As for data collection, today all companies seek to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. For this reason, techniques are constantly being sought to carry out this task and obtain reliable data in the shortest possible time.
Today we can talk about web scraping or data scraping. And although there is software that performs this activity, programming languages can also be used. In fact, we will focus this article to explain how to do data scraping with PHP.
What is scraping or data scraping
First, we can review what web scraping (or data scraping) is. Data scraping refers to the extraction of data from a website. This information is collected and then exported to a format that is more useful to the user. Either a spreadsheet or a API. Then, the user who obtains this information – called scraper or “scraper” – loads the complete HTML code of the page in question.
Data Scraping Benefits
Mainly, companies or private users carry out this activity since collecting data can be quite a tedious task. With web scraping, you can exponentially increase the speed at which data is collected on the web to fill out a list of important influencers, for example.
With data scraping, an Excel sheet can be filled with just one click once everything is ready to run. The problem that could arise is that the data collected is not the most accurate. That’s why you need to make sure you buy web scraping software or have the necessary skills to do this with a language like PHP.
Is data scraping illegal?
Web scraping as such is not illegal. Startups love it because it’s a cheap and powerful way to collect data without the need for partnerships. Big companies use web scrapers for their own benefit, but they also don’t want others to use bots against them.
For example, a travel agency sued a competitor who had “removed” prices from its website to help the rival set its own prices. However, the judge ruled that the fact that the site owner did not agree to this scraping was not enough to make it “unauthorized access” for the purposes of federal hacking laws.
There are cases where legal proceedings have been made. However, we can comment that the activity is not illegal at all as long as the copyright and particular interests of each company are respected.
One way to verify that this activity is legal is to visit, for example, price comparison websites. In these services, a web scraping service is usually used. But clearly the data that was collected does not affect companies such as Amazon, Aliexpress or airlines since users are guided to their pages or the payment in case of purchasing a product through a third party will reach the provider.
How to do data scraping with PHP?
This guide will introduce a manual web scraping method where you send a bot to a web server and collect data using PHP as the underlying programming language. This is the opposite of using a fully automated data collection tool that can make the process simpler and faster.
The web scraper will work by sending an HTTP request to the server and then collecting the code from the website. Later, we will show you how to analyze the recovered information. View the link below to learn the entire process to make data scraping with php.
Automated data scraping
In some cases you may prefer to require the help of software to perform this process. When this is the case, you can count on the professionalism of Brightdata. Brightdata is the world’s largest data collection platform dedicated to helping all businesses see the Internet as their consumers and prospects do every day.