If you find some websites adverse to scraping, there’s an alternative way to access their information. Most if not all websites allow Google to crawl their content because it helps them to get visitors. This means that Google probably has already downloaded the content, most of which is available through their cache. You can use these cached pages to access the information you need. And with a trusted proxies account, you can work undetected. Here’s what you need to know about using Google cached pages for web scraping.
Accessing cached pages
There are two main ways to open cached pages.
- Go to the Google search engine and type in a relevant word or phrase, or the name of the website.
- From the search results, locate the page you want.
- Click on the triangle above the page title and then select Cached.
- In the search engine, type cache: followed by the URL of the page.
- Press Enter, which will immediately open the cached page, showing you the version of the page when it was last indexed.
Because some sites are updated frequently, Google may crawl them more regularly. So, you will sometimes have access to content that’s only a few hours old.
Request from cache
Using cached copies of websites, when possible, simplifies the process. Instead of making a request to a particular website, you make the request to the cached copy. All you need to do is to modify the request by adding the following to the beginning of the URL: “http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:”
For instance, to scrape support documentation from ProxyMesh, the request would be: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache: https://docs.proxymesh.com.
Offers great convenience
Certain websites have strict protocols to prevent scraping. Some scenarios also include a message that the the website is temporarily or permanently shut down. In any of these situations, using Google cached pages can provide an easy solution, giving you access to the data you need. You have a convenient alternative to the website.
Scraping a website always brings a risk of getting blocked. This can occur for any number of reasons, such as making too many requests or not using a good proxy server. By using Google cached pages instead of the actual website, you remain anonymous and reduce your risk. The website can’t see you or your web scraping activities, so you can go about them undetected. And you avoid overloading the website as well.
However, Google has its own mitigations in place to block bots. If you want to scrape many pages from the Google cache, you’ll need to use a proxy service that works for Google, such as Trusted Proxies.
Getting access to the information you need can sometimes be challenging, especially when confronting strict security measures on some sites. For the times when you need additional measures to succeed, making use of Google’s cached pages is a great tool to add to your scraping arsenal.
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