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What Is the Difference Between Web Scraping and Web Crawling? 3 things to know

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Introduction

Today, it is common to use software that would help you with your work. There are multiple ways to collect information and data from the Internet world. Web scraping and web crawling are the most common. 

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the terms “web scraping” and “web crawling.” People often use them interchangeably, but they are actually two very different processes.

This article will explain the three main differences between web scraping and web crawling. It will also cover when and where each technique is appropriate to use. 

With today’s technology, there are many tools to help us with various tasks we need to do online. Instead of manually doing so you can use software for web scraping and web crawling. In addition to these software, you may also use a proxy. There are also many cheap residential proxies to help you perform web scraping and crawling seamlessly. 

Web Scraping

When starting a business or a website, you will need data. You may be a business owner in need of competitor or industry data. 

For example, you are starting out a perfume brand and you may find that another brand is doing very well on Instagram. Their customers or followers would be the perfect target market for you. But what do you do? Do you manually check each and every follower from their Instagram page? 

No. 

This is where web scraping software will be able to help you. 

Web scraping is a process that uses the extraction of a big amount of particular data from online sources. The extracted data is further explained and analyzed by a data observer to make more steady business commitments. 

Web scraping is a type of software that would help you with finding your desired content. A web scraper software can extract the original HTML code and the stored data in a database. 

A web scraping software may have direct access to the World Wide Web. This can be done by the use of a web browser or hypertext transfer protocol. Web scraping is a part of the extraction of web data. 

There are methods that you can use for web scraping. You can do it manually or download scraping software. Trying to scrape data manually would take a lot of your time and effort. Having web scraping software has changed the game. 

When using web scraping software you can get any open available online data.  You can then bring in any found information into any local file on your computer. 

Web Crawling

Considered as Spider, or Web crawler. This is a type of bot that is commonly used by search engines. Essentially this is what search engines like Bing, Google, or Yahoo do. 

Search Engines use crawling to look into the database and discover what content they cover and make approaches for the search engine’s index.

This is an operation of using tools to copy, read, and store the data of the websites for indexing and archiving uses.

Here are 3 Things you Should Know Between Web Scraping and Web Crawling:

  1. The primary purpose of web crawling is to index a website’s pages so that search engines can find them. The primary purpose of web scraping is to extract data from websites. 
  2. Web crawling is limited to gathering data from the pages that are linked from the starting page. Web scraping can extract data from any page on a website. 
  3. Web crawling can only be performed automatically using bots or spiders. Web scraping can be done either automatically or manually. 

Key Differences

Web Crawling is executed by programs or bots called “Web Spiders” or “Web Crawlers”.

The Web Crawlers perform the following:

It goes to the opening list of a particular uniform resource locator or also known as URL. The URL is also known as “seeds” during a visit of a crawler. If a crawler detects content on the web pages, It then brings it to the database and connects to the search engine index. 

After the Indexing, it will find other common links that were found on the initial web pages and adds them to the frontier.  Then the web crawler repeats it with new links until the frontier is empty.

Commonly the applications that are being used by this process are: 

  1. Webharvy
  2. Nokogiri
  3. NetSpeak Spider
  4. UiPath
  5. Helium Scraper

Meanwhile, web scraping is a procedure that is usually executed by programs called Web Scrapers.

The differences between Web Scraping and Web Crawling will determine where in the following: 

A web scraper takes the list of URLs loads all the HTML code for these websites, then gathers all data or data of the predefined type. It downloads the data and saves it in structured query language or also known as SQL, extensible markup language also known as XML, or excel format. 

Similarly, the market provides many automated web scrapers same as web crawling.

Here are the commonly used scraping tools:

  1. Octoparse 
  2. ScarpingBee
  3. Scrapy
  4. Fminer
  5. Parsehub

Data crawling usually indexes pages based on the content. Meanwhile, data scraping extracts information from the contents of the pages. Between crawling and scraping methods, they are used by crawling and scraping bots on each process.

Web Crawling can be used for the following instances:

Web scraping can be used for the following instances:

  • Stock market analysis
  • Managing brand reputation
  • Academic and scientific research
  • Collecting data sets for machine learning
  • Comparing Prices
  • Generating Leads
  • Market research for new products

Conclusion

Scraping and crawling are two different techniques used to extract data from websites. Crawlers are automated, whereas scrapers can be either automated or manual. 

After learning about the differences between web scraping and web crawling and why it is an essential tool for your business. This is an essential use and a method to collect data.

Web crawling is commonly performed by large corporations. Meanwhile, web scraping is often used by small and large businesses. 

Web crawlers will allow you to automate crawling activities and scan websites. And lastly, web scraping tools will automate data extraction from multiple resources.

We hope this article helps you with your data-gathering journey!

Noor is a Columnist at Disrupt Magazine. He specializes in writing on trendy topics of crypto, business, finance as well as tech. He has been featured in Techbullion.com, Vizaca.com.

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