Web scraping allows quick extraction of data from several websites.
Several businesses use it for brand monitoring, data enrichment, lead generation, and for performing marketing analysis at scale.
However, it would be best to choose a proxy for web scraping to keep your identity safe and boost your network performance.
This article will discuss what proxies are, why you should select a proxy and the different types of scraping proxies to choose for your exact web scraping needs.
What is a proxy?
A Proxy is a type of server that acts as an intermediary between you and the internet.
All your internet browser requests are sent to the proxy server, which then forwards it to the requested address. Similarly, the requested data is sent to the proxy server, and the proxy forwards it back to you.
In simple words, you can think of proxy as a tunnel that acts as a gateway between you and the internet.
Why do you need a proxy for web scraping?
Web scraping is generally done using a tool known as the web scraping bot or scraper.
A scraper can browse a website a hundred times a day, leading to suspicious browsing activity that scraper detection tools, resulting in an IP ban.
Obviously, you do not want your web scraping bot to be detected by the information server.
Hence, it would be best to have a proxy server to keep your scraper anonymous because your original IP address remains hidden.
What are the main reasons to use proxies for web scraping
IP rotation of the crawler is needed to keep your scraper incognito. A proxy server helps you do that. Here are some of the top reasons for using a proxy for web scraping:
- It would be best if you browsed sites whose contents are geo-restricted. For example, if you wish to scrape a website that specifically offers content for the US audience from the UK, you will need a proxy server to do that. Not only this, with the help of proxies, but you are also free to choose any location of your choice as offered by your selected proxy server.
- You do not get banned by the website because they can’t detect that you are using a web scraper.
- You have plenty of IP addresses to choose from, even residential IPs with the lowest detection chances.
- Proxy offers you increased reliability and fast speeds to get your task done within the shortest possible time.
Different proxy types
Now, let’s discuss the different types of proxies available for web scraping:
1- Datacenter proxies
Datacenter proxies are not affiliated with any Internet Service Provider (ISP). These are the most commonly used proxies for web scraping because of their value for money and faster response times.
You also have the option to choose private datacenter proxies that are used by a single person at any time. Such proxies offer a significant boost in response times.
Datacenter proxies are suitable for business intelligence and competitor scraping because it generally involves working with many proxies.
Since datacenter proxies are cheaper, they offer the best solution for bulk scraping needs.
2- Residential IP Proxy
The risk of getting detected using a datacenter proxy is relatively less, but if you wish to zero in your chances, then residential IP proxy is the best fit for you.
Residential IP proxies come with legitimate IP addresses that won’t get you blacklisted from websites. In the case of a datacenter proxy, the website owners can detect that it belongs to a datacenter and not an ISP.
However, in the case of a residential IP proxy, the IP address belongs to an ISP. Hence, even if the website owner detects your IP, it will still look like a real person is browsing their website and not a scraper since the IP belongs to an ISP.
3- Static Residential Proxies
Static residential proxies are the best of all the proxies used for web scraping. It offers you complete anonymity using a static residential IP address and offers you blazing-fast speeds associated with datacenter proxies.
Hence, you can assume static residential proxies to be a combination of datacenter proxies and residential proxies. If you are engaged in scraping with a high chance of blacklist or IP ban, you should go with static residential proxies as it offers the highest anonymity levels.
How to manage your proxy pool
A proxy pool is a system that controls the use of proxies. Web scraping requires you to work with several proxies since using a single IP address increases an IP ban’s risk.
The proxy pool manages your proxies set by rotating it intelligently so that your IP doesn’t get banned quickly.
Before you begin web scraping, it is recommended to keep your proxy pool ready. Regularly shifting your IPs makes it easier for you to concentrate on your work while making it harder for websites to track your IP.
Several proxy pool services offer you a variety of proxies to choose from. However, you should choose a proxy service that provides a pool of quality proxies like rotating residential proxies.
How to prevent getting blacklisted while scraping
There are higher chances of IP blacklisting while scraping the web. Here are some of the best ways to prevent getting blacklisted while scraping:
- Use an IP rotation service that offers you a collection of IPs to scrape the web. This will avoid sending so many requests using the same IP address and keep your IP safe.
- Set a popular user agent for your web scrapers like Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, Samsung, and others. Doing so will trick the website into believing that you are visiting their website as a real user. Generally, scraper bots forget to display a user agent and are easily caught.
- Avoid obvious scraping patterns like scraping the website 24 hours a day because a regular user would never do that.
- Add a referrer like Google, YouTube, or Facebook to your request so that the website owners know where you are coming from. This will make identifying your request more straightforward, and the website will feel you are a real user.
- Some intelligent webmasters add honeypot traps to detect crawlers and bots. Your scraper tool and proxy should avoid falling into such traps by browsing the website as a real user and avoiding clicking on hidden links.
How to Pick The Best Proxy type for your web scraping project
Selecting a proxy service for your web scraping project is the most challenging task because all the proxy services might seem similar to you. To make your selection more easily, ask these questions to yourself:
- What is your need? Why do you want to use a proxy? If you wish to scrape large amounts of data, you will probably need a proxies pool. If your scraping requirements are limited, then you should choose a datacenter or static residential proxy.
- What is your budget? If you have a small budget, then a datacenter proxy might be the best solution for you. However, if you can afford a proxy pool with residential IPs, then you should go for them.
- Do you know web scraping software? If you don’t have the required experience to maintain the proxy logic, you should use a proxy rotator.
- Do you have the time to manage the proxies? If you can’t spare time to scrap yourself, consider outsourcing the task to a company.
There are several proxy providers available in the market. You must choose the perfect one based on your exact needs and have answered all the above questions carefully.
Companies that leverage data to make business decisions have the upper hand over their competitors. The web is a treasure house of data. Web scraping is an essential technique to extract relevant data from large websites to meet your business goals. However, it should be done respectfully. I hope this guide will help you to choose an ideal proxy for all your web scraping needs.