Proxies are critical to the success of any scraping project, yet choosing the right proxy is not always an easy task. Businesses need to invest in an effective proxy. This is because web scraping is not just about collecting data; it is largely about data that will give insights to drive business.
Residential proxies are an excellent option for scraping, mainly because they are associated with a real physical address. This means they raise less suspicion, allowing the scraping project to run smoothly.
So, What is Web Scraping?
It is an automated process of retrieving data from a target website using a software or a web scraping tool. The gathered information is exported to your computer in the form of useful data.
Website owners protect their sites for varied reasons, making it challenging for scrapers to access them and retrieve information. This is why proxies are essential in web scraping.
Proxies are a third-party server that allows you to send requests via their servers. They use their IP address to mask your real IP address, making it possible for a scraper to access target websites.
There are two types of proxies used in web scraping, data center proxies, and residential proxies. Before we explore whether residential proxies are the best option for web scraping, let us first understand how they work.
Data Center Proxies
Data center proxies use IPs from data center servers. This means they are not associated with any physical IP address. Instead, a data center network artificially creates an IP address, meaning it has no connection to your internet provider.
Residential proxies, on the other hand, are attached to a physical IP address assigned by an internet service provider (ISP). They allow you to route browsing requests through a residential network. Residential proxies are, therefore, real and more trusted by websites.
What Makes Residential Proxies Best for Scraping?
Why is anonymity so important in web scraping? Because you want to scrape smoothly with minimal interruptions.
When using a residential proxy, you use an actual IP address. This limits suspicion because there is no indication that you are even using a proxy, giving you total anonymity.
As mentioned above, residential proxies use a real IP address. The address is also provided by a verified internet service provider, and it is only given to residents.
This makes residential proxies the best for scraping. The common assumption is residential proxy users are genuine and do not have any malicious intent when they send many requests. This allows a scraper to scrape without worries of being interrupted.
Every second counts in a web scraping project. Unfortunately, some proxies will get you blacklisted for sending too many requests per minute.
Residential proxies offer high effectiveness because they allow you to send as many requests as you want per minute. It gives you a better turnaround time, allowing you to gather large volumes of data much faster.
Not Easily Blocked or Blacklisted
Cybercrimes have gotten more prevalent and sophisticated. Therefore, website owners are keen to look out for suspicious activities on their sites. They do not hesitate to block or blacklist proxies that look suspicious.
Residential proxies are considered safe and secure. They do not raise suspicion and, therefore, unlikely to be blacklisted or blocked.
Access Geo-Blocked Websites
Perhaps you have come across a website that you could not access simply because it is in a different location from you. This is a geo-blocked website, and it can be a frustrating experience in web scraping.
The good news is that you can access such websites using a residential proxy. For example, say a site is only accessible to people in the UK, you can acquire a residential proxy with a residential IP address from that location.
You will then be able to scrape the website from wherever you are. Because the residential IP address will make it appear like you are accessing the site from that region.
Data center proxies are cheap and easily available. This also means they can be overcrowded and slow. They are also likely to crush and delay progress in a scraping project.
Residential proxies are expensive and not easily available. There are fewer residential proxy providers. Therefore, they are less crowded, offering high speeds, which is a unique advantage in web scraping.
If you try web scraping today, you will soon realize the need to install a proxy to bypass all the restrictions interfering with the scraping project. Most especially if your company is dealing with large volumes of data.
Data center proxies are probably the easiest option. They are readily available and cheap. They will help to mask your IP address, but as we have already established, scraping requires much more than that.
Residential proxies are the best option for scraping. They are expensive and hard to acquire. But they are worth the trouble. They guarantee anonymity and ensure you are not easily blocked or blacklisted. Their locale precision makes them trustworthy to many websites.