More and more of our personal and professional life happens online. Our increasing reliance on technology and the internet has led to a corresponding increase in cyberattacks. That’s why it’s essential to protect your personal and business data from theft and damage and stay safe while browsing the internet.
Furthermore, individuals, businesses, and governments can be vulnerable if they don’t have adequate cybersecurity measures. Protecting these elements on the internet is essential and can prevent financial loss, reputational damage, and even physical harm.
One of the ways to protect yourself on the internet is to use proxy servers. Not only can they help ensure our online safety, but they also have other uses. For example, one of those uses is protection from IP blocks while web scraping, which we’ll discuss here.
What is a proxy?
A proxy server is an intermediary between a user’s device and the website the user is accessing. It essentially forwards all requests from the user’s device to the target website. Usually, a proxy acts like another computer or an IP address between a client and a server. It creates a connection that isn’t direct, making it safer.
Proxies have multiple uses, and one of those uses is web scraping. The most effective way to deal with web scraping on a larger scale is to use proxy servers. They can help ensure safety from getting IP blocked while scraping. By using a proxy server, the website the user’s visiting will see the IP address of the proxy server rather than the IP address of the user’s device.
What types of proxies are there? How do you choose the best proxy server for web scraping?
Not all proxies are equal, and some may not provide the level of anonymity or security that you need. That’s why choosing the correct proxy server for your internet needs is crucial.
Below are several different types of proxy servers that we believe are the best when it comes to web scraping in particular:
- Datacenter proxies – These offer IP addresses hosted on big data center servers. They’re the cheapest option out of these types of proxy servers.
- Residential proxies – Residential proxies are more challenging to detect, as they offer IP addresses belonging to real people and physical devices.
- ISP proxies – These are a combination of residential and datacenter proxy servers in the sense that residential IP addresses are given to small data centers.
- Rotating proxies – They rotate and switch between multiple proxy IP addresses. Each time a user makes an HTTP request, it’ll come from a different IP address.
The four proxy servers above have different pros and cons. For example, datacenter proxies are identifiable and blockable easier than the rest, as they involve datacenter IP addresses. However, they are the cheapest option here.
On the other hand, residential proxies use the IP addresses of actual physical devices from real people, but maintaining the same IP address for longer scraping is tough.
How proxy servers protect from IP blocks while scraping
To understand how a proxy server can help you while web scraping, we first need to understand what this activity is and how it works.
Web scraping means gathering vast amounts of specific data from the target website. This data is then stored on a computer, waiting for further analysis.
Bots used for web scraping extract the code from the website. While doing so, they create multiple requests to the server that can lead to overloading it. That is precisely why the IP addresses of these bots often get blocked.
On the other hand, proxy servers can help protect the IP addresses of your web scraping bots. They work in a way that helps hide your actual IP address, giving you a fake one to connect to the server. It helps maintain your privacy and increases your security. Moreover, it hides your physical location and often helps bypass location-specific restrictions.
No matter which type of proxy you use, it’s important to note that using a proxy server doesn’t guarantee you won’t be blocked. Website owners and system admins can still recognize proxy IP addresses, especially those coming from data centers, and block these IP addresses manually. That’s why using a reputable and trustworthy proxy service is essential.
Various types of proxy servers exist, and they’re tools capable of protecting internet users from various online threats, increasing their privacy and security. Moreover, proxy servers have other beneficial uses, one of which is web scraping.
Connecting web scraping bots through a proxy ensures they’re tougher to detect by various websites you scrape. Use a reputable proxy server and choose one that best suits your web scraping needs. Some of them are more expensive for a reason, just like free services are free for numerous reasons, like poor security, so steer clear of them.