The one who owns information owns the world. This is even more true if we speak about the world of business. That is why web scraping has become a handy tool, enabling companies to access necessary data in a matter of seconds. Though there is something that may increase web scraping effectiveness — proxies. What are they, and how could they benefit your business? Read below.
What are proxies?
A proxy server is an intermediary between your device and a web source you try to reach.
Just as you have a physical address in the real world, your device also has one on the web. It is called an IP address.
When you browse online, sites see your IP, making it easy to track the activities of their visitors or restrict them from accessing a website or a certain page.
Among other things, IP tracking is widely used to block web scrapers. Since your IP can give away information like an organization name, city, and even postal code, it is easy to understand if requests come from a real human, from a company, or from a crawler, an AI-based algorithm used for web scraping. In other words, it is obvious when you try to scrape, and it takes seconds to prevent you from doing so.
That is when proxies come into play. If you use them, you connect not to a website directly but to a proxy server. It changes your IP, and sites see that of a server and not yours. This way, you can “hide” yourself behind a real human’s IP and avoid being banned.
Why are proxies good for web scraping?
Web scraping is the process of extracting data from sites. When you need a lot of information, it is impossible to collect it using the “copy” and “paste” options. If you scrape, you quickly get all the HTML code of pages, and then you can structure it and use it. At the same time, because you make a lot of requests and reveal your IP, problems may occur while scraping, for example:
- geo-based restrictions
- IP blocking
- sites do not allow scraping
- viruses and malware
How can proxies help you scrape successfully?
- Your IP reveals your location, so it is impossible to reach a website if it is not allowed to be visited from your region. When using proxies, you can choose a necessary location and bypass geo-based limitations.
- Scraping bots send thousands of requests to a target site within a short period of time. If you make many requests with the same IP, chances are high that a site will suspect you are behind a DDoS attack or other harmful activities. Because of this, you would, at the very least, have to repeatedly prove that you are a human by ticking endless captchas. Or you risk being banned from that source, and you will not be able to collect the necessary data or reach that page again. While using proxies, you send requests from different IPs — as if from different devices, locations, and time zones. Sites would never suspect you, ask you to enter a captcha, or outright ban you. Still, you would have all the data you needed.
- Your competitors are probably aware of the web scraping technique as well. While it is completely legal and you collect only publicly available data, they may still wish to prevent you from doing so by setting up some limitations. If they suspect you are trying to scrape, they might ban you. Proxies can help you overcome this obstacle as well.
- The Internet is full of information, but not all of it is safe. While scraping, you visit a lot of pages, and it may be dangerous to leave footprints of your real IP because, in this way, you expose yourself to viruses and malware. With proxies acting as a gateway between you and your end sources, you are provided with an additional layer of security against harmful software.
Use cases for proxy services
Where can you use proxy servers for web scraping to get good results? It works practically for every industry. Let’s take a closer look.
Proxies for travel and hospitality
To offer your clients the most reasonable prices for tickets, accommodation, and entertainment, you have to keep track of every offer and discount from different places in a lot of countries. You cannot afford to risk being banned from web sources because you need that information to have something to offer and to stay competitive. Using proxies, you are able to bypass geo-based limitations and get structured data without being blocked or having to search manually.
Proxies for real estate
As long as all people need a place to live, there will be no weekends for real estate companies. Every day, you have to deal with hundreds of offers to meet your client’s needs in terms of prices and parameters. If you use proxy servers, you can reach more sources and have more options to offer. The important thing is that you do it fast because you do not have to worry about proving that you are not a robot or other issues.
Proxies for consumer goods companies
If you produce goods, you have to take a lot of things into consideration: compare prices, search for suppliers, pay attention to reviews, predict trends, monitor news, and develop your PR strategy. An analysis is a necessity for you, but you need to have accurate information for it. It is impossible to google tons of sites every day to know about prices or to read every new review. Combining web scraping techniques with proxies, you will have the fullest information about your market niche, reach every location, and face no limits.
The same goes for other industries as well. If your potential clients have a lot of choices for the same product or service, you have to be two steps ahead and monitor all of them. That is how you can stay competitive. Everything that could help you get more information sooner is worth your attention. Proxies are on this list.
How to choose proxies for web scraping
There are a lot of proxy providers. How do you choose the right one for you?
Of course, your choice depends on your needs. Yet there are several key aspects to pay attention to while choosing a provider. Let’s discuss them.
- Number of locations
The more locations a provider covers, the better for you. It means that you can reach more places and have a fuller picture of the market, and customers’ needs. There are 195 countries in the world. You will not find a company to provide you with proxies from every one of them, but the number should be close to it.
- Legal issues
Some companies provide a lot of proxies, but they do not set any limits, i.e., their clients can visit phishing sites, malware sites, hacking sites, conduct illegal activities like sending spam or get involved in gambling, fraud; etc. Sites blacklist those IPs. Once an IP address is blacklisted, it becomes useless. You will not receive any results for your business if you use such an address — the main point of using proxies is to avoid being banned. That is why you should choose a company that cares about legal aspects and restricts its users from visiting unwanted sources or committing crimes.
- Human support
You do not need to know how to code to use proxies. It is quite a simple tool to implement. Yet there are situations when you may need help. That is why you should find a company that provides 24/7 human support. It is a guarantee that any possible issues will be solved quickly, and you will care about your business and not how to install an app.
At DataImpulse, you can find not only reliable proxies for your business but also a tool that may help you carry out high-quality market research and increase your profit.
- 194 locations
There are 194 countries with proxy servers available for your needs — no data would escape your attention.
- No blacklisted IPs
We pay attention to laws and do not allow the use of our servers for illegal activities. It means that you have “clear” IPs that work, and you can collect the necessary data.
- Custom approach
Sometimes situations occur when we have blocked a particular source, but you need it. You can contact our support team, and we will check the site. If it is not illegal, you will get access.
- Pay-as-you-go pricing model
That is simple: you pay only for the service you use. For example, you want to buy 50 GB of proxies. You buy, and there is no time limit for usage. That is not a subscription plan when you can use traffic only within a particular time period.
- Human support
You can contact us and get help 24/7 — even at night, on weekends, or holidays.
Originally, DataImpulse started as an in-house project. We have been scraping the web using our own service for more than nine years already. We are the first to test our software. You can be sure that you will get an effective instrument for your business needs.
In the evolving world of business, you have to act fast. Yet there is a way to be two steps ahead and secure your sleep — a proxy server. Combined with the web scraping technique, it helps you get data from thousands of sources in different locations. At DataImpulse, you can find proxies for your business needs, get 24/7 human support, and fit into your budget with our pay-as-you-go pricing model. Contact us by clicking on a widget in the bottom-right corner or email us at [email protected] for details or to ask questions.