Pros And Cons of Web Scraping

Personal Development

Published on February 5th, 2020

There is plenty of informative data that is available online on websites, forums, blogs, and social media. People are always looking to copy one form of data or the other into a functional database or spreadsheet and this can be really tiring.

Copying data online can become tiring and even cost a lot as the working hours continue to add up. Undoubtedly, a process such as data scraping for gathering the usable database from websites can offer cost savings and time savings.

There is software built for web scraping that is used to extract data from websites. The software such as scrappy, parsehub and octoparse are able to traverse the web, assess the website content, and then extract the data for the purpose of comparing and other things.

Some businesses use web scraping tools such as scrapy to compare prices of a certain item, carrying out research, or pursuing online content variations.

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages, and data scraping is not an exception. This post will analyze the pros and cons of web scraping.

The Pros Of Web Scraping

The major advantages of web scraping services are explained in the following points.

1. It Is Not Expensive

Web scraping tools and web scraping services are offered at fair prices. Data is collected from websites and then analyzed so the internet functions regularly. Data scraping does this efficiently and is budget friendly.

2. Implementation Is Easy

Once a good web scraping service uses the proper mechanism for custom extraction, be assured that you are getting data from the entire domain. So, with just a onetime payment, you will be getting a lot of data.

3. Low Maintenance And Speed

The maintenance cost of installing new services is most often overlooked. Long term cost of maintenance can make the project budget go out of control.

Fortunately, web scraping technologies require little to no maintenance at all over a long period. Also, the speed with which web scrapers do their job is worth mentioning.

Data scraping, which would normally take days will be finished in a few hours.

4. It Is Accurate

Data scraping services don’t only scrape data online quickly, they are accurate too. The simple errors a person will make when they are trying to scrape data can lead to major mistakes later on.

Accurate custom extraction of data online is therefore very important. If the website deals with sales price, real estate numbers, or any type of financial data, then accuracy is vital.

The Cons Of Web Scraping

The major downsides of data scraping services are explained below;

1. It Is Not Easy To Analyze

If you are not an expert, the processes of scraping might be too difficult to understand. Although this isn’t a big problem, mistakes would be fixed faster for software developers if scraping were easier to understand.

2. Data Analysis Might Take A Long Time

When you scrape the data, it needs to be treated first in order to be easily understood. In certain cases data analysis with data analysis tools might take a long time and even a lot of energy to complete.

3. Speed And Protection Policies

Almost all web scrapers are a lot slower than API calls, and another major issue is the websites to do not enable screen scrapping.

In cases like this, web scraping is rendered useless. Additionally, if the website developer decides to make some changes in the code, the web scraper might stop functioning.

Also, If you regularly scrape data from a website with a web scraper, there is a huge chance of your IP getting blocked. If you continue using the same IP, the network security team will permanently block your IP.