What user-agent should I use when scraping eBay?

When scraping websites like eBay, it's important to respect the site's terms of service and robots.txt file to avoid any legal issues or being blocked. eBay, like many other websites, has rules about how their site can be accessed by automated systems.

A user-agent is a string that a web browser or web scraping tool sends to a web server to identify itself. Websites may use this string to tailor content to the capabilities of different devices, or to collect analytics about the types of browsers being used. When scraping, a user-agent can also be used by websites to detect automated access.

If eBay allows scraping in certain parts of their website and you have determined that your scraping activities are in compliance with their policies, then you should use a legitimate and non-deceptive user-agent string. Here are a few guidelines:

  1. Use a Realistic User-Agent: Choose a user-agent that resembles a browser used by real users. This can be the user-agent of a popular browser like Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

  2. Rotate User-Agents: If you're making many requests, it might be wise to rotate user-agents to mimic different browsers and reduce the chance of being detected as a bot.

  3. Be Considerate: Make requests at a reasonable rate. Scraping too quickly can put a strain on the website's servers and can lead to your IP address being blocked.

Here's an example of how you could set up a user-agent in Python using the requests library:

import requests

# Example of a user-agent string for Google Chrome on Windows 10
user_agent = 'Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/58.0.3029.110 Safari/537.3'

headers = {
    'User-Agent': user_agent

url = 'https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=laptop'
response = requests.get(url, headers=headers)

# Proceed with your scraping logic here

And here's an example of setting a user-agent in JavaScript using fetch in a Node.js environment:

const fetch = require('node-fetch');

// Example of a user-agent string for Mozilla Firefox on Linux
const user_agent = 'Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:76.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/76.0';

const headers = {
    'User-Agent': user_agent

const url = 'https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=laptop';

fetch(url, { headers: headers })
    .then(response => response.text())
    .then(body => {
        // Proceed with your scraping logic here

Please remember that web scraping can be legally complex, and the use of a specific user-agent will not shield you from the legal and ethical responsibilities that come with scraping a website. Always check the website's robots.txt file (e.g., https://www.ebay.com/robots.txt) and terms of service to understand the rules and limitations they have set. If in doubt, it's best to reach out to the website for permission to scrape their data.

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