In this digital era, good access to content and data from online sources may be all you need to have the upper hand in the occupation you are in.
Web developers have come up with many strategies to ease access to information from the internet. One of the ways that clearly stands out is web scraping/crawling. With web crawlers, you can gather and analyze information faster, conveniently, and in a highly affordable manner.
You must not even purchase crawlers. You can make your own with methods such as python coding, browsers’ extension, or even use data extraction tools such as Zenscrape.
Despite the flexibility in creating/accessing crawlers and the benefits that web scraping offers, there are still hurdles when it comes to usage. There are sites that you can’t access even if you have crawlers. In some cases, you’ll only scrape information to a certain level.
Another important factor is captcha solving, if your scraping efforts aren’t able to go through it, you won’t get any data and you would be wasting your bandwidth. You can find a lot of comprehensive information on how to go around this issue by reading this guide.
It is the work of the same web developers to create anti-scraping tools. With this, they make sure that they win either way (from the information owners and the information seekers). So, do you feel like the crawlers you have are not serving their intended purpose because of limited usage? We have good news for you- You can still go around all the obstacles that prevent you from crawling.
In this post, we will discuss two easy techniques that you can use to beat anti-scraping. Let’s dive directly into them.
1. IP Address
Your Internet Protocol address is like an identity that is held responsible for all activities that you perform on a site. Websites will track your IP if they notice some weird behavior and try to establish if the activities under your IP are human or robotic. If your IP address makes very many requests simultaneously within a particular period (which is obviously what a scraping bot will do), the website may block it.
So, when are your scraping activities likely to be suspected and blocked?
• When you send too many requests within a very short period- Websites assume that humans are generally slower and that there is a certain number of requests they are supposed to send in a given period.
Solution: Reduce the request you send in a given period. Leverage techniques such as ‘sleep’ function or increasing waiting time between two requests.
• When you are always visiting a website at the same time- Again, websites don’t expect humans to clock some level of accuracy and consistency and hence will treat highly accurate and consistently timed activities as scraping.
Solution: Make the scraping speed random
• Consistent requests from varying IPs- Even if your crawler uses various IPs, the activities/requests should not be timed at a particular time as this will be recognized by advanced anti-scraping techniques.
Solution: Use rotating IPs with random scraping speeds.
‘Captcha’ is the contraction of ‘Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers And Humans Apart. The Captcha is the kind of image that prompts you to do certain tasks such as clicking particular items or doing some calculations in order to access the content of a page.
Captchas’ main aim is to dictate tasks that only humans can tackle and not robots.
The use of Captchas has evolved to be one of the most effective anti-scraping techniques for website owners. Although it has been hard for web crawlers to pass this obstacle in the past, now there is an open-source tool that you can use to bypass all Captcha challenges when using crawlers.
The open-source tool, however, is not one of the easiest to create. It requires high proficiency in programming.
Another way people use to beat Captcha obstacles is making feature libraries that enable the creation of image recognition techniques using high-end learning or machine skills. Again, this may not be suitable for you and that’s why you still need a better solution.
The most promising and easiest way to beat anti-scraping when you are not the person who will spend hours and hours coding is simply reducing your scraping activities. This way, you’ll trick the anti-scraping features not to focus on your scraping tools. Eventually, the suspicion will be over and you’ll be able to crawl the website without any limitations.
We hope you have enjoyed this post and now know how you can beat anti-scraping and proceed with your information crawling as normal. No matter how fun solving captchas automatically may look to you, it requires very advanced skills and unless you are the finest in the game, you should stick to the IPs tricks.