Why Proxies Are a Must for Web Scraping?

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Headlines: Using proxies in web scraping is crucial. It’s a necessary part of the process to make it work. Here, we’ll discuss the main types of proxies and their main features for more added information. 

When browsing the internet or visiting a website, your IP address becomes visible to the website you are visiting, but a proxy server hides it for you. To non-IT people, the word “proxy server” may be an alien term. 

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In a literal sense of the word, proxy means someone who acts on your behalf. In the World Wide Web, proxy service does almost a similar function. When you are browsing the internet, a proxy acts as a conduit between you and the website you are visiting.

When you are viewing a page using a proxy service, the IP address is visible to the website you are visiting the one provider by the service.

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Aside from the general function of the proxy, it also has many other functions, such as:

  • Firewalls – It shields the user’s IP address from the destination, thus providing privacy. It prevents the capture of user’s identification
  • Content filters – it blocks or filters unwanted ads, suppresses pop-ups, and disables cookies.
  • Access to any website – For example, some websites are restricted in your country. You can still browse the website because it will not be detected through a proxy server.
  • Security – Although your security depends on the proxy server you have, proxies protect your computer from malware.
  • Sharing internet connection –you can use a proxy server to channel to all your devices for a more efficient internet connection.

Why Proxies are a Must in Web Scraping?

Web scraping is a process of extracting data from websites by lifting the HTML code and storing it in databases. If you copy and paste content from the internet, you are basically doing a simple web scraping. 

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However, if your line of work has something to do with collecting tons and tons of data, you need a ‘web scraper.’ It is an application programmed to visit websites and retrieve relevant information. It makes data collecting a lot easier. Web scraping is also very important for companies who are involved in data analytics. 

How Can I Get a Web Scraper?

If you have knowledge of coding, you can make your web scraper. Otherwise, some scrapers can be purchased, and some are free. Some of these software companies offer free web scraping tutorials such as Python, PHP, or JavaScript. Chrome Web Store also has a Free-Web Scraping software extension.

The Role of Proxies in Web Scraping

Now that you know the basics of proxies and web scraping. Let us go back to our main question—why are proxies a must in web scraping? Your guess is as good as mine; proxies are important in web scraping to protect your identity as a data collector because a proxy service disguises your IP address to prevent it from being blocked.

Here are some of the benefits of proxies to web scraping:

  • It reduces the chances of your ‘bot’ being caught and lessens your fear of being banned or blocked.
  • It enables you to mine information even from sites with ‘geo-block content.’ Geo-blocking is the method of banning users from a specific geographical location from accessing a website, thus the term geo-block.
  • It allows you to access a large volume of information without being banned.
  • It allows you to have unlimited concurrent sessions to the same or different websites.
  • It has the mechanism to bypass anti-scraping measures.

Proxy Options: Residential or Datacenter?

Residential Proxy

This IP is intended for private residents, and it is hard to get. That is why it is more expensive. Suppose you use this option as your proxy. In that case, your real IP address will be concealed, and you will be assigned a different IP address called a residential IP address. The best feature of residential IP is the assurance that no information associated with you will be made available to all the websites that you visit. 

Datacenter Proxy

If you are looking for a web crawling solution for your business, Datacenter IP is the most obvious option. It is the commonly used type of proxy because it is cheap. Unlike residential IP, the datacenter IP is not owned by an ISP. Therefore, it is less secure than residential IP. 

Once you use the datacenter IP, your true home IP address will be hidden, and only the datacenter proxy provider is visible. Even if it is not as effective as residential IP, it still provides the necessary functions of shielding your identity. Plus, it is cheaper and has more providers.

Final Words

Having an effective proxy for your web scraping activities is like having the best of both worlds. Retrieving a large amount of your needed data can never be more secure with a proxy server to serve as your personal security guard on the internet.

While many proxy service providers are in the market, it is crucial to do great research before buying. It’s better to start with bigger industry players, like Oxylabs, since they are reliable and offer great customer service. 

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Cameron James Connor
He has worked with various business magazines like Business Today Outlook as a freelancer before joining the team. She is an addicted reader of self-help books, fiction, and journals.

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