Web Crawling VS Web Scraping: What’s the Difference

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There is a lot of confusion surrounding the terms web crawling and web scraping. In this blog post, we will explore the difference between web crawling and web scraping, and dispel any myths that these two terms are interchangeable.

Web Crawling

Web crawlers are typically used to crawl websites for the purpose of indexing content, but can also be used to collect data for various purposes.

The crawler then visits these URLs and extracts any links from the pages it visits. These links are then added to the seed list, and the crawler continues to visit these new URLs, and extracting any links from these pages, and so on. This process is sometimes called web crawling or spidering.

Web crawlers are used for a variety of purposes, such as indexing content for search engines like Google, collecting data for market research, or monitoring websites for changes.

Web Scraping

Web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites. Unlike web crawling, which is used to index content, web scraping is used to collect data from websites.

Scrapers typically visit a website and extract data from the pages they visit. This data is then typically saved in a format that can be used for further analysis.

Web scraping is used for a variety of purposes, such as collecting data for market research, monitoring websites for changes, or for creating a database of content for further analysis.

List the Difference between Web Scraping & Web Crawling

Are you confused about web crawling and web scraping? Both terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a big difference between the two. In a nutshell, web crawling is used to discover new content, while web scraping is used to extract specific data from websites.

Here’s a more detailed explanation of the difference between web crawling and web scraping:

Web Crawling

Web crawling is the process of automatically discovering new resources (such as web pages, documents, files, etc.) by following links from existing resources. Crawling is commonly used by search engines to discover and index new content.

For example, when you perform a search on Google, the search engine uses web crawlers to discover new web pages, index their content, and add them to the search engine’s database.

Web Scraping

Web Scraping is typically used to obtain data that is not readily available through other means, such as APIs.

For example, you might use web scraping to obtain data about products (such as prices, reviews, etc.) from an online store that doesn’t have an API.

Core Differences:

  1. Web Crawling is the process of automatically extracting information from websites using software programs called web crawlers. Web Scraping is the process of extracting specific information from websites using software programs.
  2. Web Crawling can be used to gain a general understanding of the content of a website. Web Scraping can be used to extract specific information from a website.
  3. Web Crawling covers the entire website, while Web Scraping is limited to the information that is specifically requested.
  4. Web Crawling is typically performed by search engines in order to index websites. Web Scraping is typically performed by individuals or organizations in order to gather specific data.

5.Web Crawling is generally allowed by website owners. Web Scraping may be considered illegal if done without the permission of the website owner.

So, web crawling is used to discover new content, while web scraping is used to extract specific data from websites.

“Web Scraping VS Web Crawling ” which is better to use

Web crawling can be useful for collecting data from websites that have a well-structured hierarchy and are easy to navigate. Web scraping can be useful for extracting data from websites that are more difficult to scrape, such as those that require login credentials or have javascript-based content.

Final Word

There is no clear winner when it comes to web crawling vs web scraping. They both have their own pros and cons. Web crawling is faster and can be used to gather large amounts of data, while web scraping is more accurate and can be used to target specific data.