Ever faced geo-blocks while browsing through your Internet? Geo-restrictions are common while scraping data or surfing through global websites. However, they can easily be tackled by using residential proxies, such proxies are also needed if you’re using an API for scraping data information.
But how is API any different from web scraping? Are they both the same thing? And how using a residential proxy helps to overcome geo-blocks? Too much confusion and too many questions. Let’s start solving them step by step starting with Scraping API.
What’s a Scraping API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is nothing but a set of commands and protocols that help you gain access to the specific data information that you desire. It could be related to any OS, application, or maybe some other global internet services.
An API is simply an intermediate software that acts as a communication bridge to create a connection between two different sets of working applications. In other words, you can say that the API works like a messenger whose work is to take information from the provider and deliver it to the requester.
In general, you are the requester in this case and your internet connection or the specific Website that you’re surfing is the provider. The Web API consists of some basic set of rules that needs to be followed by the developer. So, if you wish to interact with some Website of your choice in a programming language, you’ll need a Web API.
How Scraping API is different from Web Scraping?
There is very little difference between API and Web Scraping tools. As both of the two software applications are used to achieve the same main goal and that is to access necessary online data information desired by the developer.
However, Web scraping tools are used more often to extract data information from any type of online websites. They are designed to understand programming language and convert and convey the information in user-friendly formats.
On the contrary, APIs simply lack this efficiency. APIs grant you direct access to your desired data information in an unfriendly raw format. This means you’ll probably be left with the rawest form of data which doesn’t make any sense to you because you will not be able to understand it.
How Scraping APIs Work?
Understanding how the scraping API works and helps the user might be complicated. So, let’s consider an example of a student preparing for exams. This example will make your work easier.
Imagine there is a student who’s preparing for his maths exam which is due next month. He’s sitting there between piles of papers and has made a mess of his room. Now, he’s crying because he cannot solve the given question. Although, he has his Mathematics book sitting right there on top of the pile yet he is unable to understand what’s written in it
So, after so much struggle of solving the question, the little boy stood up, went to his father, and asked him to help him with solving the question. His father took the mathematics book from his hand and helped him solve the question by explaining it to him. The boy happily sauntered back to his room and started practicing the question his father just taught him.
API is just like the little boy’s father. You might have a Mathematics book that has all the information you need but in a very typical complicated form. A format that is almost foreign to you. Therefore, you need a scraping API to get access to the given data information in a more reasonable form. A format that you can understand easily and can relate to as well.
Similarly, API works when you’re booking your flight tickets online or you’re booking cinema seats to watch your favorite movie. When you’re viewing a certain list of things from some online website or if you’re checking your result on your University Portal. API facilitates both parties to establish a communication bridge in the same manner.
APIs work in a similar manner when you’re scraping some data information using residential proxies. But it is kind of risky if caught, you might be banned from ever visiting the respective website. However, you will still be able to use scraping API for other similar interactions.