Data Scraping Versus Web Crawling: Understanding the Differences and Best Practices

With the Big Data market estimated to reach $118.52 billion by 2022, it’s no wonder that data scraping and web crawling have grown in popularity over the past decade. These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but in fact, they mean completely different things. This article will shed some light on these differences and propose some data scraping tools and best practices to maximize your success in both of these endeavors.

Difference Between Data Scraping and Web Crawling

Data scraping refers to the extraction of information, typically from large data sets existing on the web or elsewhere. The second half of this statement is important: data scraping does not necessarily need to involve data from the internet, it also comprises the extraction of information from local databases such as spreadsheets. Furthermore, data scraping can either be performed automatically using software or manually by a human being—the scope of its definition is relatively vast, and it can be carried out at various scales.

Web crawling (often referred to as “crawling”), on the other hand, is the process of indexing data that exists online. Unlike data scraping, web crawling is only concerned with information stored on the internet. Moreover, web crawling must be executed algorithmically, therefore it’s inherently scalable.

The following table provides a brief overview of the major differences between data scraping and web crawling:

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Now that we’ve outlined the differences between data scraping and web crawling, let’s move on to explore their respective use cases.

Use Cases for Data Scraping and Web Crawling

At a high level, both data scraping and web crawling are practically useful for achieving the same end goal: maximizing the value of readily available data.

Data scraping supports this goal by bringing information—in the forms of raw data all the way through to fully polished media files—into the custody of human beings to be used for whatever their purposes may be. Common practical applications for data scraping include gathering information for research and analysis, performing price comparisons for e-commerce merchants, and generating leads for companies, to name just a few. For example, data scraping can facilitate lead generation for B2B service providers by enabling the targeted collection of contact information of business owners in a given niche.

Similarly, web crawling allows people or organizations to efficiently map and sort massive web-based data sets to augment their utility. Perhaps one of the most well-known practical examples of web crawling is the manner in which Google and other prominent search engines index websites online. These search engines employ robots to algorithmically “crawl” the web, keeping track of sites in existence and other auxiliary data such as each site’s apparent purpose and relative value. Other use cases for web crawling include developing streamlined product feeds, sorting airfare data across numerous providers, procuring real-time financial stock quotes, and more.

Challenges with Data Scraping and Web Crawling

While there are seemingly endless applications for data scraping and web crawling alike, these processes are not without their own challenges. Perhaps the most pressing concern for companies performing massive data scraping or web crawling efforts is the risk of encountering unreliable data or, worse yet, getting blocked or banned from websites.

Thankfully, there’s a solution to this problem: IP Ninja’s real residential IP proxy services and 1B Proxy REST API proxy.

Data Scraping Tools: IP Ninja Real Residential Proxies for Scraping

IP Ninja is an industry-leading real residential IP proxy service provider offering solutions to companies undertaking large data scraping and web crawling blasts. Developed with industry best practices in mind, the company offers two robust solutions for businesses seeking the utmost reliability in the data extracted and indexed via their efforts:

  1. IP Ninja’s traditional residential proxy service, including millions of real mobile and residential IPs. Leveraging IP Ninja’s vast network of real residential IPs, you can rest assured that your data scraping results will yield perfectly reliable information. We guarantee this integrity by ensuring that our residential IPs are verifiable, as we run all IPs through the IPHub API for verification.
  2. IP Ninja’s innovative 1B Proxy offering, a REST API proxy boasting nearly 1 billion mobile residential IPs. This solution is intended for enterprise clients with more complex and unique customization needs.

Improve Data Scraping and Web Crawling with IP Ninja’s Residential IP Proxy Services

If you’re looking to make the most out of the wealth of data existing on the internet today, data scraping and web crawling are excellent techniques to explore. As websites evolve and tighten their security measures, so does the difficulty in carrying out these data-oriented endeavors at scale.

IP Ninja provides an easy, affordable, and reliable solution for companies hoping to simplify their data scraping and web crawling processes while ensuring top-notch data integrity end-to-end. Contact IP Ninja today to learn more about how you can leverage the power of real residential IP proxies to strengthen your data scraping and web crawling success.