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How to Crawl a Website Without Getting Blocked? 11 Best Ways

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Evgeny Fomenko photo
Evgeny Fomenko2023-12-11
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How to Crawl a Website Without Getting Blocked? 11 Best Ways

Scraping a website is the process of extracting data from it, which can be useful for various purposes such as data analysis, market research, content scraping, price comparison, and many more. However, many websites have measures in place to block or limit scraping activities to protect their content and server resources.

In this article, we will explore some of the best ways to scrape websites without getting blocked. These methods will help you navigate through the challenges of webs while respecting the website's policies and avoiding any potential blocks.

How Do Websites Detect Scrapers?

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Websites detect and block scrapers using various techniques. Here is a list describing some common methods:

  • IP Address Blocks. Websites can block specific IP addresses or IP ranges associated with scrapers. This method is effective if the scraper consistently uses the same IP address.
  • User Agent Analysis. By analyzing the user agent string sent by the scraper, websites can determine if it aligns with the behavior of a typical web browser. If the user agent appears suspicious or does not correspond to a legitimate browser, the scraper can be blocked.
  • Rate Limiting. Rate limiting mechanisms can be implemented by websites to limit the number of requests made by a user or IP address within a specific time frame, and if the allowed limit is exceeded by a scraper, the website can block or temporarily restrict access.
  • CAPTCHA Challenges. Websites can present CAPTCHA challenges to users or suspicious requests to verify if they are made by humans or automated scrapers. Scrapers often struggle to solve CAPTCHAs, leading to their detection and blocking.
  • Behavior Analysis. To detect abnormal scraping activities, user behavior patterns are monitored by websites. For example, if a user is rapidly accessing a significant number of pages or exhibiting a predictable sequence, it may indicate scraping. Websites can then block such users.
  • Honeypot Traps. Honeypot traps are hidden links or pages that are not visible to regular users but are accessible to scrapers. If a scraper accesses these traps, it indicates their presence, and the website can take action to block them.
  • Session Tracking. Tracking user sessions and analyzing metrics such as session duration and navigation patterns allows websites to identify scrapers. If a session displays traits of a scraper, such as excessive page visits or repetitive actions, the website can block the scraper.
  • Machine Learning Algorithms. Machine learning algorithms can be used by websites to analyze different data points and patterns in order to detect scrapers, enabling them to learn from previous scraping incidents and identify emerging scraping techniques.

Knowing how to crawl websites without getting blocked is key to navigating around these common methods.

Pro Tips on Web Scraping Without Getting Blocked

Whether you are new to web scraping or have prior experience, these tips will help you avoid being blocked when web scraping and ensure a smooth scraping process.

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1. Set Real Request Headers

When making requests to a website, the headers contain information about the user agent, language, and other details that help identify the source of the request. By setting real request headers, the web scraper appears more like a regular user, reducing the chances of being detected and blocked by the website. It is important to mimic the headers of a popular browser and include common headers such as User-Agent, Accept-Language, and Referer.

The "Referrer" in an HTTP request header informs the website about the site you are coming from. So, it is advisable to set this header to make it appear as if you are coming from Google, as it is commonly set as the default search engine.

N.B.! Rotating and randomizing the headers for each request can further enhance the scraping process and avoid suspicion.

2. Use Proxies

Proxies act as intermediaries between your computer and the websites you are scraping, allowing you to hide your IP address and avoid detection. By using proxies, you can make multiple requests to a website without raising any red flags.

Be extremely cautious when choosing a proxy for web scraping. Avoid using free and public proxies as they tend to be slow, unreliable, and overcrowded. They can also result in IP blocking or CAPTCHA challenges. Additionally, free proxies may lack security measures, making them susceptible to hacking.

iProxy can offer you a private rotating proxies that provide a unique IP address for each request, ensuring that you don't get blocked by websites.

Our users have the advantage of flexibly managing proxy IP changes. This can be done manually by clicking a button, through a command in our Telegram bot, at regular intervals specified by the user, or via our API.

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3. Use Premium Proxies for Web Scraping

Premium proxies offer higher reliability, faster speeds, enhanced security and better anonymity compared to free proxies.

If you want to enhance your web scraping efforts and avoid detection, consider using premium proxies from iProxy that come with advanced features such as:

  • multiple methods of IP rotation,
  • whitelist IP – for restricting the list of addresses that have access to the proxy connection,
  • unique IP address – a feature for protection against IP rotation failures,
  • Wi-Fi Split to reduce data consumption,
  • HTTP and SOCKS5 support,
  • traffic calculator,
  • API support,
  • uptime monitoring,
  • logging and log storage,
  • authorization based on IP address,
  • seamless IP change.

These features give you more control over your scraping activities and help you crawl websites without getting blacklisted and blocked.

Take a look at our range of features and pricing options to find the best fit for your needs!

4. Use Headless Browsers

Headless browsers are web browsers without a graphical user interface, allowing you to automate web scraping tasks without any visual distractions. By using headless browsers, you can navigate websites, interact with elements, and extract data programmatically. This eliminates the need for manual scraping and allows you to scrape websites at scale.

One popular headless browser is Puppeteer. Puppeteer is a Node.js library that provides a high-level API for controlling headless Chrome or Chromium browsers. With Puppeteer, you can automate tasks such as clicking buttons, filling forms, and scrolling pages, making web scraping a breeze.

5. Outsmart Honeypot Traps

Honeypot traps are hidden elements or links on a website that are invisible to regular users but can be detected by scrapers.

To avoid falling into honeypot traps, you need to analyze the website's HTML structure and look for hidden elements or links (attributes like "visibility: hidden" or "display: none" in the CSS style sheet). By identifying and avoiding these honeypots, you can scrape the website without triggering any alarms.

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6. Avoid Fingerprinting

Fingerprinting is a technique used by websites to identify and track users based on their unique device and browser configurations.

One effective method to avoid fingerprinting is to randomize your user agent for each request. The user agent is a string that identifies the browser and operating system being used. By rotating your user agent, you can make it difficult for websites to track your scraping activities.

Another useful method is to disable or modify browser features that can be used for fingerprinting, such as JavaScript, cookies, and WebGL. By disabling or modifying these features, you can make your scraping activities less distinguishable from regular user behavior.

By the way, iProxy will help you spoof the Passive OS Fingerprint!

7. Bypass Anti-bot Systems

Many websites employ anti-bot systems to detect and block scrapers. These systems use complex techniques to identify and differentiate between human users and bots.

To successfully bypass anti-bot checks, you need to mimic human-like behavior while scraping. This includes randomizing the timing between requests, mimicking mouse movements, and rotating user agents. By making your scraping activities appear more human-like, you can avoid detection by anti-bot systems.

N.B.! Using proxies can also help you bypass anti-bot systems. By rotating your IP addresses for each request, you can make it difficult for websites to link your scraping activities together and identify them as bot-driven.

8. Automate CAPTCHA Solving

CAPTCHA is a security measure used by websites to differentiate between human users and bots. To automate the process of solving CAPTCHAs, you can use paid CAPTCHA solving services that employ human workers to solve CAPTCHAs on behalf of the user or explore open-source solutions.

Another technique is to use machine learning algorithms to solve CAPTCHAs. By training a model on a dataset of CAPTCHA images, you can automate the CAPTCHA solving process. However, this method requires significant computational resources and expertise in machine learning.

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9. Use APIs to Your Advantage

Many websites offer APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow you to access and retrieve data in a structured format. Using APIs can be a more efficient and reliable method of gathering data compared to scraping websites directly.

By using APIs, you can retrieve data in a standardized format, eliminating the need for parsing and extracting data from HTML. APIs also often provide rate limits and authentication mechanisms, ensuring that you can access the data you need without any interruptions.

N.B.! To use APIs effectively, you need to identify websites that offer APIs and understand their documentation. You may need to sign up for an API key or authenticate your requests using tokens or credentials.

10. Stop Repeated Failed Attempts

When scraping websites, it is common to encounter errors or failed attempts. Repeatedly making failed requests can raise suspicion and lead to your IP address being blocked.

To avoid this, you can implement retry mechanisms with exponential backoff. This means that if a request fails, you wait for a certain period of time before retrying. The waiting time increases exponentially with each failed attempt, reducing the likelihood of triggering any blocks.

You should also monitor and analyze the responses from the website. By analyzing the responses, you can identify patterns or errors that may be causing the failed attempts. Adjusting your scraping strategy based on these insights can help you avoid repeated failures.

N.B.! Using proxies can also help you stop repeated failed attempts. By rotating your IP addresses for each request, you can prevent your scraping activities from being linked together.

11. Scrape Data out of the Google Cache

As a final option, especially for data that remains relatively static, you can extract information from Google's cached version of a website instead of the actual website. To do this, add: "http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:" at the start of the URL.

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Conclusion

Web scraping is a powerful tool that allows businesses to gather valuable data from the internet. It provides insights, enhances decision-making, and improves overall efficiency.

It is crucial to follow ethical practices and respect the website's terms of service to avoid getting blocked. Implementing techniques such as rotating user agents, limiting request frequency, using proxies and the other tips from this article can help maintain a low profile and prevent detection.

If you are looking for a reliable proxy for web scraping, we highly recommend iProxy's mobile proxies. With our efficient and secure services, you can ensure smooth and uninterrupted scraping operations. Give iProxy a try and experience the convenience of mobile proxies for yourself.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is web scraping illegal?

Web scraping itself is not illegal, but the legality of web scraping depends on various factors such as the website's terms of service, the type of data being scraped, and the jurisdiction in which the scraping is taking place. Review website terms and consult legal professionals to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

What kind of data extraction is illegal?

Illegal data extraction includes unauthorized access to personal or confidential information, hacking, phishing, identity theft, and any activity that violates privacy laws or terms of service agreements.

Why do websites block scraping?

Websites block scraping to protect the website's content, maintain its performance, prevent data theft, preserve competitive advantage, and enforce terms of service.

What is the difference between web scraping and API?

Web scraping extracts data from website HTML code using automated tools, while APIs allow software applications to communicate and retrieve data from web services. APIs provide a structured and efficient method for accessing specific data, while web scraping involves parsing HTML and extracting relevant information.

How to prevent getting blacklisted while scraping?

To avoid blacklisting while scraping, follow ethical practices: respect website terms, limit request frequency/volume, use headers and delays, monitor warnings/blocks, and adjust scraping behavior accordingly.

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