Scraping data off your competitor’s website is not an easy task. However, it can be much easier if you have the right tools. A classic example of a valuable tool in that regard is a proxy.
Without the right knowledge of how to use proxies, mistakes are inevitable. This article will look at five unforgivable sins of using proxies.
But before that, let’s explain what a proxy actually does.
What Is A Proxy?
A proxy is a tool that allows you to make an HTTP request while hiding your IP address. Your request will not travel to the site directly. Instead, it goes through the proxy server and finally to the target site.
How Do Proxies Benefit Web Scraping?
A proxy for web scraping is beneficial mainly for two things:
· Hiding the IP address of the source
· Going past the rate limit on the destination website
When you scrape data, you don’t want your IP out in the open. A proxy will help you mask it, so the website administrator sees it as coming from a customer. See Oxylabs’ product for the most powerful way to scrape web data.
Again, you do not want to get past the rate limit when you scrape data. Large websites have software in their possession for detecting a suspicious number of requests from a single IP address. As a result, you’ll usually get an error message that indicates blocking your IP for some time — that is the duty of the limiting software.
If you’re ingesting up to a few thousand pages of content via your target site, you’ll most likely run into a rate limit sooner or later.
To avoid that, use an array of proxies and spread out requests. Then, the target website will see connection requests from different proxy IPs, and you can scrape without reaching the rate limit.
Common Mistakes When Choosing Proxies
Choosing The Wrong Proxy For Job
Proxies help businesses get competitive, however, you can limit its advantage if you’re not well informed.
There are different types of proxies and thus, it is essential that you know which is best for a particular project because if you choose incorrectly, it can be counterproductive in the long run.
Proxies come majorly in two categories — data center and residential proxies. When you scrape data on the web, you’ll get different results, which are mainly dependent on whether you’re using data center proxies or residential.
Datacenter proxies do not provide a high anonymity level so they can be easily detected. For residential proxies, they’re the product of an ISP assigning IP addresses to homeowners. They pass as a real user and, therefore, you’ll not get falsified information or get blocked out while using residential proxies.
Using Free Proxy
Free proxies will not allow an HTTPS connection. Lack of HTTPS means no encryption of data. If somebody is monitoring your connection, they will see your data as it goes through the network. For this reason, a free proxy is not advisable. Such mistakes mean your privacy is at risk.
Location Of The Proxy
Location is essential when it comes to proxy use. You’ll only be successful with your scraping activities if you can navigate between cities and countries.
There are proxy servers that will not allow you to choose your preferred location. Yet, some other proxies in the market will enable the country of choice — but not the city. Go for a proxy that will allow you to choose a specific city, especially if you want to access the local results.
Using A Provider That Doesn’t Offer Support
Setting up a proxy is not a big deal — even if you’re not tech-savvy. But sometimes you can run into problems, and that’s where support comes into the picture. If the proxy provider offers subpar support, you might get stuck in the process.
While some companies offer hands-on support, others come short and provide a bit of assistance. Make the right decision and go for companies that offer live 24/7 support right off the bat.
Buying A Proxy That Is Difficult To Integrate
Don’t be carried away by the fancifulness of some proxy providers — some of them are difficult to integrate. You may be asked to whitelist your IP. For shared servers, you cannot go that route.
The best you can do is stay away from these types of proxies. Go for easy-to-integrate proxies that will support your needs. Some of them could take less than five minutes to integrate.
Get informed before jumping on any proxy provider. Keep the mistakes above in mind and make the best out of your proxy use.