Why Scraping Websites Requires The Use of Proxies

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A proxy server: what is it?

A proxy serves as a bridge between end users and the internet/websites. It effectively serves as a gateway via which users can browse online pages without using their own IP address.

When a person connects to the internet using a computer, the computer assigns itself a unique address known as an IP address. Instead of connecting directly to the internet, a proxy server redirects the connection through a proxy server, which controls the requests/traffic before contacting that website on your behalf via its own IP address.

The most common reasons for using proxies are internet security, load balancing, and privacy.

Now that you know what a proxy is, let’s look at why it’s necessary for web scraping.

What makes a proxy necessary for web scraping?

From the perspective of a webmaster, sending traffic to a website from a single IP address in rapid succession appears to be an attack. As a result, websites will always have procedures in place to block/restrict or prohibit IP addresses that are suspected of attacking their website. Proxies are the most convenient approach to controlling web scraping traffic. Proxies can be used to anonymously distribute requests and scrape.

Proxies aren’t really necessary for small-scale web scraping. However, proxies are required if your web scraping requirements are more sophisticated, such as requesting data from specified areas or large-capacity scraping.

Types of Proxies

There are various proxy types for web scraping, depending on the use cases

  • Mobile Proxies
  • Residential Proxies
  • Data Centre Proxies
  • Specialized Proxies

Advantages of utilizing proxies for web scraping:

1. Prevent blocks/IP bans

Utilizing a proxy has a number of advantages, one of which is that it prevents your IP address from being blacklisted. Crawl data restrictions and several other anti-bot detection strategies are becoming increasingly widespread on today’s modern websites. These prevent scarpers from making too many queries to their sites. Using a pool of proxies to transport data through many IP addresses, on the other hand, will assist you in preventing things like rate limits.

2. Assistance with heavy scraping

Proxies are the best practice technique to scrape a website for high-volume scraping applications where the time it takes to retrieve the data from a website is critical. Using a large proxy pool allows you to perform parallel sessions, which increases the pace at which the data is scraped.

3. Access to location-based information

Some websites do not accept visitors from other countries. They enable region-specific content, only displaying content based on your IP address’s location. You will be able to access that content by using proxies from the required location. Obtaining price data in many currencies is a common example of this in e-commerce.

4. Browse in privacy

Because of the nature of web scraping, you probably don’t want to expose your device’s identity. If a website recognizes your identity, you may be targeted with adverts, your private IP-specific data may be tracked, or you may be prohibited from visiting the site. Using a proxy allows you to utilize the proxy server’s IP address rather than your own.

Frequently asked questions :

Do I need a proxy for web scraping?

Web scrapers hide their identities by routing their traffic through proxies, which make it appear as if it came from legitimate users. Web users often resort to the usage of proxies either to conceal their personal information or to access websites that are blocked in their own countries due to the existence of a censorship system.

How many proxies do I need for scraping?

To determine the number of proxy servers that will be necessary, divide the total output of your web scraper (number of requests per hour) by the criterion of 500 requests per IP address per hour. This will give you an estimate of the number of unique IP addresses that will be required.

What are proxies used for?

A proxy server, also known simply as a proxy, is a server that acts as an intermediary between an end user and the server of a website or another service. Proxies can be implemented in either software or hardware. Proxy servers are utilized for a variety of purposes, including those relating to efficiency, privacy, and security.

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