Web scraping is a simple process of retrieving or scraping data from a website. But, it involves many challenges that come your way when you are likely to do so. However, manual extraction is also an alternative, but it does not help when it comes to retrieving hundreds or millions of datasets from the internet.
Here, we have a roundup of a few common challenges that can interfere with web extraction. Besides, we have a few best solutions to overcome them.
Let’s get started with them.
Challenges Their Best Solutions
- It’s not easy to get billions of data
Scraping zillions of records every day would be a big task. Luckily, you have typical and atypical methods to fulfill this requirement. But typically, it’s not easy. You cannot grab millions of files once per day. This one goal can take months to achieve.
There is a possible solution in this case. You can have information in bulk if you consider an API. Also called Application Programming Interface, the API lets your scraping software interact with the target website’s data directly. It’s good to go with, rather than requesting the HTML. Besides, you don’t need to struggle much while extracting individual webpage content one by one. But, API accessibility does not come free. You can check how much it costs.
Alternatively, you can try to place a request for providing the requisite piece of information from the website directly through an email. If your request would be accepted, you can have what you required.
- Every website cannot be scraped
It oftentimes happens that you don’t get the information directly. Several protective measures like captcha and anti-Denial Of Service (DOS) and honey trap or some more advanced techniques are deployed to deny accessibility of data directly. Getting information really becomes tough in these cases.
A few websites, especially government-based and national security based websites, don’t want you to scrape any piece of their content. The aforementioned preventions are put there to discourage this practice.
It does not mean that you cannot scrape their content. You can do a little bit of coding in a robots.txt file and follow certain rules, which make you able to get the content. It’s legal also.
- Incessant requests for scraping are not acceptable
Do you send multiple requests for getting files or content from the website in a go?
Certainly, the information will be served to you. But, you don’t need to impatient. Some impatient scrapers want to be served with information in a wink. Every time, it’s not possible. The scraper could potentially send hundreds of requests every minute, which can turn server sluggish. The slow speed entirely brings the website down. Your extraction attempts can be assumed an unintentional DoS attack by its security system. Consequently, it can block your access temporarily or permanently in a view to minimize harm.
You can get rid of this trouble by halting your program for a few seconds. Pause for a while or keep a few seconds difference between each request. Also, do check the target website’s robots.txt file to determine if it specifies the desired pause duration or length.
- Watch out for restrictions
Licenced or copyright restrictions can hold you up, restricting the extraction of the desirable content. Here, typical scraping tools and techniques won’t help you, as they hardly work. So, you need to check out what you are likely to get from the website is copyrighted or restricted.
The website owner wants assurance of the information not being shared illegally. He/she doesn’t want their data subjects’ information to be used for wrong purposes. Therefore, the website content licence is needed to get that assurance.
You should share your code using any good open-science practice, whether or not you want to share data. Using open source code can help you discover, repeat and build on what you have served.
In essence, getting information is essential for deep researches to find out possible solutions by the community. Manual data collection is a big challenge itself, which is eased by automated software. Even, some expert developers and programmers can write codes to get an access to desirable information, which is an interesting way to interact with APIs and catch up with valuable information.