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Cost of Web Scraping: In-house or Outsource

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External web data is a crucial component the new-age business growth activities today and web scraping is the go to solution for meeting the data requirements. Know the factors determining the cost of web scraping and whether in-house crawling or outsourcing is the right solution for you.
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While there are dedicated DaaS companies offering on-demand data as per the requirements, companies tend to rely more on   in-house crawling set up. To clear the air and help you make an informed decision, here is a detailed comparison between the cost points involved in in-house crawling and outsourcing.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Web Scraping

1. Servers

Given the resource intensive nature of the process, web crawling and extraction demands high end servers that can cope up with complex tasks continuously . It goes without saying that these high-end servers would also come with a cost. The irony is that it wouldn’t make sense to invest in such servers unless you are a data extraction company yourself.

2. Proxy Services

Proxy services act as your access token while accessing websites that are geo-locked or have different versions for different locations. Subscribing to a proxy service is essential if you need to get around issues like IP blocking and location specific version issues. Since the speed of data extraction will also be impacted by the quality of the proxy service, DaaS providers use expensive proxy services.

3. Engineers and Resources

Hiring, training and retaining employees would not only incur cost, but also dilute the focus of your business. Since web crawling is complex process, it will be a challenging task to find skilled talent that can set up and execute the crawlers. Engineers will also be responsible for making changes to the setup in case of structural changes in the target sites.

4. Infrastructure Maintenance and Upkeep

Web technologies change often and such changes require updating the crawling infrastructure. Some changes could also mean upgrading different paid tools that will always remain a part of the setup. Frequent updates and improvements should also be made to the infrastructure to keep the process smooth and improve the data flow.

5. Software Tools

An extensive tech stack with efficient tools is integral to building a web crawling setup. Some of these tools come with a price tag and it adds up to the overall cost of the crawling process.

6. Monitoring Cost 

Since the web is highly dynamic in nature, ensuring steady flow of data requires continuous monitoring of the crawling setup and data inflow. To achieve this, a monitoring setup must be built and deployed which again involves labor, resources, and software cost.

7. Data QA Cost

The whole point of web data extraction is to extract high quality data from the web to serve different business purposes. The quality of data will be a huge determining factor of your ROI from the whole data project. To ensure the data quality, you will have to employ a QA personnel.

8. Outsourcing

Outsourcing the data extraction process will free your time for the core business activities that you should be focusing on. Since you are getting the data in your desired format, the only task left for you would be to plug this data into your database or analytics system and start using it.

Cost per month for 5 sites and 100,000 records while crawling in-house

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