Curl is a command-line utility mostly installed on macOS, Windows, UNIX, and Linux systems. It’s a powerful web scraping tool developers use to move data to and from a server. But to collect data responsibly with Curl, you must learn how it works and how to use it with a proxy server. That way, you can perform web scraping tasks from your local machine avoiding third-party bandwidth constraints and time limitations.
Benefits of Web Scraping With Curl and Proxies
With the Curl command, you can connect to a remote server, capture its content and store the results in a file. This Curl with proxy example web scraping tutorial demonstrates using this tool with different proxies in a local practice environment. You’ll need appropriate Curl-supported library functions to download content from remote servers and store it locally.
Curl lets you collect a website’s source code and return the scraped content to your local machine.Curl web scraping offers many benefits, including robustness and greater flexibility. It has its fair share of shortcomings, too, but you can mitigate most of them using proxies. The main benefits of using Curl with proxies for web scraping are the following.
Many websites maintain private directories, which you can’t scrape directly. Instead, you have to use an intermediary server, like a proxy, to parse the locked content. A proxy lets you hide the origin of your traffic so that automated systems that scan the web for known scrapers won’t unmask your identity. Some proxy servers have functions to remove identifying information from your traffic, such as cookies and user-agent.
Curl web scraping tool works with various proxy servers, including residential, rotating, and data center servers. Websites that lock data to limit scraping activities have powerful automated systems that can detect scrapers at every stage of their operation. In other words, they can detect scraping bots when they’re connecting to web servers, get the corresponding responses, and lock data away from them.
Proxy Server Support
Many website owners have locked and privatized their content such that scraping bots cannot access and scrape data. Sadly, some web scraping tools don’t support as many proxy servers as Curl. Curl works with virtually every proxy to bypass restrictions that limit the number of requests you can make.
Curl’s CURLOPT_PROXY environment variable supports all proxies, even those which are hard to work with. Also, Curl has a built-in feature to counter slow processing issues common with CPU-intensive proxies.
Curl is a highly customizable command-line utility capable of overcoming most problems that the built-in support for proxies cannot address. The level of flexibility provided by Curl is unmatched. Besides working with multiple proxies, it supports various other functions. Benefits of using Curl with proxies include:
- You can control the IP addresses and domains you can access
- HTTP requests go through the right proxy, delivering a higher level of security
- You are not limited to how many requests you can make. You only hit the target that you want
- You are not required to create a proxy config file since Curl does that automatically
Curl is a widely-used tool in the web development community to test web pages and scrape resources like HTML, XML, and JSON (JSONP) files. It uses HTTPS/HTTP protocols and allows you to adjust multiple parameters to make requests in many formats and avoid authentication issues.
Proxies supplement the robustness of Curl, enabling it to access all kinds of services without protocol limitation issues. Curl takes all HTML code as input and displays it on your terminal window when you try accessing web pages. Pairing it with a proxy solves such issues as it allows it to display the whole page on your browser window while passing only a request through them. These and many more features make scraping websites with Curl easy and pain-free.
There are many ways you can scrape data with Curl. You can use many extra variables when running this tool when you need to extract specific information or save your output file in a specified file. You can also use Curl with other programs, such as AWK, Grep, and Sed, to manipulate and extract the data you want.
Lastly, there’s no denying the importance of proxies during the scraping operations you can conduct with Curl. Thanks to them, you can enjoy greater privacy, more flexibility, better robustness, and broader general support to ensure your data-acquiring projects always succeed.