We are living in a data-driven world where most businesses rely on a multitude of data to provide the right products or services to their customers. Gathering such enormous data has become a completely separate industry called web scraping. It means gathering data from public platforms.
However, large-scale scraping operations have multiple challenges, IP bans and rate limits being the major two of them. Proxies help web scrapers gather data efficiently. Among various types of proxies, residential proxies are one of the top choices for data scraping. If you are looking for best residential proxies, you should check this list.
What Is Web Scraping?
Web scraping refers to collecting publicly available data from websites. For example, someone can extract price data from Amazon or posts and reactions of a specific social media account. It can be done in two ways. The first one is manual scraping, which is slow and tedious.
Automated scraping requires various tools that can make numerous requests to the same website in a very short time. But it raises suspicion. Websites are strict about scraping and appoint preventive measures to keep these tools off the coast. This is where proxies come into play.
What Are Proxies and How Do They Work?
You might have heard about IP addresses. Each device connected to the internet is assigned a set of digits. This set is known as the IP address. When you send a connection request from the device, the request carries the IP address. So, web servers know where to send the reply.
In web scraping, using the same IP address is risky. Websites will ban IP addresses that send enormous requests within a short period. Proxies are IP addresses that belong to data centers or other users.
When you use proxies, your requests are routed through the proxy server. The proxy server masks your original IP address and assigns a new one. So, web servers can’t detect where the request is coming from. This is how you gain leverage by using proxies. But, not all proxies might be of the same use in web scraping. Let’s tell you more about that.
Types of Proxies
You will commonly see three different types of proxies. Here is a detailed overview of them.
- Datacenter Proxies
Datacenter proxies are the cheapest options. Cloud service providers offer huge pools of datacenter proxies, so you can easily rotate proxies for large-scale scraping operations. But the problem is that datacenter proxies are often vulnerable to IP bans. Web servers might recognize them as proxies, so they will prevent the IP from accessing their websites.
- Residential Proxies
These are the IP addresses of individual users. For example, if a user consents to use their IP address as proxies, proxy service providers can let you use their IP addresses. When you use such a proxy, your request will appear to be from the physical address of that user. It is very effective in web scraping, as these are IP addresses of real people. So, the web server can’t easily detect them as proxies.
- Mobile Proxies
Mobile proxies are similar to residential proxies except that they are bound to mobile devices. You can use these proxies if you perform web scraping from a mobile device.
What Are the Benefits of Proxies for Web Scraping
Proxies provide a long list of benefits in web scraping. Here are a few of them.
- Avoiding IP Bans
With proxies, you can send scraping requests from different IP addresses. This prevents websites from profiling all requests to be from the same user. So, the web server is less likely to ban the IP addresses. And you can continue to scrape data in peace.
- Accessing Location-Specific Content
Sometimes, you need to access data that isn’t allowed in your physical location. But with proxies, you can change your location to a city or country where the content is allowed. So, scraping that data becomes much easier with proxies. Residential proxies are more suitable for this.
- Large-Scale Scraping
Websites often have crawl rate limits. It indicates how many requests can be made from the same IP address or location. When you use proxies, you can overcome this hurdle and send as many requests as needed. This is helpful when you scrape a lot of data.
- Maintaining Anonymity
Proxies hide your original IP address, so you can remain anonymous while scraping data. This extra layer of security is much needed in proxy operations.
For successful web scraping, you need to learn how to make the best use of proxies. Before that, you should choose the right proxy for your purpose. As residential proxies are more convenient, you can choose them for web scraping. Check the best residential proxies and compare them to get the best service possible.