Web Scraping With API – What, Why, and How
API in web scraping is a recent combination that is making high waves because of its far-reaching implications and copious benefits. APIs are the core of every modern-era application and are preferred because of their ability to integrate communication abilities into the applications and software. Recently, they became a viable means to scrape the web at large.
Web-scraping APIs have become so popular recently that many organizations have stopped using conventional web-scraping procedures and have started using web-scraping APIs.
Have you tried it?
Do you know how to use web-scraping APIs?
What are the capabilities of web scraping APIs, and how it’s different from customary web scraping?
If you don’t know the answer to these questions, try this post, as we have solved them.
Learn more about web scraping and all its aspects with the following articles:
- Is Web Scraping Legal?
- Excel Web Scraping Solutions To Try Out Today
- Proxies For Web Scraping – Know Your Best Options
What Is Web Scraping API?
Let’s start understanding the basic meaning of web scraping API. To do so, you need to know what API is. API or Application Programming Interface is what application/software requires for communication.
In literal terms, it’s a contract between two or more software they adhere to while exchanging data. It features rules and regulations software must follow while interacting with a specific system/application.
In short, API acts as an entry point to a particular system/software. Because of their ability to carry data and forward it to the desired location, APIs have paved their way in the world of web scraping. An API is a viable solution to many web scraping hassles when used for web scraping.
A web scraping API is nothing but an API used for web scraping. Structure-wise, it’s the same as regular API. Web scraping API will allow web scraper software to connect with any web page or website you want to use to extract the data.
Interested web scraping API users will make a connection request, define the URL they want to use for scraping, set the proxy, and pre-define the data they want to extract. Web scraping API will carry this information request and act accordingly. The response is saved in a JSON file.
Web Scraping and Web Scraping With APIs – The Difference
Now that the basic meaning of web scraping API is clear, let’s try to find out how it’s different from conventional web scraping.
The issue with customary web scraping is that it gets blocked easily. It fails to bypass CAPTCHA, IP address blocking technology, and often has difficulty accessing dynamic websites. It happens because IP address rotation isn’t possible with old-fashioned web scraping. But, web scraping with API is far more advanced and hassle-free as:
- Bypassing the IP blockage as every best web scraping API uses rotating proxies and changes the IP address with each request.
- Effective CAPTCHA dealing is possible as web scraping APIs generally automatically rotate the proxies. In addition, they also modify the user-agent, wait time, and device details. This way, it’s easy to access a website that features CAPTCHA.
- Using fingerprinting techniques to make you look like a different person each time you make a data access request.
IP address-related articles:
- How to Get a Fake IP Mask Your Online Presence in 4 Easy Steps
- How to Hide My IP Address: All Ways Explained 
Pros and Cons of Using Web Scraping API
Before you start using real-time web scraping API, you need to weigh its pros and cons to know what you’re getting. Let’s start with the pros first.
With the best web scraping APIs, you ought to experience benefits like:
Web scraping APIs are highly flexible and ready to be paired with any tool or solution you’re trying to use. You can easily take any application or tool on board and simplify your web scraping process.
Customizing your web scraping process is possible with web scraping API. Everything from web calls to web scrapers can be modified as per your requirements. With the help of web scraping API, it’s possible to modify the features of any tool and software and align them with your scraping goals.
With Python web scraping API or any other web scraping API, there is no dearth of built-in scraping solutions. You have facilities for IP blocking, CAPTCHA bypassing, IP address rotations, proxies, and many more that will alleviate your entire web scraping experience at every stage.
Huge time saving
With web scraping APIs, you’ll save a lot of time as you don’t have to be involved in construction, installation, download, or any other time-consuming jobs. APIs are offered as plug-and-play solutions.
Pocket-friendly web scraping
With the best web scraping API, it’s possible to save huge web scraping operational costs as you can pay according to the number of requests you make. There is no need to pay a lump sum amount and block your money. Also, as their development and operations are not too complex, you don’t have to have a seasoned developer team.
Speedy web scraping
Introducing API will speed up the entire web scraping process as there is no latency. Also, Google web scraping API extracts a massive amount of data in no time.
Sounds interesting, right? Yes, the benefits the best web scraping API brings are undoubtedly lucrative. But you’re not going to experience all of them with free web scraping API. Only premium-grade web scraping APIs will manage to pull off these.
Also, you must understand that no web scraping API is flawless. They have certain flaws like:
In certain cases, like sentiment analysis and reviews and comments analysis, a Google web scraping API will extract data in raw form. Raw data isn’t human-readable, and one has to invest effective efforts to convert it into a user-friendly format.
Converting the raw data into consumable form requires high-end skills and competency. Hence, you should always have the help of a seasoned programmer if you’re using a free web scraping API. The process is not only complex but also tedious.
Web scraping API, free or paid, works better with integration. The more integrations one has, the better the functionality of an API. However, bringing more integration onto the table can sometimes be too pocket-pinching. Also, it can lead to obvious operational complexity.
If you’re using an advanced Python web scraping API, be ready to invest too much effort and hard work, as advanced APIs are complex to handle. However, their offerings and functionalities are hard to match.
You can get rid of web scraping even if it’s pretty challenging. Hence, you need to play smart and find ways to make it easier than ever. Web scraping APIs are here to make this happen.
We understand that web scraping API handling can be a bit daunting for beginners. But, once you manage to have a knack for it, we promise you that you’ll experience unmatched operational supremacy at every front.
- A Crisp Guide On Web Scraping Tools [List Included]
- Web Crawling v/s Web Scraping: The Key Differences To Understand
- Proxy v/s VPN – Know The Basic Differences Between These Two Security Tools
Yes, it is legal to scrape APIs as long as you’re not scraping password-protected and copyrighted APIs. What data an API carries will eventually come to you. Hence, you’re not barging into any copyrighted information.