Web scraping or harvesting is a simple and effective way of collecting data quickly and easily. Individuals and businesses can then use this data in many different ways, such as selling it, using it to make decisions and more. However, scaling your web harvesting efforts is not as simple as collecting a bit of data here and there. So, how do you go about scaling your web scraping efforts?
In this article, we’ll explore why you may want to scale your web harvesting efforts, as it’s not needed for everyone. Then, we’ll also look at the challenges posing anyone scaling their efforts. Finally, we’ll explore how proxies, even location-specific ones like a French proxy, can help you collect large amounts of data.
We’ll cover the following topics related to data gathering at scale:
- When and why would you scale your web scraping efforts?
- Challenges with scaling web scraping efforts
- How to use proxies to scale your efforts effectively
When And Why Would You Scale Your Web Scraping Efforts?
If you only rely on web scraping for personal reasons or to check the market every once in a while, scaling your efforts might not be necessary. However, if you use your web scrapers daily or need to collect large quantities of data, scaling your web harvesting efforts will be necessary to ensure you can meet your demands.
By 2021, there was already 79 zettabytes of data available online, and this number is expected to double by 2025. With this much information available freely, it’s no wonder that businesses are moving towards becoming more data-driven. Many businesses rely on large amounts of data to make decisions and drive their business forward.
If your business or income depends on your web scraping, you need to be able to scale your efforts efficiently without any delays. For example, if you host a price comparison website that relies on the most up-to-date prices available and has to update whenever there’s a change – you need a web harvesting setup that can handle the workload. If you’re a data engineer at a web scraping company that collects vast amounts of data every hour, you need a setup that can handle the strain of running data collection tools.
Challenges With Scaling Web Scraping Efforts
There are quite a few challenges facing anyone trying to scale their web scraping efforts. Some of those challenges include:
- Bot access
- Dynamic or complicated web page structures
- IP blocking
- Honeypot traps
- Slow website loading speeds
- Login requirements
- Real-time data scraping
Clearly, there are many considerations that need to be addressed before you can start scaling your data collection efforts. Many of these challenges can be overcome by creating a detailed scraping plan to prepare for any hurdles, investing in or building a reliable web scraping tool (free ones just won’t cut it for large-scale data collection) that is prepared for these hurdles. It’s also a good idea to set up a dedicated machine just for web harvesting and put a proper data management procedure in place to ensure the data you collect is high quality and stored correctly. This way, you avoid becoming one of the 95% of businesses that struggle with unstructured data and cite this as one of their greatest challenges.
How To Use Proxies To Scale Your Efforts Effectively
Proxies will be vital if you plan to scale your web scraping efforts. Using proxies alongside your web harvesting tool is a great way to empower the tool for better data collection without worrying about bans. You won’t just need any proxy, though; you’ll need high-quality residential proxies with a wide pool of IPs and unlimited concurrent threads. This is the only way you’ll be able to scale your web scraping efforts effectively.
Managing IPs on your own to the scale needed will be impossible, not to mention the number of bans you’ll have to deal with that could lead to incomplete or inaccurate data. Residential proxies are linked to real devices and therefore look like actual users accessing the websites so they won’t get banned.
You’ll also have many different options of residential proxies to choose from to make your scraping easier. For example, you can use a rotating proxy to change the IP with each new request automatically. This will make IP management much easier. You can also use location-specific ones, like a France proxy, to access local content. A France proxy will provide you with residential IPs within the country so you can access local data even if you’re in another country. There are also many other location-specific proxies, so you can easily target any country you need. Some providers even allow you to fine-tune your location settings even more by selecting not only the country but also regions and even cities in some cases.
Not everyone needs to scale their web harvesting efforts. However, if you’re one of the people that have to collect large amounts of data, you’ve probably looked into it. You may even have tried it only to find more challenges. Despite these challenges, you’ll find that you can navigate these obstacles a little easier by investing in a good scraping tool and a residential proxy.