On the surface, web scraping seems like a simple enough task. You just need to find sites that contain valuable data, such as company contact information, stock prices, sports betting data, etc., and start extracting it from them. Easy as pie.
Of course, that’s only at first glance. If you need to scale up your scraping efforts and process massive amounts of data with the help of bots, you’ll run across a few issues.
Namely, your IP address will quickly get flagged by sites as suspicious, and your access to them will subsequently be denied. If you want to get around this small but significant problem, using a reliable proxy service is the simplest way to do so.
Find out how proxies simplify your web scraping processes and learn how to choose the right proxy service for your needs.
About web scraping and proxies
Web scraping works in a somewhat similar way to regular browsing. You need information from a website, so your device connects to said site and requests the necessary information. The site processes the request and sends the information back to your device.
In the meantime, the site also reads your device’s information – your IP address to learn where you’re from, your device’s hardware and software information, cookie information, and more. It does so to better understand its visitors, improve targeting and marketing, and prevent unauthorized access. (fabulouseyebrowthreading.com)
When you’re WebScraping.AI manually, the site might recognize you as a regular visitor (depending on the scraping volume). However, if you’ve automated your web scraping efforts, most top-rated websites will immediately notice.
After all, your scraper bots will be bombarding them with hundreds if not thousands of information requests a minute, so it will become pretty obvious. Your bots will quickly come across more CAPTCHAs and similar security measures before your IP address gets banned altogether.
To bypass these issues, you’ll need a reliable proxy service.
With a proxy, your device sends the information request to the proxy. The proxy then relays the request to the site, the site sends a response to the proxy, and then the proxy sends it back to you. Since your device never comes in contact with the site directly, the site cannot read your information.
Moreover, to prevent bans and blocks, the proxy provides fake, changing IP addresses, allowing you to scrape in peace.
Main proxy types and what they are used for
When you start searching for your preferred proxy service, you’ll find that not all proxies are made the same. There are several different types, all suitable for different uses.
The main distinction is between public, shared, and private proxies.
Public proxies are most commonly free as they come with no advanced features. They have a small library of IP addresses that get rotated between users, and they tend to be slow as they’re used by countless users simultaneously. Most commonly, you’d only use them if you want to bypass simple geo-restrictions – they’re not a good choice for scraping.
Shared proxies are slightly better. As their name suggests, you’d still share servers with other users, but the traffic is more evenly distributed, so they tend to be faster. They’re a common choice for hiding your IP address and increasing your security while using P2P sites.
Private proxies are much more advanced (and more expensive). You get a server and all its resources to yourself without sharing them with anyone. You’ll get better bandwidth, greater speed, and more advanced features such as kill switches if the proxy’s server goes down. They’re the best option for web scraping.
Datacenter and residential proxies
Proxies can also be divided into different categories based on their IP types, so you’ll come across datacenter IP and residential IP proxies.
Datacenter IP proxies are cheaper and faster. They provide you with fake IP addresses hosted in data centers for data center servers, as the name suggests. They tend to belong to the public or shared proxy category, so they could be slower if there are multiple simultaneous users.
Residential IP proxies offer real, authentic IP addresses that belong to private households. They’re not quite as common, so they’re significantly more expensive. A subtype of residential IPs is mobile IPs. Functioning similarly to regular residential proxies, they make your traffic seem like it’s coming from a mobile device.
The benefit of residential and mobile IPs is that they’re less likely to get blocked since they make your web traffic seem like it’s coming from a unique, genuine source.
Factors that influence choosing a proxy
When choosing your preferred proxy service, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- The price – avoid free proxies as they are less reliable;
- The number of users – private proxies give you more resources and more control over how the servers are used;
- Speed – although proxies will always be slower, choose those that offer speeds comparable to a regular connection;
- Server location – if you want to bypass geo-restrictions, make sure that your proxy has servers in the right locations;
- Reliability – choose proxies that guarantee higher uptime, and come with safety features that will keep you protected if the servers ever go down.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s always better to pay a bit more for proxy services that are more dependable and come with better features. Check out Oxylabs for more information.
Choosing the right proxy type for your web scraping efforts can make all the difference. Test out a few different options to see what works for you, and start scraping like a pro.