Guide to how to improve your web scraping speed, Internet data source advice, Online mining help
How to Improve Your Web Scraping Speed
26 Dec 2020
Scraping data from online sources is one of the key ways to mine the internet for information. However, not every website is eager to share its data. Some have in-built APIs that make it easy to interface with them, but many will actively try to prevent scraping.
The key to successful scraping is to get it done as quickly and quietly as possible. As Proxyway bloggers say proxy networks could possibly help here as well. Of course, there are a lot of ways to scrape data nowadays. Here are some simple tips for improving the speed of your web scraping operation.
How to Improve Your Web Scraping Speed Guide
Decrease the Number of Requests
With most scraping frameworks, if you want to get two different pieces of data from a page, you will need to send a separate request to the website for each. If you’re only after a few data points, this might not matter too much, but the extra time will add up quicker than you might expect when you’re undertaking larger projects. Check this link if you want web scraping tips.
A more efficient solution to this problem would be to download the source code for the page that you want to scrape and then mine it for data offline. This means that you’ll only need to send a single request to the website. If they aren’t very friendly towards scrapers, this will help to make you less detectable.
Write Data to the CSV After Each Record is Scraped
Many scrapers will only output the data they collect once it has all been gathered. On the surface, this makes sense, but it can have some pretty annoying consequences. For example, if your operation is interrupted by anything – an unreliable connection, hardware or software crashing, security kicking you out – then you will lose everything that you have gathered so far. You only need this to happen once to understand how frustrating it is.
Writing data after you scrape each individual record will ensure that you aren’t derailed by an unexpected glitch. It also means that if your session is interrupted, you can resume it from where you left off and not have to go back over things you have already scraped.
Use API if Available
If the website you want to scrape has an API, like Twitter, for example, it is almost always best to use that for your scraping. The API will make everything easier for you and will enable you to code your crawler much more efficiently.
Crawl Google’s Caches Instead of the Website Itself
In some cases, you will want to access up-to-the-minute data, data that is updated on an almost constant basis. If this is the case, you will need to scrape from the website live. However, if the data source you are scraping is only updated relatively infrequently, you might want to think about scraping the version of the page cached by Google. This will be faster and won’t rile up any website owners who disapprove of scraping.
Get a Reliable Proxy Service Provider
No matter the reason why you are scraping, you need to have a reliable proxy provider in place. However, not all providers are created equal – some will offer you noticeable gains in efficiency and speed, while others leave a lot to be desired. For most scraping operations, you don’t just want any old proxy – you want a rotating residential proxy.
A proxy that automatically rotates its IP address with each request will be much harder for websites to detect. If you are using a decent service provider, this IP switching won’t cost you much in the way of time. Besides, if you compare that with the amount of time you will lose if you are blocked and have to start over, it’s nothing.
In addition to masking your IP address, another important function of a scraping proxy is that it enables you to bypass the rate limits on any websites you scrape from. Most large websites have rate limiting software in place to detect any suspicious traffic and prevent a large number of requests from the same IP – indicating an automation tool.
You can dramatically improve the speed of your scraping if you use a proxy pool that supports unlimited parallel connections. By spreading your requests over a number of simultaneous parallel connections, you can defeat the site’s rate limiting and complete multiple tasks simultaneously. However, if you take this approach then you will also need to implement IP address monitoring to ensure that your proxies aren’t rotating to addresses that other proxies have already used this session.
Many people find that it is easier to set up a predetermined list of IP addresses from the pool for each proxy to cycle through, instead of picking them at random. This eliminates the possibility of one of your servers inadvertently reusing an IP address that has already been logged by the target website.
Having a reliable proxy service provider is an essential component of any serious scraping operation. Without a rotating proxy in place, you will only get so far before you are detected and locked out of websites. If you choose a data center proxy instead of a residential one, you are also likely to be found out. Ideally, you need a number of different proxies acting in parallel, each with an automatic rotator to speed up IP address switching.
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