September 23, 2022
12 min

How to find out  if a website allows scraping?

Whether you use Java, Python, or another programming language for web scraping is generally irrelevant. Always check the "robot.txt" file to see if the website from which you are trying to scrape data is permitted. Any website can be scraped, as long as the data is public and not obtained from a private domain that might contain sensitive information.

What Is Web Scraping?

The term "web scraping" refers to a number of techniques for collecting content and data over the internet. This data is usually saved in a local file so that it can be further modified and analyzed as needed. In general, scraping is done with software applications that imitate human web browsing to gather specific pieces of data from multiple websites. Web scraping software users collect specific data to sell to other users or use it for advertising purposes on the website.

What types of data can be scraped from the web?

Theoretically, if there’s data on a website, it’s scrapable. Text, images, videos,  product details, customer sentiments, reviews, and prices from comparison websites are just a few examples of the common data types that can be collected. 

Web scraping: Is it detectable?

Yes, it can be detected. 

HTTP request contains a set of headers that indicate the type of browser being used, revealing the user's presence. However, this fact may not be of much significance to many individuals. Nevertheless, if excessive data extraction leads to site crashes, the perpetrator may face legal consequences for a DDoS attack. Despite this, web scraping is permissible, hence detecting it is not problematic. However, if one sends an excessive number of requests and causes server crashes, some nations' laws may interpret it as an intentional virtual attack. Nonetheless, disregarding the terms of service of the websites is not advisable, and dishonesty is unlikely to be beneficial in such circumstances.

Proxy Advantages

While web scraping, we strongly advise using Proxy services. You can gain from using a proxy when collecting data in a number of ways:

  • You can scrape a website much more securely by using a proxy. Additionally, there is a significantly lower chance that spiders or bots will be blocked or banned.
  • You can send requests from a specific device or from a specific location using a proxy. As a result, you may easily view the content that the website is showing on a certain location or device.
  • You can send more requests to the target website by using a proxy service without being blocked or subject to a ban.
  • Some websites impose extensive IP bans, but you can get around them by using a proxy.
  • You can use proxies to access a limitless variety of websites at once, whether they are all the same or different.

Rules for Web Scraping

You probably won't do anything bad as long as you treat the website you are taking data from as if you were a "guest," but first, let's look at the rules:

  • Do not damage the website.

This means that the quantity and regularity of your inquiries shouldn't overload the website's servers or obstruct normal performance.

There are several ways to do this: 

  • Limit the number of requests that one IP can make to the same website at once.
  • Respect the crawl delays defined in the robots.txt file to respect the time that crawlers must wait between requests.
  • If at all possible, plan your crawls to take place during off-peak website hours.

  • Do not infringe copyright

Always check whether the data on a website is copyrighted before scraping it.The term "copyright" is the exclusive legal right of ownership to a work of intellectual property, such as a book, photograph, or movie. 

On the web, common examples of content that may be protected by copyright include: article, images, videos, music.

Since most of the information on the Internet is therefore protected by copyright, copyright scraping is a serious issue that requires attention.

  • Do not violate GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

The implementation of GDPR has significantly altered how personal data, particularly that of EU citizens, can be scraped. On the other hand, personal data, which is any information that can identify a person, may include very sensitive information.

They are the following:

  • Name
  • Email
  • User name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • IP address
  • Bank or credit card information
  • Medical data
  • Biometric data

If any of the data you receive is associated with an EU citizen, you are in violation of the GDPR unless you have a valid basis to collect and preserve it. In this circumstance, you should run far away because you violated the other person's consent.

Consent & Legitimate interest

A person's agreement to have their data scraped is required before you can have a legitimate cause to acquire that person's data. Because you need "explicit consent" to collect, keep, and use someone else's data as you choose.

If you decide to scrape data, it will be exceedingly challenging to prove that you have legitimate grounds for collecting someone's personal information if you do it under a company name.

Most of the time, only authorities, such as governments, law enforcement, etc., have a legitimate interest in obtaining the personal information of their residents because they 

frequently scrape people's personal information for the benefit of the general public.

Web scraping: Is it legal?

The GDPR and other personal data rules of various countries are rather severe when it comes to gathering and storing personal data, as we noted before.

As a result, data scrapers must get explicit consent or demonstrate a legitimate interest in any personal data belonging to EU individuals, even if that data is publicly available, and they must aim to collect as little data as possible.

Web scraping, on the other hand, is an entirely legal practice. You simply need to be aware of what you're doing. Pay close attention to sensitive content like personal data; only use it with your explicit permission and avoid crashing the website! If not, you risk breaking the rules of service and being charged with a virtual attack.When scraping, use programming that is appropriate for the data you want to scrape.

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