Why You Should Learn About Web Scraping
By Space Coast Daily // April 21, 2022
The development of information technologies has brought us one of the most fascinating inventions of humanity. The internet and the systems it created keep modernizing the fabric of our society.
What makes the internet such a revolutionary invention is the rapid exchange of information. The ability to store, transmit and utilize massive amounts of data creates new opportunities and brings convenience into other societal structures, and modernizes them. Smart devices and microcontrollers revolutionize physical objects, forms of entertainment, and even the entire business environment.
The web is full of valuable information, and it only keeps growing. With so many available sources of data, internet users and companies in the modern business environment need to learn to recognize essential information and understand the methods of data management and extraction.
The amount of available information can be overwhelming, but it can still contain valuable snippets of knowledge that can be used to benefit personal and company goals.
To get access to the most valuable, publicly available data, we use web scraping – an automated process of information extraction. With the right tools, we can filter out and acquire essential knowledge through automation. In this article, we will talk about web scraping and its role on the internet.
Understanding the process of data aggregation can help you learn this valuable skill and better understand the intricacies of the modern internet and the digital business environment. Most tech-savvy users and computer science enthusiasts learn and practice information extraction through web scraping Python frameworks – the tools that empower this programming language to extract, manage and manipulate data.
We will also talk about potential security liabilities, such as exposure to your IP address. Proxy servers give web scrapers the essential security, which helps web scraping Python frameworks and other extraction tools to continue their work without interruptions. To learn more about proxy servers and their role in data aggregation, check out Smartproxy – one of the best proxy providers that offer extensive knowledge on the partnership of web scrapers and intermediary servers.
Why do we need web scraping?
Management and manipulation of information is the core of information technologies. Today, data is the most valuable resource and the main source of income for big tech companies and social media networks. Extracted information helps businesses outperform their competitors and find the most suitable targets for personalized advertisement.
Web scraping is an essential skill for a data scientist. With enough practice and experience, you can use the extracted information to improve your projects and conduct research at a far greater rate. Almost every impactful niche that has statistical data can be improved with information extraction and analytics.
You can even associate the passion for your hobby with the data it carries and conclusions that can be derived from it. If you have a passion for basketball, you can use web scraping to extract and research analytical data of players and their teams and even find potential improvements to improve their results.
While passion can transform your hobby into a livelihood, there are more concrete and realistic applications of data management that offer faster and more profitable results. Businesses use web scraping to extract information from websites and online shops of their competitors to get a better understanding of the market and potential solutions that will help them outperform their peers. Every business venture you can think of can be adjusted and improved with a constant stream of accurate information.
How can you learn web scraping?
The world of web scraping is the most accessible through Python, which is currently the most popular programming language. Its wide application and understandable syntax make it an easy pick-up, even for users with no prior programming knowledge. Because it is so popular and web scraping is such a valuable skill, you can find great educational material on the subject in no time.
While the user can extract the HTML code from websites with standard Python libraries, there are external, open-source frameworks that improve the process of data extraction. Tools like Scrapy and Beautifulsoup are easy to use and quickly transform the extracted code into a readable and understandable format, making it ready for analysis. Practice using these tools, and you will learn the basics of web scraping in no time.
Protect yourself with proxy servers
Sending data requests, even through a scraping bot, exposes your IP address. Because web scrapers can bombard web servers and generate an unreasonable amount of traffic, the third party behind the website can ban your IP and forbid you from visiting the page in the future. This will stop your data aggregation in its tracks.
It is better to use rotating proxy servers for these connections. For web scraping, we recommend using residential proxies that are supplied by a business-oriented proxy provider. This way, you will get a big pool of addresses from the most suitable locations around the world, with IPs attached to real digital devices supplied by internet service providers. By changing your IP every few minutes, you will protect your real network identity and continue scraping without unexpected interruptions.