Scraping web data in real time from websites is of paramount importance for most companies. It’s usually the case that the more up-to-date information you have, the more choices available to you. In this article, we’ll talk about what is real-time scraping and why it is important, also the best web scraping tool for you.
What Is Real-time Web Scraping
“Is it possible to scrape websites in real time, continuously with Python?”
You may sometimes have the same question on Quora about web scraping. Actually, it is possible but requires a high ability to deal with the data in a large amount no matter you’re using Python coding ways or web scraping tools. The real-time web scraping asks for extracting data from websites once the website data is updated. So, it’s easy to get blocked by the site or server. But for some industries, like Finance, getting real-time data is really important for their business.
Why Need to Scrape Data in Real-time
Scraping real-time websites can help support immediate decision-making. For example, if a company sells clothes online, the company’s website and customer service center need to know the most up-to-date data on inventory to prevent orders for items that are out of stock. If an item has only 5 in stock and the customer tries to purchase 6, or if a customer order is canceled due to the style/color/ size of the item were unavailable, the customer can be notified and re-select another similar product, and a company can thus discover the best sellers online. But not all departments of the company need real-time data. Most companies can achieve their business goals by looking at long-term trends such as weekly or monthly business performance reports and annual comparisons. Similarly, the Finance department may need real-time data to analyze economic indicators or to make a budget vs. actual comparison.
Scrape stock data in real time
Another example to note is to scrape stock data in real-time from financial information sites such as Google Finance, Yahoo Finance, etc. To make investing easier, you need to get real-time stock quotes including stock price today, earnings and estimates, and other investing data displayed on many online information providers. To get the latest stock data and value of a company’s stock, you need to stay on top of this website, keep an eye on these stock information and take immediate actions to the sudden changes of stock data to ensure your investment performs to expectation. The internet makes the process of scraping stock information easy, fast and free. It’s easy to scrape the stock data from these sites and make it available for your purpose of reusing it.
Best Real-time Web Scraping Tool Without Coding
There are some important conditions to help you scrape real-time data from any website. Before beginning, we want to introduce the no-coding asked web scraper tool first – Octoparse. It works for both Windows and Mac systems, you can easily download and install it on your device and sign up for a free account to use. Let’s learn how can Octoparse helps us scrape real-time data from the following aspects.
Scrape real-time data with APIs
Once you collect the data scraped, you want to have the data in hand by seamlessly connecting the scraped data to your machine. API (application program interface) is a way to make that happen by enabling an application to interact with another system/library/software. An API allows you to control and manage the data scraped – you can make a request for the data crawled and integrate them with your machines.
Imagine that you are ordering two salads at McDonald’s drive-thru window (API), you will get the two salads (Data) at the exit after you’re done the ordering. There is an electronic board for drivers to choose the food they want to order and you will see the bill after completing the order. Similarly, when you request data via an API that is cloud-based whenever you want, you just make API calls and will get the data stored in the cloud immediately.
How to automate this process of scraping website content in real-time and get the information as you requested? Octoparse and its web scraping API would be your best choice. It can build API integration that you will be able to achieve two things:
1. Extract any data from the website without the need to wait for a web server’s response.
2. Send extracted data automatically from the cloud to your in-house applications via Octoparse API integration.
Octoparse has two types of API. The first one is the Standard API, which can do all the works I mentioned above. You can use it to extract data into a CRM system or a data visualization tool to generate beautiful reports. The second API is called Advanced API. It is a superset of the standard API which does everything standard API does. Better yet, you can access and manipulate data stored in the cloud. As the data-driven business model has become more popular, people without coding knowledge are expected to use different tools to extract data. If you are frustrated in using an API as well, you will find great value in Octoparse as its integration process is easy.
With both standard and advanced API, you can easily get Octoparse data connected to your database and retrieve extracted data, and they support a JSON format to export. The difference is also significant. With the advance API, you can manage your tasks from your end instead of Octoparse by adjusting the parameters of the tasks.
Real-time scraping with IP proxies and rotation
Except for API, Octoparse also provides IP proxies and IP rotation to avoid IP blocking. There are many free and paid proxy servers available around the web, more IPs generally mean less likely to be traced/detected, hence less Captcha. Learn more about IP Proxies to help you scrape real-time data smoothly.
Cloud service and scheduling task to scrape data in real-time
You can schedule a task in Octoparse to scrape the real-time websites hourly/daily/weekly/monthly. And connect the data scraped to your environment via the scraping API. Cloud extraction will help you scrape data automatically once you set the crawler scheduled. What’s more, you can get the scraping data faster than the local mode as it has IP proxies and rotation. Learn more about cloud scraping via this Octoparse cloud scraping tutorial.
With Octoparse, you can directly access all the real-time scraped data from scraping millions of websites on the Internet for your purpose of reusing it.