitive pricing model is the most affected business by web scraping.
How is web scraping done?
There are tools of web scraping to shift between database and extract whole information. There are following steps to web scraping:
- Firstly, these tools recognise structure of unique HTML site.
- Then, start extracting and transform the content.
- After that, they store this data.
Web Scraping Bots
There are several web scraping bots available on internet. All of them have the same logic, but some of them are legitimate that are prepared by a company and website for the easement and identification of their users. Like, Google have Google bot.
While, some are malicious bots, which are made to extract data from a website without the permission of its owner. Price scraping and content scraping are renowned use-case of malicious scraping that malicious bots do.