Web scraping services provide an essential computer software facility by extracting different types of information from websites on the internet in a fast and efficient manner. There are several techniques of web scrapping that function automatically by scraping data from the internet. All the techniques involve the Hypertext Transfer Protocol or embedding the browser with which users surf the internet.
The Advantages of Web Scraping
The major advantages of web scraping services are explained in the following points.
- Inexpensive – Web scraping services provide an essential service at a low cost. It is paramount that data is collected back from websites and analyzed so that the internet functions regularly. Web scraping services do the job in an efficient and budget friendly manner.
- Easy to implement – Once a web scraping services deploys the proper mechanism to extract data, you are assured that you are not only getting data from a single page but from the entire domain. This means that with just a onetime investment, a lot of data can be collected.
- Low maintenance and speed– One aspect that is often overlooked when installing new services is the maintenance cost. Long term maintenance costs can cause the project budget to spiral out of control. Thankfully, web scraping technologies need very little to no maintenance over a long period. Another characteristic that must also be mentioned is the speed with which web scraping services do their job. A job that could take a person week is finished in a matter of hours.
- Accuracy – The web scraping services are not only fast, they are accurate too. Simple errors in data extraction can cause major mistakes later on. Accurate extraction of any type of data is thus very important.In websites that deal in pricing data, sales prices, real estate numbers or any kind of financial data, the accuracy is extremely important.
The Disadvantages of Web Scraping
The major disadvantages of web scraping services are explained in the following points.
- Difficult to analyze – For anybody who is not an expert, the scraping processes are confusing to understand. Although this is not a major problem, but some errors could be fixed faster if it was easier to understand for more software developers.
- Data analysis – The data that has been extracted will first need to be treated so that they can be easily understood. In certain cases, this might take a long time and a lot of energy to complete.
- Time – It is common for new data extraction applications to take some time in the beginning as the software often has a learning curve. Sometimes web scraping services take time to become familiar with the core application and need to adjust to the scrapping language. This means that such services can take some days before they are up and running at full speed.
- Speed and protection policies – Most web scrapping services are slower than API calls and another problem is the websites that do not allow screen scrapping. In such cases web scrapping services are rendered useless. Also, if the developer of the website decides to introduce some changes in the code, the scrapping service might stop working.