Web crawling, also known as web scraping or spidering, is the process of automatically retrieving and extracting data from websites by following hyperlinks and parsing the HTML or other structured data formats.

It involves deploying software programs called web crawlers or spiders to systematically browse and capture information from web pages.

Some examples of web crawling use cases include:

  • Search engine indexing: Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use web crawlers to discover and index web pages, enabling them to provide relevant search results to users.
  • Price monitoring: E-commerce companies and price comparison websites use web crawlers to track and monitor product prices across various online retailers.
  • Data mining and research: Researchers and data analysts use web crawlers to collect large datasets from the web for analysis and insights.
  • Content aggregation: News aggregators and content curation platforms use web crawlers to gather and aggregate content from multiple sources.
  • Lead generation: Businesses use web crawlers to extract contact information, such as email addresses and phone numbers, from websites for lead generation and marketing purposes.
  • Brand monitoring: Companies use web crawlers to monitor their brand mentions, reviews, and online reputation across various websites and social media platforms.
  • Web archiving: Organizations like the Internet Archive use web crawlers to create snapshots and archives of websites for preservation and historical purposes.

It’s important to note that web crawling should be done responsibly and in compliance with website terms of service, robots.txt files, and applicable laws and regulations to avoid legal issues or overloading servers with excessive requests.