Current Events

Are there unscrapable websites?

Are there unscrapable websites?

Residential Proxies are known as the cardinal method of web scraping, i.e., extracting data from websites, and it is assumed that any website in the public domain can be scraped. But are there any that cannot actually be harnessed for their data?

Possible-- Yes, ethical… it depends

While strictly defined, yes any public website can be crawled for its data, with varying degrees of difficulty depending on the website's security levels - measures against scraping - which can make it easy or hard to scrape. However, what is more important is the legality of  harvesting certain data without permission,  as well as how ethical the practice is, such as extracting academic research publishing or copyrighted brand materials. One of the most basic principles for web scraping is to avoid gathering confidential information, because if ordinary internet users cannot gain access to it on a website or application through normal methods, then it is not meant to be given away to the general public. Now let's see if a person is successfully scraping in the first place. 

Indications of failed web scraping attempts 

One of the easiest ways to tell if your attempts have failed are error codes; specifically,  HTTP ‘4xx response’ errors. When these occur, the domain being accessed cannot render the request being made which can arise for multiple reasons: improper proxy configuration, proxy authentication failures, and so on. Another issue is the bandwidth size of the scraping request, which should be no less than 1 megabyte , with amounts less than around 100-50 kilobytes indicates an issue, typically captchas. Also, a website can implement traps or lures, known as honeypots, done using specific web links - html - which can lead to the residential proxy being banned from the website. Another common issue is simply request timeouts which occur when the crawling proxy is trying to extract too much data at once in the form of requests, leading to the response times for the domain to plummet.  

Examining the common blockades of Web scraping 
  • Captchas: Captchas are used to differentiate between real internet users and online bots, like scraping tools. While for regular users, captchas are just annoying hindrances that need to be completed to access a page, but take less than 10 seconds to complete. When it comes to proxies though, when an inordinate amount of requests are being made from the single residential proxy, it sets off the captcha appliance. But, this can be easily avoided with Spider residential proxies since they contain the feature of rotation-- the IP alternates after every new session or request (up to the user preference) automatically, with tens of millions of high quality residential IP’s available for service, ensuring avoidance of captchas and successful use of web scraping. 

For more information on captchas, check out this article

  • Honeypots: When using proxies to web scrape, it is important that the html links being entered are genuine publicly accessible links, and not ones designed to root out scrapers. One of the easiest ways to tell if a proxy or other scraping tool has been compromised is by analyzing the html link attributes to find any messages that read:  “display: none” or “visibility: hidden”, found in the CSS file of the link. Websites also can use an added layer of protection by altering their honeypot URL links and the encoded information within them. This means a website can continually alter its constitution in order to prevent web scraping, making it extremely difficult for proxies to complete its tasks. With Spider however, we constantly check if websites perform updates in order to keep our proxies effective and dynamic, allowing for unfettered application. 

As we see, there are multiple possible blockades when it comes to web scraping, yet it is not impossible to overcome and can be fairly handled quite impressively with premier quality proxies, like Spider residential proxies.  

Start scraping today with Spider

Next up

Let's get STarted

Start scaling your business with Spider today

Try Spider for Free