Data scraping and proxies go hand in hand. Scraping web pages for large chunks of information is confusing and restricted at times, and this is where proxies come in handy. They act as the protective shield and protect you from getting blocked.
When you use the regular IP provided by your internet service provider, you are basically revealing your identity to the site. When scraping activities are conducted, the site is quick to identify suspicious actions and immediately blocks the activity.
However, if you take the help of proxy IP addresses, what happens is the site cannot trace the user of the scraping technology. Hence, this becomes easier to use and extract data.
The best method to encounter this problem is to purchase a set of proxy addresses. You can keep rotating these proxies and scrape the website such that you do not get detecting by the blocking forces. This is how essential proxies can be.
But, there are multiple types of proxies you could choose from. Which one should you choose? The needs of every business are different. Therefore, the most feasible choice would be based on what your business requirements are.
Residential and Data Center Proxies
Let us first understand what data center proxies are. The idea is simple. These are not related to the internet service provider at all. Instead, you purchase them from a third-party provider.
Essentially, you would be buying a whole lot of these proxies. These proxies provide high levels of anonymity, meaning that your system’s location cannot be traced. For instance, if you live in a country or region that bans a particular site, you could very quickly change your IP’s location to another country and get your work done.
What about residential proxies then? As the name suggests, these are specifically dedicated to a location by an internet service provider. This is the main difference between this and the data center proxies. Another point of distinction would be that these proxies are provided by your internet service provider only. However, the fact that these are legitimate addresses from the ISP, there are higher chances that websites will accept them. Since they do not notice anything different on the site, they do not block these IPs.
But this is not the only variety of proxies. You could also be coming across terms like shared proxies and dedicated proxies.
Private and Shared Proxies
These are pretty self-explanatory. Private proxies are entirely dedicated to your use and requirements. No one else would be sharing this IP, and hence it makes it more comfortable, and faster for you. These are, of course, a little more expensive since you have them entirely for you. If this information was not enough, you can deep-dive into private proxies in oxylabs blog post. Their blog is extremely helpful when trying to know more about proxies and web scraping in general.
On the other hand, shared proxies are a part of a network where you share the proxy address with several others. It is true that the speed could be compromised to a certain extent here, but can help you mask your internet identity well.
Choosing Between Private and Shared Proxies
Private and shared proxies are both pretty popular in the web scraping business. To be honest, there is no definitive answer to this. It merely depends on your business and its requirements. What are some of the benefits offered by private proxies?
- Speed: Private proxies are known to provide extremely high speeds for your browsing requirements. This makes it convenient when you are required to deal with vast volumes of data.
- High anonymity – Private proxies work best to mask your identity online. Thus, if you are looking to scrape data, this might be your most comfortable bet.
Use Cases of Private Proxies
One of the biggest applications of private proxies would be collating travel and related information online. Travel fare aggregators make use of information from flight companies, online travel agencies, hotel, and vehicle rental sites to collect all necessary information under one big roof. They heavily depend on private proxies to give them full access to information for automated data gathering and harvesting.
Another useful application lies in ad verification. This is an excellent method to check the advertisement pages anonymously. This would be a good idea to understand how competitors are dealing with advertisements online. All you have to do is use your private proxy to gather information from these landing pages.
Comparing shared proxies with private proxies, for all typical business needs, the former is ok, but not great. However, if your business deals with heavy data scraping across more significant websites, it would be better to opt for private proxies. Price is another factor to consider here. Shared proxies are actually cheaper than their dedicated counterpart mainly because it is being distributed amongst more users.
Finally, it all boils down to the needs of your business. The idea is to choose a proxy that provides sufficient speed, with good anonymity while keeping the costs in mind!