Web Crawling vs. Web Scraping: 6 Major Differences
As of 2023, there were 5.18 billion internet users worldwide, and there are 1.13 billion websites on the internet. Internet surfing is going on day and night!
Have you ever wondered when you search anything on Google how the results are listed on a search engine results page? What techniques are used to extract the best content from these sea of pages and lists in the SERPs?
It’s no Magic!! Some data extraction methods are used to gather data from multiple web sources through data mining. It searches and analyzes a large batch of raw data in order to identify patterns and extract useful information. Web crawling and web scraping are two such methods for extracting data.
Web crawling is the process of indexing data on web pages by using a program or automated script using bots(spiders). Search engines use web crawling to extract all the information from a website and index it in their search engines.
Eg: Scrapy, Apache nut.
Web scraping, or web harvesting or web data extraction is the process of extracting of data from a website or webpage on to a new file format like XML, excel or SQL. It is an automated way of extracting specific datasets using bots called ‘scrapers’.
Eg: ProWebScraper, Webscraper.io
Even though these terms Web Crawling and Web Scaping are used interchangeably, they have many key differences. Let’s have a look:
|Web Crawling||Web Scraping|
|Indexes Web Pages||Extracts specific information|
|Crawls until it visits all the pages of the website||Need not visit all the pages of website for information|
|Needs only Crawler||Needs Crawler and Parser|
Deduplication is essential part of process
|Data- deduplication is not necessarily a part|
|Scalability is Large||Any scale|
|Used to understand web pages||Used to analyze web pages|
In summary, ‘Web crawling’ is data indexing while ‘web scraping’ is data extraction. They have different goals, so different types of applications are used for each.