News

Why are User Agents Important for Web Scraping?

User Agents are applications or computer programs that help users access the internet. As a program, application, or system, User Agents help you connect to websites you need to reach or access.

When you are using the internet for browsing different websites, shopping online, or sending emails using your Yahoo or Gmail account, a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.) serves as your User Agent. The internet is the network that leads you to the website you specifically have in mind (for example, eBay.com).

The example connection mentioned above is called a client-server connection. That is how the internet works. In other words, your web browser helps you access programs (e.g., Yahoo) or services (e.g., eBay) that run on a distant computer. Moreover, your laptop, which is the client, connects to a web page via TCP/IP protocols.

Most Commonly Used User Agents

Here are some of the most common User Agents:

For Chrome 91.0 system:

  • AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko)
  • Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7)
  • Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64)

For Chrome 92.0 system:

  • AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko)
  • Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7)
  • Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64)

For Firefox 78.0 system:

  • Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; rv:78.0)

For Firefox 89.0 system:

  • Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64; rv:89.0)

For Firefox 90.0 system:

  • Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64; rv:90.0)

For Windows 10 system:

  • Chrome/91.0.4472.124
  • Chrome/91.0.4472.164
  • Chrome/92.0.4515.107
  • Gecko/20100101
  • Firefox/78.0
  • Firefox/89.0
  • Firefox/90.0
  • Safari/537.36

For macOS:

  • Chrome/91.0.4472.114
  • Chrome/92.0.4515.107
  • Chrome/91.0.4472.164
  • Safari/537.36
  • Safari/605.1.15
  • Version/14.1.1

For generic Safari system:

  • AppleWebKit/605.1.15 (KHTML, like Gecko)
  • Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7)

Though these are the most common User Agents used, keep in mind that their status can change from time to time, especially when a company releases new browsers. Due to this, you can expect new UAs to emerge. It’s also for this reason why keeping yourself informed about these things is essential.

Why are User Agents Important for Web Scraping?

Before understanding the link between User Agents and web scraping, let’s first find out what web scraping is.

In a nutshell, web scraping involves taking public data needed and importing that information to your computer or a local file. This makes it an invaluable tool for developing businesses (e.g., for Market Research).

Why Use User Agents for Web Scraping?

There are instances when web servers block specific User Agents while web scraping. That often happens when a website identifies the source as a bot scraper or crawler.

More advanced websites do the opposite. For example, they only permit UAs that are reliable to execute crawling jobs. Moreover, highly advanced sites check the behavior of a browser if it matches the UA you use.

If you solve the issues mentioned by not using a UA in a request, tools will set a default User Agent. In most cases, the target web server already has that User Agent blocked or blacklisted.

Therefore, it is vital to use User Agents so that tools will not set a default User Agent that is usually considered a bot by most websites. Note that most websites will not permit you to access their content when they can identify your User Agent as a bot. Also, websites will most likely ban you.

Moreover, you must use the most common User Agents listed above so that web scraping will go unnoticed.

Conclusion

With the help of a User Agent, you can access the internet easily. That is because the target server obtains the necessary information regarding your device type, browser, software, and more. Depending on that information, web servers will let you access different website pages.

Setting up one of the most common User Agents listed above for web scraping will help lessen the probability of your target servers from blocking you. However, do take note that websites check User Agents first to determine whether a request is valid or not.

Even if you decide to neglect the use of User Agents, tools will still set default ones. Most often, websites block default User Agents for the safety of their information. Therefore, User Agents are essential for accessing and gathering required data.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button