|December 28, 2016
Web scraping is aka data scraping, Web Data Extraction, Screen Scraping, Web Harvesting. It is a process of fetching information from websites. Web scraping focuses on transforming unstructured website content (usually HTML) into structured data. It saved to a database in table or to a locally in your computer as excel file(.csv format).
Web Scraping is the technique of automating this process, so that instead of manually copying the data from websites, the Web Scraping software will perform the same task within a fraction of the time.
A Web Scraping software will interact with websites in the same way as your web browser. But instead of displaying the data served by the website on screen, the Web Scraping software saves the required data from the web page to a local file or database.
Data displayed by most websites can only be viewed using a web browser. Examples are data litsings at yellow pages directories, real estate sites, social networks, industrial inventory, online shopping sites, contact databases etc.
Most websites do not offer the functionality to save a copy of the data which they display to your computer. The only option then is to manually copy and paste. The data displayed by the website in your browser to a local file in your computer – a very tedious job which can take many hours or sometimes days to complete.
There is no efficient way to fully protect your website from data scraping. This is so because data scraping programs (also called data scrapers or web scrapers) obtain the same information as your regular web visitors.
The best ways to protect globally accessible data on a website is through copyright protection. This way you can legally protect the intellectual ownership of your website content.
Another way to protect your site content is to password protect it. This way your website data will be available only to people who can authenticate with the correct username and password.