Daniel
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October 9, 2019
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How to scrape WordPress sites

Do you intend to scrape posts or pages from (your) WordPress sites? This tutorial is meant for you. In this post, we’ll be showing you how to safely scrape contents whether pages or posts from WordPress sites.

WordPress is widely regarded as the internet King of CMS (Content Management Systems) across the internet. This is due to some thrilling statistics by WordPress. For instance, over 60% of websites on the www is built by WordPress. Besides that, WordPress has themes for all kinds of virtual websites. 

However, several WordPress site owners who intend to migrate their site’s content across web hosts or domain names are faced with the dilemma of scraping contents from their WordPress sites. Also, the traditional method of copying-and-pasting contents from WordPress sites is tedious and prone to diverse errors and fallibility. Hence, it is essential to scrape WordPress websites effectively by using automated methods.

If you intend to scrape your WordPress site, follow through this tutorial with apt attention and apply the technologies which will be enumerated below to enjoy the scraping process.

Why you should scrape WordPress Sites?

WordPress CMS is the most popular CMS in the world which can be used to build websites. Unlike other CMS, WordPress has a steep learning curve which makes it both easy and fast to learn. Both professionals and non-professionals alike can make use of WordPress to design their preferred website choice.

On the other hand, website owners and webmasters alike may decide to scrape WordPress websites for several legal reasons, some of which includes:

  • To save time, efforts, & energy: WordPress website scraping is applicable in saving time and energy during the website building process. In the case of WordPress site revamp or migration of WordPress content under one domain name to another, automatically scraping those WordPress contents whether pages or posts can eliminate the need for copy-and-pasting the contents.
  • To eliminate content distortion: Distortion of images, posts, or even pages may occur while copying data from WordPress sites by using outdated methods. However, by using automated WordPress site scraper tools, you can retain the WordPress contents in their original form without distortion.
  • For Brand Monitoring: Apart from scraping WordPress pages or posts, WordPress scrapers can also be used to scrape comments on blog posts across the WordPress website. In essence, you can scrape your comment pages or reviews comments to be able to monitor the public perception of your Brand’s website built with WordPress.
  • To create content syndication sites: Some WordPress content scrapers copy contents from other sites and then republish it on their sites for oblivious reasons. It is highly recommended that you seek approval from the origin site before copying their WordPress contents. Moreover, Google, Bing, and other search engines heavily penalize sites that do so.

In essence, WordPress content scraping without authorization is more or less a digital theft; therefore, you must ensure you have the approval of the WordPress site owner before scraping. This is an important legal aspect you must consider in WordPress scraping.

Now, let’s proceed to scrape contents off WordPress sites.

How to scrape WordPress Sites

Many WordPress site owners are unaware of the possibility of scraping contents off their websites. WordPress CMS is no doubt a simple CMS; however, certain WordPress fields are scary for the inexperienced WordPress user. Besides, there are two methods applicable in scraping WordPress sites, i.e using WordPress Plugins and web scraping tools.

How to Scrape WordPress sites using WordPress Plugins

WordPress CMS is built with PHP programming language. On the other hand, WordPress plugin is software pieces that are written in PHP, JavaScript, etc. which are then integrated seamlessly with WordPress sites. The purpose of WordPress plugins is to extend the basic WordPress functionalities on the platform.

In the same vein, there are dedicated WordPress plugins that facilitates scraping across WordPress websites. By using such WordPress plugins, you can easily scrape contents from your WordPress sites which can either be stored in a separate digital space or transferred to another WordPress site.

Some of the notable WordPress Scraping Plugins includes:

1. WP Scraper

WP Scraper is highly recommended for scraping WordPress sites. This WordPress plugin allows you to copy content from WordPress sites directly to your WordPress posts or pages. Besides, this plugin is available as either Free or Pro version (with extended capabilities). Also, you can download it from the official WordPress repository.

Here’s what to expect from WP Scraper:

  • Visual-friendly interface for selecting content
  • Images are imported directly to your media library.
  • Simply add the website URL and start grabbing content
  • Populate elements such as featured image, title, categories, and tags
  • Save scraped content as draft, page, or post
  • Remove unwanted CSS, iframes, or even videos from content
  • Remove hyperlinks from the content.
  • Post to a specific category.
  • And more

2. WP Content Crawler

Unlike WP Scraper, this WordPress plugin is not available on the official WordPress plugins repository. With WP Content Crawler, you can scrape posts, news, etc. from any of your favorite sites for syndication on your WordPress site.

Here are the perks of using WP Content Crawler:

  • You can create a content syndication site
  • Compatibility with WooCommerce for selling products from shopping sites
  • You can scrape plugins, themes, images, apps, etc. from other sites.
  • And more

3. Scraper – Content Crawler Plugin for WordPress

This is another interesting WordPress plugin you can make use of. It allows you to build your scraping model for copying contents automatically from any WordPress site. Besides, Scraper is compatible with other non-WordPress sites sources such as Booking.com, Pinterest, Instagram, Alibaba, IMDb, eBay, Reddit, and more.

Here are some features of Scraper:

  • Visual Editor
  • Scraping Templates
  • Attributes Scraping
  • Content Translation
  • Content Spinning
  • Conditions (Exclude some posts, etc)
  • And more

4. WordPress Automatic Plugin

One of the most downloaded WordPress scraping plugins available on CodeCanyon. This plugin facilitates content scraping from both WordPress and non-WordPress sites without distortion. Also, you can auto-post contents from any platform such as Clickbank, YouTube, Amazon, eBay, Envato, Careerjet, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, etc. Supported contents that you can scrape include feeds, articles, products, videos, images, mp3, and more.

5. Octolooks Scrapes

This is another WordPress content scraper plugin designed with a user-friendly interface for the best user experience. You can easily set up your scraping model whether single, serial or feed scraping.

Besides, you can scrape multiple WordPress websites at the same time in a controlled scraping operation.

How to Scrape WordPress sites using Web scraping tools

Several web scraping tools can be used to scrape contents from websites; however, some of these tools are not effective in scraping WordPress sites due to the complexity of the WordPress CMS.

Nevertheless, there are some recommended web scraping tools which can be used for WordPress site scraping, some of which includes:

  • Octoparse

Octoparse is an easy-to-use web scraping tools applicable for WordPress scraping activity. Besides, Octoparse is cloud-hosted; therefore, you can scrape WordPress contents on the platform equipped with the automatic IP rotation tool. 

On the other hand, you can easily build your web crawlers which you can use for scraping contents from both WordPress and non-WP sites. Also, you can automate, manage, and schedule your WordPress scraping process without hassles.

  • Parsehub 

Unlike Octoparse, Parsehub is a free web scraping tool that comes with a graphic web interface. Also, it is powerful and flexible enough to scrape contents from both outdated and latest websites most especially dynamic websites such as WordPress.

Besides, it comes with a desktop application which makes it ideal for users with little scraping knowledge.

  • Scrapy

Scrapy is an open-source framework that is used for extracting data from websites. It works in a fast, yet extensible way. Several Scrapy experts have been known to combine this tool with Python to scrape both generic and specific contents from WordPress sites.

  • Beautiful Soup

Beautiful Soup is one of the popular Python packages which can be used for parsing HTML and XML documents. Just like Scrapy as well, you can combine Beautiful Soup with Python 2.7 or Python 3 to scrape pages from any WordPress sites.

How to bypass anti-WordPress Scraping Tools and Techniques 

WordPress CMS is reputable for its security state; hence, there are continuous efforts by the open-source community to maintain its complexity. 

One of such efforts is the provision of anti-WordPress scraping plugins which are available in the WordPress plugins official repository. These plugins prevent unrecognized crawlers as well as WordPress scrapers alike from scraping contents from the WordPress websites. 

Some of the techniques utilized by the Anti-WordPress scraping plugins include:

  • Frame Breaker: Block Frame calls/Iframes
  • Block Pinterest: Blocking images from being “pinned”
  • E-mail obfuscation: convert email addresses to images
  • Bot Detection: limit the number of webpages a particular IP can view per minute
  • Feeds: Turning off feeds on WordPress site or feeds delay
  • Captcha Solving
  • Online session control
  • Bots blocking
  • And more.

Nevertheless, these techniques can block several WordPress scraping tools from accurately copying contents from WordPress sites. However, the easiest workaround to evading such menacing anti-scraping tools and techniques is to use proxies before attempting scraping operations.

On the other hand, ProxyRack has one of the largest numbers of proxies in the world. Boasting of over 2 million proxies, you can bypass any kind of proxy-blocking technology while scraping WordPress sites. Besides, ProxyRack facilitates unlimited bandwidths; therefore, you can enjoy scraping without limits.

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