Let’s say you’ve just gotten yourself some web scraping software. You’re all ready to start combing the internet for valuable data. Before you do, though, you’ll need to understand how to best gather your info.
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What Is Web Scraping For?
Web scraping is the act of retrieving data from another website by downloading and analyzing code. People typically perform scraping on a mass scale with robots and web crawlers. The tools work together to capture required information and store it in a database on your computer.
There are many use cases for web or data scraping. You could be trying to monitor a price on various online stores simultaneously or looking for leads for a product you’re selling. Scraping also helps with travel fare, news, and bank account aggregation. When used correctly, businesses will find that it offers endless benefits.
Where Do Proxies Come In?
Sometimes, companies do not like it when people perform data scraping on their websites. Many site owners implement security mechanisms to prevent it from happening. As a result, IPs caught in the act will enter a blocklist and won’t be able to access the website any longer.
What happens then? Well, you can opt to use multiple proxy servers to reduce IP blocks. This way, you’ll extract data way more efficiently. When you use a proxy, your IP remains hidden. Instead, the proxy’s IP shows up during data requests.
Proxies also come into play when you’re trying to access geographically-restricted data. For example, let’s say you’re in a country where certain websites are blocked under government law. You can circumvent the restrictions with a proxy. It makes the servers think that you’re in another location.
When data scraping through e-commerce sites, you’ll realize that an online shop with a Canada site might not display the same prices as its French counterpart. By picking a proxy service from different places worldwide, you’ll gain access to international prices.
What are the different proxy types available in the market today? There are three main categories – let’s expand on them:
The most common type of proxies is those that come from a datacenter. If you need a budget-friendly solution, these IPs are worth considering. They’re beneficial for web tracking, especially when tied with the right proxy management solution. However, do note that they do tend to get blocked.
Now that you understand what datacenter proxies are, the residential variety should be pretty straightforward. Instead of sitting in datacenters, this type of proxy belongs to private households. A residential proxy is more expensive because it’s less prone to discovery and blocks compared to a datacenter proxy.
Mobile proxies are by far the most expensive type, mainly due to the reason that they’re so hard to obtain. Plus, websites are very hesitant when it comes to blocking mobile IPs.
Another factor you need to consider when choosing a proxy is whether you should go for something public, shared, or dedicated. Let’s look at some pros and cons.
Public proxies always market themselves as being free of cost. That doesn’t mean you should hop on one, though. If your alarm bells are ringing, your spider sense is working just fine. These often come with a host of malware and other viruses, which won’t just infect your computer but will spread to your network.
Now, how do you decide between shared and dedicated proxies? Here, you’ll want to have a look at your project. How big is it? Do you have a big or tight budget? Do you need something high performing? If you need something fast and have money set aside, dedicated proxy servers will be the obvious choice. Shared proxies will do the job, but you might risk getting kicked out of sites or experience some overlapping connections.
While web scraping isn’t illegal, it does burden the sites you’re targeting. You wouldn’t enjoy your website slowing down because of bots and their endless requests, right? To get the most out of data scraping, don’t overdo it, or you’ll risk a ban before you know it. Aside from that, it wouldn’t hurt to go with one of the top providers. The vendor of your choice should be trustworthy and boast great reviews.