Software Technology

5 Tips for Using Puppeteer Like a Pro

Developed by Google, Puppeteer is useful software for ensuring automation testing to help developers select the right tools for their projects. It is also one of the best free tools for web scraping to collect valuable data for price comparison, search rankings, and keyword analysis.

On the downside, Puppeteer is a complex tool, and some developers may not find it helpful for automation testing because of its nature. Fortunately, this short puppeteer tutorial can help you get the most of a Puppeteer tool and use it like a pro.

What is a Puppeteer?

A puppeteer is a NodeJS library that Google developed to control headless Chrome or Chromium, Chrome’s open version, with its high-level API. Ideally, this web scraping tool is an improved version of the models that Google had previously produced, including PhantomJS and Selenium. It helps to automate the Chrome browser to perform website tests.

This open-source headless mode is designed with a headless mode, operating as code in the background. This means that it requires fewer resources to run it. Plus, it is better in speed and stability and has been equipped with new features and security updates.

Puppeteer is quite different from Selenium in that it has a simple Javascript execution, network interception, and testing handling of failed requests. It also supports prominent features like web scraping, performance testing, screenshot testing and allows easy automation. You can read the article here to learn more about all of the steps a puppeteer tutorial goes through.

Top Tips for Using a Puppeteer to Scrap the Web

Although a Puppeteer is an effective web scraping tool, there are several tricks that you should know about using it to make your operations successful. Here are five tips to help you work seamlessly with your Puppeteer.

1. Using a Proxy

A proxy may prove useful when scraping a lot of data from a single website. This is also true if there are IP-based rules since the website will monitor the number of times you visit the site using one address. Consequently, your website will be blocked, and you may encounter errors like the 400 status code.

Fortunately, the right proxy service will help you retrieve relevant information without getting blocked. The proxy provider will assign you a different address that you can use to access these websites, minimizing the likelihood of blocks.

If you are launching a Puppeteer, ensure that you use the address assigned as an array object as shown below:

“proxy-server= <address>”

However, an issue with launching Puppeteer is that you need to set the proxies at the Browser level rather than the page level. This means that each page will use the same proxy. Otherwise, you will need to use a proxy-chain module to use different proxies for each page.

2. Use it in Headless Mode

A good thing about a Puppeteer is that you can easily activate it in headless mode. An advantage of this is that it won’t render the pages, eliminating the need for many resources to operate it. Activating your Puppeteer in headless mode also helps prevent an error that can occur when launched in non-headless mode.

To do this, you need to include the phrase “headless: true”

3. Don’t Open Unnecessary Tabs When Launching Puppeteer

While you may be tempted to open a second tab during your launch, this is a mistake that can affect the performance during web scraping operation. Instead, it is highly recommended to refrain from opening unnecessary tabs when launching the browser. If Puppeteer launches with an open page, you can get the objective of that page by doing the following:

Const page = (await browser. Pages () ) [0]

4. Set a Valid User Agent

A user agent software helps you get around browser-based restrictions by tweaking the string sent through HTTP headers. It acts on the user’s behalf to retrieve data and ensure end-user interaction with the content.

When using a Puppeteer, a user agent can help you get past restricted content since it makes it difficult for websites to detect your scraper. It changes your browser configuration so that the webserver is deemed to believe that you are using a different browser.

Ultimately, this can enhance your browsing experience. You can set the user agent using the setUserAgent() page.

5. Use the Correct Screen Resolution

The other trick for using a Puppeteer like a pro is setting the right screen resolution. Of course, this varies with the type of device you use to scrape data, whether it is a mobile phone or a desktop website.

You need to use a mobile phone’s screen resolution to scrape a mobile site. On the other hand, a desktop resolution will do well for desktop websites. Generally, 1366×768 is a popular screen resolution used when web scraping.

To set this screen resolution, go to the page:

.setViewport()

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has been helpful if you wonder how to use Puppeteer like a pro. By following these tips, you will enhance your Puppeteer workflow so you can scrap with ease.