Web scraping is the practice of extracting data from websites using automated means. This is a technique that is used to extract and gather the required data from a webpage. Several people have used this technique to increase productivity, and many more will still do. There are many web scraping tools such as Zenscrape. When many users are making use of such tools on a web server, this could lead to the failure and collapsing of such servers due to the overloaded web scraping tools on its shoulder. To prevent the occurrence of such events, it is important to know and follow the tips below in order to deter the breakdown of the server and keep yourself from being blocked while scraping a website.
Five Tips To Scraping Websites Without Getting Blocked
Getting blocked is one of the biggest problems that web scrapers and their various users face. While a web scraper wishes to extract the necessary data from a website, the website, on the other hand, does all it can to prevent this from happening. A website blocks any request that it feels is not coming from a human visitor, and to reduce the chances of getting blocked you need to make your web scraper act more like a human visitor. See some ways to help you achieve that below.
Reduce the Speed
When a normal human visitor visits a website, the browsing process is slower than when a web scraper is being used. With this, it is easy for a website to know when a web scraper is being used and when it is not. Once a website sees that you are browsing too fast which will only happen with a web scraper, it blocks you without a second thought. To avoid this, you need to slow down the speed of your web scraping tool. You could set a delay and wait time. The trick is never to overload the website with requests, otherwise, it gets angry.
Avoid Scraping in a Fixed Pattern
Web scrapers are known to scrape websites in a fixed pattern since there tend to follow a set of programmed instructions and logic. This is one way websites can detect them. Since humans are flexible, they will never browse a website in a fixed pattern. To prevent getting blocked by anti-scrapers, it is important that you change the pattern of your scraping tool, from time to time. Changing the pattern will help make your web scraper behave more like a human.
Consider Honeypot Traps
Honeypot traps are simply some links on a webpage or website that are not visible to human visitors. These links are present in the HTML code of the webpage and are visible to web scrapers. These links are simply traps designed to catch a web scraper. When a web scraper sees such a link, it will visit them and will be directed to a blank page. When a website notices that the honeypot has been visited, it will be sure that it is a web scraper and not a human since these links are invisible to human visitors. Once the website detects you visited a honeypot, it will start blocking your request. As such, it is important to use web scrapers like Zenscrape that have been designed to avoid fake links.
Make use of Proxy Servers
When the same IP address sends a large number of requests to a website, the site will definitely block the IP address. To prevent this, you could use a proxy server so that all your requests aren’t from the same IP address. This will allow you to browse and send your request to a website using different IP addresses that were set up by you. These IP addresses are like a mask covering up your real IP from the website, so it won’t suspect a thing.
Switch the User-Agent (UA)
The User-Agent is located in the header section of any request. This is a string that establishes the identity of the browser and the operating system from which a request is being sent to a web server. You could get blocked while scraping a website if you use the same user-agent for your entire request. Each request made by a browser goes with the user-agent, and sending a large number of requests with the same user-agent would get your request denied. To avoid this, you need to switch your user-agent very frequently.
Anyone who uses the web scraping technique knows how important it is not to get blocked. But websites are now built with anti-scraping mechanisms that detect web scrapers and block them. To solve this problem, the five tips above will prove really effective as it has been designed to help those who use web scrapers like Zenscrape to take actions that will reduce the chances of getting detected by these anti-scraper mechanisms.