Web crawling is a process of automatically accessing and extracting large amounts of information from websites. It’s an essential part of many data-driven applications, including search engines, price comparison sites, and market research platforms.
Crawling the web can be a complicated and time-consuming task, so it’s no wonder there are so many myths and misconceptions surrounding it. You can check RemoteDBA.
In this article, we’ll debunk some of the most common web crawling myths and shed light on how crawlers really work.
Myth 1: Web crawlers are simple programs that just follow links
One of the most common misconceptions about web crawlers is that they are simple programs that just follow links from one page to another. While it’s true that crawlers do-follow links, there’s a lot more to it than that.
Crawlers are actually sophisticated programs that use a set of rules, or algorithms, to determine which pages to crawl and how often. These rules take into account factors such as the structure of the website, the number of outgoing links on a page, and the frequency with which a page is updated.
Myth 2: Web crawlers index everything they find
Another common myth about web crawlers is that they index everything they find. This simply isn’t true. In reality, crawlers only index those pages that they think are relevant and important.
How do they decide which pages are relevant and important? That’s where the algorithms come in. Based on a number of factors, the algorithms determine whether or not a page is worth indexing. If a page is deemed unimportant, it will be skipped over by the crawler.
Myth 3: Web crawlers visit websites randomly
Some people believe that web crawlers visit websites randomly, but this isn’t the case. In reality, crawlers follow a very specific set of rules when they crawl the web.
These rules are designed to ensure that the crawler visits each website in a systematic way and doesn’t miss anything important. As a result, the order in which websites are crawled can actually tell us a lot about how the crawler works and what it’s looking for.
Myth 4: Web crawlers are always up-to-date
Another common myth about web crawlers is that they are always up-to-date. This simply isn’t the case. While crawlers do try to stay up-to-date, they can only crawl the web so fast.
As a result, there will always be a gap between the time when a page is first published and the time when it is first crawled. This gap can be anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks.
Myth 5: Web crawlers index everything on a page
Yet another common myth about web crawlers is that they index everything on a page. This, too, is not true. In reality, crawlers only index those elements of a page that they deem to be important.
What exactly is considered “important”? That depends on the crawler and the algorithms it uses. However, generally speaking, important elements include things like the title, headings, and body text. Images and other media are typically not indexed.
Myth 6: Web crawlers understand natural language
Some people believe that web crawlers are able to understand natural language, but this is not the case. Crawlers are programs, not humans, so they can only interpret the code that makes up a website.
They cannot interpret human language such as English, Spanish, or Chinese. As a result, they can only index those pages that are written in code.
Web crawlers play an important role in the functioning of the internet. However, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about how they work. In reality, web crawlers are programs that use a set of rules to determine which pages to crawl and how often. These rules take into account factors such as the structure of the website, the number of outgoing links on a page, and the frequency with which a page is updated. Crawlers only index those pages that they think are relevant and important. And while they do try to stay up-to-date, there will always be a gap between the time when a page is first published and the time when it is first crawled. Finally, web crawlers are subject to errors and bugs, just like any other program. However, most of these errors are relatively minor and do not have a major impact on the overall functioning of the crawler.