How to Tell if a Website is Scrapable

Feb 20, 2024 ยท 2 min read

When building a web scraper, an important first step is determining if a website can actually be scraped. Some sites have protections in place that prevent scraping. Here's how to analyze a site to understand if it can be scraped.

Check the Robots.txt File

The robots.txt file gives directions for scrapers. Locate it by going to The file will tell scrapers which pages they can and can't access. If the site doesn't have a robots.txt file, it likely can be scraped but check for other protections.

View the Page Source

Right click on the page and select "View Page Source." Look through the source code for signs the site owners want to prevent scraping. For example, the code may contain comments asking scrapers not to access the site or user-agent directives blocking all scrapers.

Check for CAPTCHAs

Many sites use CAPTCHAs to prevent bots from submitting forms. If you see CAPTCHAs on forms you want to access, it will make scraping more difficult. There are ways around them but it adds complexity.

Test Scraping a Page

Try writing a simple script to scrape some data from a page. If you get blocked quickly, the site likely has protections against scraping. If you can retrieve data without issue, that's a good sign the site is scrapeable.

The best way to determine if a site can be scraped is to try it. Start small by scraping a couple pages and seeing if you hit any roadblocks. If all goes well, you can likely scale up and build out your scraper further.

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curl ""

<!doctype html>
    <title>Example Domain</title>
    <meta charset="utf-8" />
    <meta http-equiv="Content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1" />


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