How to Check if a Website Allows Scraping?
In general, it does not matter whether you use Python, Java, or another programming language for web scraping. You can always check if the website you want to extract data from is allowed to scrape by checking the “robot.txt” file. You can scrape any website you want as long as you scrape public data and not get data from private domains that may contain sensitive information.
On the other hand, we highly recommend using Proxy services while web scraping. Getting help from a Proxy while extracting data can benefit you in many ways:
- Using a proxy allows you to scrape a website much more reliably. In addition, the probability of spiders or bots being banned or blocked is greatly reduced.
- Using a proxy allows you to make requests from a specific geographic area or device. This allows you to seamlessly see the content the website is displaying for a specific location or device.
- Using a proxy service allows you to make higher volume requests to the target website without getting banned or blocked.
- Using a proxy allows you to bypass extensive IP bans imposed by some websites.
- Using proxies allows you to have unlimited simultaneous sessions on the same or different websites.
What is Actually Web Scraping?
Web scraping is a term for various methods used to gather information over the internet. Generally, this is done with software that simulates human web surfing to gather certain bits of information from different websites. Those who use web scraping programs may want to collect certain data to sell to other users or use it for promotional purposes on a website.
Can Web Scraping be Detected?
Web scraping can be detected.
HTTP uses a set of headers that describe which browser users are using. Therefore it is known that you are there. However, it cannot be said that many people care about this situation. On the other hand, if you cause the data extracted site to crash, you are very likely to be sued for a DDoS attack. However, as we can see from here, web scraping is legal, so it is not inconvenient to be detected. If you just send too many requests and crash the server, you may be deemed to have launched an intentional virtual attack, according to the legal laws of some countries.
However, you can neglect the terms of service of the sites. And really, lying won’t do you any good in this situation.
Web Scraping Rules
As long as you consider yourself a “guest” on the site you are extracting data from, you probably won’t do anything harmful, let’s examine the rules:
Whatever you do, do not damage the website.
This means that the volume and frequency of queries you make should not load the website’s servers or interfere with the website’s normal operations.
You can do this in several ways:
- Limit the number of simultaneous requests from a single IP to the same website.
- Respect the delay that crawlers must wait between requests by obeying the crawl delays specified in the robots.txt file.
- If possible, schedule your crawls to occur during off-peak hours of the website.
Do not violate copyright
When scraping a website, you should ALWAYS check if the data on that site is copyrighted.
Copyright is defined as the exclusive legal right over a physical work, such as an article, image, or film. Basically, if you own the copyright on a work, you own it.
Common types of material that can be copyrighted on the web include:
As a result, most of the data on the Internet is copyrighted works, so copyright scraping is very relevant and needs attention.
Do not violate GDPR
The introduction of GDPR has completely changed how you can scrape personal data, especially of EU citizens. On the other hand, personal data may contain highly sensitive information, which is any data that can identify a person. They are as follows:
- Phone number
- User name
- IP address
- Bank or credit card information
- Medical data
- Biometric data
Unless you have a legal reason to collect and store this data and any of the data received belongs to an EU citizen, you are in violation of the GDPR. Run far far away in such a situation, because you violated the person’s consent!
If you are going to have a legal reason to collect a person’s data, that person must first have their consent to have their data scraped. Because you need to have “explicit consent” to scrape, store and use that person’s data the way you want.
If you are going to scrape data, it will be very difficult to prove that you have a legitimate interest in scraping someone’s personal data if you are doing it under a company name.
In most cases, only the authorities tasked with maintaining security, such as governments, law enforcement, etc., have a legitimate interest in extracting the personal data of their citizens, as they will often scrape people’s personal data for the public interest.
Is Web Scraping Legal?
As we mentioned above, GDPR and other personal data laws of different countries are quite strict when it comes to collecting and storing personal data.
Therefore, data scrapers need to either obtain their explicit consent or prove a legitimate interest in any personal data belonging to EU citizens, even if that data is publicly available, and they aim to minimize the amount of data collected.
On the other hand, web scraping is a completely legal process. You just need to know what you are doing. Pay attention to sensitive areas such as personal data, with your explicit consent, do not crash the site! That’s all really. Otherwise, you may violate the terms of service and be accused of a virtual attack. For scraping, make sure you use programming appropriate for the data you want to scrape.
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