Web scraping with proxies has become an industry standard for data collection and harvesting in the digital business landscape. The modern data-driven virtual environment requires business organizations to use various methods for beating competitors and appealing to wider audiences.
Since they constantly need data to fuel their operations, digital businesses use web scraping techniques to gather data for shaping their visions and accomplishing goals. However, competitor websites and target data sources won’t take kindly to your web scraping efforts.
Without proxies, you might face challenges such as IP blocking and bandwidth throttling when the target websites detect your scraper bots.
Thankfully, a proxy server is an excellent solution for avoiding anti-scraping mechanisms. It hides your identity, masks your IP, and allows you to access any content on the web.
What is web scraping?
Also known as data harvesting or data extraction, web scraping refers to the process of crawling the web, targeting websites, and extracting data from the target data sources. It’s a technique for extracting top-class data from any data source on the web.
In web scraping, you use the scraping bots to crawl pages, identify data, and extract and store it within a database in a preferred format for later processing and analysis.
Web scraping is an ideal data harvesting technique for various applications, such as market and competitor research, SEO, price comparison, and web analytics.
Thanks to web scraping technologies, you can extract and collect data from any website and export it into an API, spreadsheet, or central local database for in-depth analysis.
What is a proxy?
A proxy or a proxy server is an intermediary between the web and your internet-enabled device. It acts as a protective layer and third-party provider that reroutes your online traffic through its servers in different locations.
Instead of your actual IP, target websites will see the proxy server IP address and grant you access to their content. Proxies are perfect tools for scraping web data as they provide advantages such as:
- Higher requests volume
- Blanket bans prevention
- Large-scale scraping operations
Web scraping problems and how proxies solve them
Numerous recurring issues may indicate that you need proxies for your scraping tasks.
While scraping web data might be one of the most effective data gathering methods for collecting business-relevant information from the web, your web scraping tools may run into numerous obstacles.
Fortunately, proxy servers can help you conquer these obstacles. Here are five signs you might need a proxy service for your scraping strategy.
1. Constant web changes
The ever-evolving digital business environment requires businesses to update their websites and blogs frequently. These updates and changing website structure pose a challenge for your web scrapers.
Web scrapers exist to complete specific tasks. They can’t interact with the programmed parameters if websites continue to change their structure.
Proxy servers can conquer this challenge by accurately and automatically detecting changes in website structures and adjusting scraping bots accordingly.
2. Connection throttling
A slow internet connection can impede your web scraping operation and prevent you from extracting data from the web.
Sending too many IP requests can alert your ISP and target websites to trigger anti-scraping protection such as bandwidth throttling and IP blocking.
Aside from making your scraping bots virtually undetectable, proxy servers can speed up your connection and allow you to obtain the required data.
3. IP tracking and blocking
IP tracking is the easiest way for a target website to detect and ban your web scraper. Websites use various detection methods to ascertain whether the IP is a bot or a real human user.
When you send multiple requests from one IP address within a short period, the target website might block your IP due to inhuman behavior. Websites also do this to avoid overloading servers.
A proxy server can help you solve this by rotating your IP address and adjusting the frequency and number of requests per time unit. Websites also trigger anti-scraping measures when they detect scraping bots from another region. Let’s say you want to scrape a website in Indonesia.
Since its content isn’t available in your area, you can use the Indonesia proxy service to route your request through its server, bypass geo-restrictions, and access the required content. Read more about Indonesia proxy servers.
CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. It’s a defense mechanism that allows websites to determine whether the internet user is a bot or a human.
When a website detects suspicious activity, it triggers its defense by providing tests, such as eq\uations, fill-in-the-blanks, and degraded images, that only a human can solve.
Since scraping bots can’t solve CAPTCHAs, you can use proxy servers to rotate IPs, change location, and adjust the delay time in-between sessions to avoid triggering the mechanism.
5. Log in
Top-grade websites and social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook only grant access to the content after you log in. Your scraping bots must complete the logging process to scrape such websites. However, scraping bots can’t mimic human behavior.
Thankfully, proxies can simulate actual human behavior and conquer this challenge.
Web scraping is an effective way to collect the required data from the web and fuel your business operations to get ahead of the competition. However, web scraping tools require proxy server solutions to conquer challenges and bypass anti-scraping measures used by target websites.
Proxies make your scraping bots virtually undetectable so that you can gather data from the target data sources without interference.