Why are Proxies Required for Web Scraping

  • 27/01/2023

In web scraping, what does a proxy mean?

Before you design the perfect proxy network, it’s crucial to understand what a proxy actually implies in terms of web scraping. Once you understand what it is, it will be clear how it helps you avoid obstacles.

Recalling your networking course, an IP Address is aware of your location and Internet Service Provider. This is why certain over-the-top content providers might prohibit specific content based on your location. Voila, proxy!

A proxy is the invisibility cloak that conceals your IP address, allowing you to view the data without being blocked. When utilizing a proxy, the website you’re requesting no longer sees your IP address but rather the proxy’s IP address, allowing you to scrape the web more securely.

Sounds incredibly awesome, right? How can you gain access to these proxies? The solution lies in proxy servers.

Why do we require proxy servers?

The server is located between you and the website. A proxy server offers you a proxy, typically from a pool of proxies, to crawl the web invisibly. Your traffic on the Internet is managed by a proxy server.

Why are proxies required for web scraping?

The scraping of a well-designed and well-protected website on a moderate to big scale could be quite difficult. The web server may block HTTP/HTTPS requests for a variety of reasons. Remember the 4xx and 5xx replies you receive while crawling the most popular e-commerce websites.

The most evident causes for these obstructions may be

IP Geolocation:

The Lord of the Rings, my favorite film, is unavailable on Netflix India. Now, if the website recognizes you as an individual attempting to scrape content not available in your region or as a bot, they may prohibit you from crawling their website in order to prevent server overload. If you require that information for product market research or to determine how a new product feature performs in a certain region, you’re in a bind!

IP rate limitation:

Nearly every well-designed website imposes restrictions on the number of requests from a single IP address. Once you cross the barrier, you will receive an error message and may be required to solve a Captcha so that the website can differentiate between human and automated activity. Before sending thousands of requests to scrape an e-commerce website for your next pricing prediction campaign, you should be cautious.

What should be done?

Using a pool of randomly rotating proxies is one way to circumvent these limitations. Since you are submitting requests with multiple IP addresses, there is no possibility of being blocked! This is why proxies are so necessary for scraping.

How secure are proxy servers?

Proxies and proxy servers are legal in and of themselves. But you must use caution. As long as your scraping logic adheres to website directives, robots.txt, and sitemaps, you’re in the clear. It is crucial to adhere to web scraping best practices and to respect the websites you are scraping. Use it wisely, as the note in the video suggests.

Additionally, proxies are intended to be used with care, and the choice of proxy type should be carefully considered. You can choose from data center proxies, residential proxies, and many others, depending on the website you’re trying to scrape. The issue of “various sorts of proxies” is a rabbit hole unto itself, so we will not discuss it here. However, you can learn everything you need to know in this comprehensive guide on how to utilize proxies for web scraping.

Or, if you choose to take the easy route, you may use a proxy management solution to avoid all the bother and focus solely on obtaining the data. I would strongly suggest this if you are attempting to scale your web scraping.

Frequently asked questions:

Why are proxies necessary?

Users’ internet access can be tracked by proxy servers. They can be configured to block websites with content that you deem inappropriate for kids or easily distracted workers. In case you want to monitor what your employees do online all day, you can also set them up to log every web request.

What does using proxies to scrape mean?

Proxy servers are used by web scrapers to disguise their identity and make their traffic appear to be that of regular users. Proxy servers allow Internet users to access websites that are blocked by the censorship system in their country and to protect their personal information while they are online.

How many proxies am I going to need to scrape?

You may then divide the overall throughput of your web scraper (number of requests per hour) by the ceiling of 500 requests per IP per hour to get an idea of the estimated number of distinct IP addresses you’ll require.

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