There are many ways to gain information or data from the internet. Of those many ways, two of the most popular ones are namely web crawling and data scraping. Although you might often hear people using the terms almost interchangeably, the reality is far from this misconception.

Data Scraping Vs Data Crawling
While both web crawling and data scraping are essential methods of retrieving data, the information needed and the processes involved in the respective methods are different in several ways. Whereas scraping is preferred in some cases, crawling is the go-to option in others. You can opt for either, depending on what kind of information you’re looking to dig up.

However, in order to decide which method is best suited for your needs, it’s crucial to understand them individually, and then make an informed decision to post your evaluation. Let us first explore what data crawling and data scraping entail.

What is Data Scraping?
Data scraping is defined as collecting data and then scraping it. It extracts data directly from a page or a website.

Do note that data scraping doesn’t just pull data from the web; it collects it from wherever the data resides. It may include spreadsheets, storage devices, etc., anywhere, where data is present in any form.

This process is needed to filter and separate various types of raw data from different sources into something usable and insightful. Data scraping is much more precise than data crawling with what it collects. It can pull things out, such as commodity prices, and harder to reach details. One of the minor annoyances of data scraping is that it can result in duplicate data. Because the method does not exclude this from the various sources from which it extracts the data.

Data scraping services are capable of carrying out actions that cannot be carried out by software crawling tools, including javascript execution, submission of data formats, defying robots, etc.

What is Data Crawling?
Data crawling digs deep into the World Wide Web to retrieve the data. Think of crawlers or bots, scavenging through the Internet to figure out what’s important to your search. Crawlers are working on an algorithm to obey the instructions. Web browsing systems run a lot like Google or Bing. Links to several different sites accompany the crawling cycle. Crawlers are scraping data in this process. Not only do they browse through pages, but they also gather all the relevant information that indexes them in the process. They also look for all links to the related pages in the process.

To conclude, we may say that data crawling purpose is to deal with massive data sets where you build your crawlers (or bots) that crawl to the deepest of the web pages. Data scraping, on the other hand, refers to the extraction of data from any source. More often than not, irrespective of the methods involved, we refer to the retrieval of data from the site as scraping, and this is a significant misunderstanding.

Data Crawling Vs Data Scraping
Regardless of what people think, there are quite a few differences between data crawling and data scraping. While some are subtle, the others are pretty big and evident. Listed below are some of the major differences Data Crawling Vs Data Scraping

1. The first and most important difference between the two is that while data crawling can only be done with information received from the web, data scraping does not always have to be associated with the web or the internet. Scraping can even be performed by extracting information from a database, a local machine, or a mere “Save as” link on a page. Therefore, while crawling is limited to web scraping has a broader spectrum.

2. There is an abundance of information out there on the internet. More often than not, this information gets duplicated, and multiple pages end up having the same data. While the bots don’t have any means of identifying this duplicate information, getting rid of the same data is necessary. Therefore, data de-duplication becomes a component of web crawling. Data scraping, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily involve data de-duplication.

Also Read: Data Mining vs. Machine Learning: What’s The Difference?

3. Web crawling is a more nuanced and complex process as compared to data scraping. Scrapers don’t have to worry about being polite or following any ethical rules. Crawlers, though, have to make sure that they are polite to the servers. They have to operate in a manner such that they don’t offend the servers, and have to be dexterous enough to extract all the information required.

4. In web crawling, you have to ensure that the different web crawlers being employed to crawl different websites don’t clash at any given point of time. However, in data scraping, one need not worry about any such conflicts.

Both scraping and crawling are data extraction methods that have been around for a very long time. Depending on your business or the kind of service you’re looking to get, you can opt for either of the two. It’s essential to understand that while they might appear the same on the surface, the steps involved are pretty different. Therefore, research the processes carefully before you decide on the one that best suits your requirements.

Services for Businesses Are Required
To understand which of the two is ideally suited to your business needs, one must obtain qualified advice to ensure that secure and legal data extraction is carried out with care and accuracy. It is important to the success of your business that you use the best web-based crawling tools available today. This way, you don’t have to waste long hours that result in a poorly done job that includes facing legal difficulties. If done correctly, by the people who know what they’re doing, these programs will give you the important support you need to get ahead in your industry.

A lot of people don’t understand the difference between data scraping and data crawling. This ambiguity results in misunderstandings as to what service a client wants. We hope to bring an end to this uncertainty here. Please feel free to add to the comments section below.

Also Read: 10 Reasons Why Web Scraping Is Good For Your Current Business Growth

To recap, the important data scraping vs. data crawling differences: crawling means going through the data, and analyzing it while scraping means downloading the data. As far as terms web or data are concerned, if the term web is used, it includes the Internet. Unless it consists of word data, the Internet does not necessarily have to be involved in the crawling activities.

Data scraping is necessary for a company, whether it is for the acquisition of customers, or business and revenue growth. The future of data scraping looks promising too. As the Internet becomes the key starting point for companies to gather information, more and more publicly accessible data will be needed to scrape to get market insights and keep ahead of the competition.

If you want to know more about data extraction solutions or are already interested in data scraping. And want to launch your data/web scraping project, please get in touch with us today.

Author's Bio: 

Hir Infotech is a leading global outsourcing company with its core focus on offering web scraping, data extraction, lead generation, data scraping, Data Processing, Digital marketing, Web Design & Development, Web Research services and developing web crawler, web scraper, web spiders, harvester, bot crawlers, and aggregators’ softwares. Our team of dedicated and committed professionals is a unique combination of strategy, creativity, and technology.