5 Benefits of Using Scrapy for Web Crawling

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Are you looking for an all-encompassing web crawler?

Scrapy is undeniably one of the leading web crawlers on the market today. Thanks in part to the fact that Scrapy is freeware and that it’s not relatively difficult to master, it has become one of the most popular open-source web-crawling frameworks. This article discusses 5 benefits of using Scrapy for web crawling.

Among some of Scrapy’s well-known users are the Paris Institute of Political Studies’ Medialab and the leading World Government Data website, the UK’s Data.gov.uk.

So, should you go ahead and use Scrapy for web crawling? Certainly, and here are the top five benefits of doing so.

1.    Scrapy is freeware

Scrapy is freeware, and freeware means you don’t pay anything for using the service. Yes, that’s right. There are no hidden fees. No premiums. No monthly subscriptions. And that’s why millions of companies the world over opt to use Scrapy for their web crawling endeavors. Something about free stuff makes people everywhere happy. So, enjoy a user-friendly web crawling agent that facilitates your crawling expeditions and makes life easier for you.

2.    Time-tested and highly stable

Where web crawling is concerned and especially if you plan on crawling through hundreds of websites and pages, a reliable crawler is an absolute must. Scrapy has been around since 2008. Since then, it has been re-released often with a newer and more stable version. This means that the software has undergone major changes and amendments to improve it. Undertaking web crawling with an unstable crawler does nothing but cause frustrations. Choose to crawl with a time-tested and very stable tool.

3.    Scrapy is not complex to learn

Another benefit of using Scrapy is that it is not complex to learn. Scrapy’s own site is filled with resource-rich materials to help you get started on using the tool. If you don’t have time to read, there are plenty of video tutorials once again to ensure you’ve got the basics and can weave your way comfortably around the crawler. In terms of actual requirements needed to master Scrapy, we’d say a working knowledge of Python as well as familiarity with HTML and CSS selectors syntax. If you ever run into problems and need help, check out forums such as StackOverflow.

4.    Scrapy has an arsenal of tools

Scrapy is a well-equipped full framework that boasts a range of web crawling tools and neat features to manage every stage of your intended web crawling. Among some of the tools you’ll find are requests manager, selectors, and pipelines. Requests manager is a tool that takes over the downloading of pages and does so inconspicuously behind the scenes. The selectors are responsible for the parsing of HTML to extract the exact information that you’re after. Once you’ve obtained all the necessary data it can all be passed through various pipelines.

5.    Scrapy allows for complicated crawls

You may be asking yourself what if you wish to carry out extensive web crawling? Will Scrapy be able to keep up and do the job expertly? Yes. Scrapy, unlike parsing libraries such as BeautifulSoup, has been designed with these very questions in mind. As a comprehensive framework, Scrapy can undertake scraping of scores of pages and more complex crawls without a problem. As the internet has also become more complex and the need for web crawling increased, Scrapy has stepped up the game in order to be able to provide users with a solid web crawling experience.

If you need help, or want somewhere to run your scrapy crawls, so you don’t have to worry about operational details, then check out Scrapinghub. Brought to you by some of the core Scrapy developers, Scrapinghub provides a platform for running and scaling scrapy. They also provide a rotating proxy service, Zyte Smart Proxy. But you’re not limited to using their proxy service – you can also use other proxy services like ProxyMesh. Two different proxy middlewares you can use are scrapy-rotating-proxies and RandomProxyMiddleware. Both enable you to use multiple proxy servers in your scrapy crawl.