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Definition

spider

A spider is a program that visits Web sites and reads their pages and other information in order to create entries for a search engine index. The major search engines on the Web all have such a program, which is also known as a "crawler" or a "bot." Spiders are typically programmed to visit sites that have been submitted by their owners as new or updated. Entire sites or specific pages can be selectively visited and indexed. Spiders are called spiders because they usually visit many sites in parallel at the same time, their "legs" spanning a large area of the "web." Spiders can crawl through a site's pages in several ways. One way is to follow all the hypertext links in each page until all the pages have been read.

The spider for the AltaVista search engine and its Web site is called Scooter . Scooter adheres to the rules of politeness for Web spiders that are specified in the Standard for Robot Exclusion (SRE). It asks each server which files should be excluded from being indexed. It does not (or can not) go through firewall . And it uses a special algorithm for waiting between successive server requests so that it doesn't affect response time for other users.

This was last updated in April 2005
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