It is a lot of data available online and extracting this data is not as easy as it used to be. In times past, data extraction was done by copying and pasting, but in recent times it has gotten more complicated than that. To extract data now, you would need proxies and a scraper. To ensure that the data is successfully extracted, the IP rotation must be implemented. This means more than one IP would be used in the process to prevent IP bans.
Scraping is done for different reasons and like brand comparison, market research, SEO, price comparison, etc. what is the role of proxies during web scraping, and what are the best types of proxies for scraping? Read on to find out these and more.
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How Do Proxies and Scrapers Work Together?
Proxies are intermediary servers between you and the internet that provides you with IP addresses. This way you can remain anonymous as you go about your task because the websites you visit would only see the proxy’s IP and not your own.
Normally, when you send a request to a website, the request leaves from your IP address to the website’s server. Scraping sends multiple requests in a short time and this triggers the website’s defenses, blocking your IP address. Simply put, you will be blocked before you go far if you are scraping without a proxy.
Best Types of Proxy for Scraping
There are different types of proxies for web scraping and each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
Datacenter proxies are one of the proxy types that can be used for web scraping. These proxies are purchased from datacenters and resold by the proxy service provider. A downside to their use is that since they are datacenter proxies, it’s highly likely that the proxies would be recognized. So if you are scraping strict websites using datacenter proxies, it’s possible that the websites have already blacklisted the proxies and will block you immediately.
Both residential proxies and mobile proxies are similar to each other. Residential proxies are IPs from internet connections of real people’s homes. Mobile proxies on the other hand are IP addresses from mobile networks. Unlike datacenter proxies, residential and mobile proxies are better for web scraping as they are from real people’s connections and are less likely to be detected as proxies.
No matter the type of proxy you use, a good step would be to implement IP rotation. How you use your rotating proxies makes a whole lot of difference as it can nullify all your efforts or give you good results.
By IP rotation, you have set the IP in use to be rotated to another one at a particular time interval.
Rotating proxies have an advantage over static proxies because you can rotate your IP after every request so that the web site’s server will think the next request is from a different person. This would reduce the chances of your IP getting banned and it increased the probability of a successful web scraping task.
Static proxies are like your home IP address, and all requests would be sent from the same IP.
Interesting read: The best email scraper of 2020
Best Rotating Residential Proxies for Web Scraping
Since residential proxies are from the internet connection of real homes and locations, they allow you to scrape more efficiently and are less likely to be discovered as proxies. So you get a great level of anonymity but it’s expensive.
The following are examples of rotating residential proxies:
Luminati is one of the most popular proxy service providers in the world today. They have over 40 million IP addresses from all over the world, so whatever location you are, there is a proxy nearby. Meaning your speed won’t suffer from you connecting to proxy servers far from your physical location.
Their price is where the problem is as they are not cheap. They offer IP rotation and you can choose per specified interval or request. You also have a 7-day trial period and more so in all, the high cost is worth it.
Stormproxies are also residential proxies but are a cheaper option for Luminati. This is understandable as they don’t offer as much as Luminati, but for those who can’t afford Luminati’s services, Stormproxies is the place to go. They have an IP pool of only 40 thousand proxies in the US or Europe, so if you want to connect to a location outside these two, you would need to look for another proxy.
All their packages give you unlimited bandwidth and you also have access to all 40 thousand IPs. These proxies rotate automatically every 5 minutes, so bear this in mind. There is no free trial period, and you have a 24-hour money-back guarantee.
Smartproxy is the new kid on the block but has climbed up to be mentioned among the big guys. They offer you an IP pool of more than 10 million proxies in more than 195 countries. So you have different options to choose from no matter the region you are looking to connect to. It also means you will get a server close to you to connect for the sake of good speed.
No matter the pricing plan you subscribe to, you will have access to all 10 million IPs and that’s one alluring feature of this proxy. The amount of bandwidth, sub-user number, and also whitelist limit however vary from plan to plan. There is no free trial period, but you get a 3-day money-back guarantee and proxies that are authenticated and ready to be ready with every request.
Proxyrack is another popular proxy service provider that offers you premium service. They have two categories of proxies they offer; premium and unmetered proxies.
With the premium proxy, you have an IP pool of 5 million IPs but a limited bandwidth. The unmetered proxy offers you 2 million proxies but with no limit to the bandwidth. No matter the proxy you choose, the IPs are rotated per request.
Proxyrack doesn’t give you a free trial period, but you get a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Among residential proxies, this is a cheap option for you to consider. It offers you a pool of more than 6 million IPs in 127 countries. This is good enough for whatever web scraping project you have in mind and makes it a good competitor to the more expensive services.
No matter the pricing plan you subscribe to, you would have access to all 6 million IPs. The only difference between each subscription is the bandwidth that would be available to you. so you can see that it was meant to be affordable for all.
Another cool feature is that the IP rotations are automatic, so you don’t have to worry about complicated settings. There is however no trial period or money-back guarantee.
GeoSurf has been around for a long and has gained popularity for its services. It has over 2 million residential IPs in its pool and its scattered in over 130 countries worldwide. They are not the friendliest when it comes to pricing but if you can afford it, you will not regret it. The pricing schedule is monthly, and you have access to all IPs in all locations, being limited only by the bandwidth. There is a free trial period although it comes with a lot of limitations.
Shifter was founded as a daughter company of microleaves. It provides you with over 31 million proxies in a lot of regions. They offer you two types of residential proxies; basic and special. Special proxies are used for high demand cases and can be used to access sites that the basic proxy can’t reach. Both types of proxies give you unlimited bandwidth.
Shifter doesn’t give you a free trial period but you get a 3-day money-back guarantee. IP rotation is per time and it changes every 5 minutes.
Infatica is a new company, but in just a few months it has been able to compete with known names. It gives you unlimited bandwidth but the number of available IPs is limited. The IPs are located in 12 countries and it includes regions in America, Europe, and Asia. The IP rotation is an automated process so you don’t have to worry about settings if you are not a professional in this area.
Best Rotating Datacenter Proxies
If you are on a tight budget, then you can make use of datacenter proxies. There is not the first choice because they are most likely to be recognized as proxies leading to IP bans.
Limeproxies is known for its great performance as it meets up with your web scraping needs. You can easily manage your operations, thanks to its fully automated control panel. If you have to need to change your IP, it can be done immediately and there is a 24/7 customer service available to you. with dedicated and fresh IPs in over 30 countries, you can expect great performance as the IPs are used by only you.
Webshare offers you cheap IPs with unlimited bandwidth. Their servers are in over 20 countries and with the free trial period, you can test their services before committing.
Blazing proxies gives you unlimited bandwidth and IPs whose servers are in the US, Brazil, and Germany. So you have a choice between these countries and would have to look elsewhere if you need to be connected to a region outside these. These proxy service offers you great speed, taking care of the problem of latency as you scrape. IPs are rotated per request, and you get a 2-day trial period.
Oxylabs boasts of having over 30 million proxy addresses, and it’s not surprising as they have been around in a long while unlike most proxy service providers here. They have proxy servers in almost every country, so no matter your preference, you will find a server to connect to.
Oxylabs are not the cheapest on the market and you get access to all 30 million IPs for every plan. The only difference between each pricing ids the bandwidth. The IP rotation is per request.
Proxymesh is popular for its excellent service and sales of datacenter proxies. There are different payment options for you to choose from, and each one comes with a different number of IPs you can access, the bandwidth, and location.
Their IP servers are located in 11 countries including countries in Asia, America, Europe, and Australia. Their IPs rotate every 12 hours and you get new proxies each day. They offer a free trial too.
Proxy API for Web Scraping
Crawlera is developed by Scrapinghub and its one of the best proxy network solutions you can find. Combining crawlera with a service that can extract data and you would have an efficient data scraper and effective proxy rotation without having to do much.
They have pricing plans for every budget, and the most expensive price gives you access to all their features. You have a free trial period and a 7-day money-back guarantee.
Scraper API is all you need for your web scraping. It gives you a scraping service and a proxy network; an all in one package. There is a pool of over 40 million proxies scattered in 12 locations so you have different choices available to you for use.
The pricing is also generous as there is something for everyone no matter the plan you choose. You can also get a fully customized plan if what is available doesn’t suit you. you have a free trial period and a 7-day money-back guarantee.
Proxy crawl is just like the other two proxy APIs on the list. It offers you a proxy network with automatic IP rotation plus a scraping service. These two however come as separate services. Pricing with the scraping service is flexible and you can only pay for the successful requests. The proxy service offers you three plans, each with a different number of proxies available to you. if the features don’t sit well with you, you can reach out to them and have them make a custom plan for you based on your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are Residential Proxies Better Than Datacenter Proxies for Web Scraping?
Generally, yes but that’s not always the case. Even though residential proxies are far less likely to be detected as proxies and banned, it doesn’t mean datacenter proxies would always be detected.
Before you choose your proxy, check the site you want to scrape. Some websites are not strict and would allow scraping with datacenter proxies. In such a case, it would be wasteful paying so much for residential proxies.
2. Can I Use Free Proxies?
No. free proxies are most likely to be detected and banned. Besides, they are a security risk and could be loaded with malicious programs.
3. How Many Proxies Do I Need?
If you want to scrape a website but you don’t know the number of proxies you would need for the task, you can do research and look for someone who scraped the same site. You can also make findings from the sales department of the proxy you want to purchase.
4. Is Scraping Illegal?
While website owners hate it when data is extracted from their site, the process is not illegal. Proxies prevent the website from blocking your actions and also ensures you get the correct data. This is because in some cases if your IP is recognized as a competitor, you would be fed wrong data.
Web scraping is very essential due to the enormous benefits it brings to the growth of a business. The task isn’t an easy one hence the need for tools to ensure success.
Web scraping itself isn’t illegal but as website owners don’t like it when you take data from their sites, they stop the act by blocking your IP. So to ensure you go undetected, you need to make use of proxies with IP rotation. This way bot action won’t be detected and your requests won’t be flagged.
Residential proxies are real home proxies and are less likely to be discovered, making them the best for web scraping. They are however very expensive. Limeproxies on the other hand give you fresh IPs that are not easily detected as coming from a proxy. They are cheap and very reliable.