How Proxies Can Massively Improve Your Web Scraping

How Proxies Can Massively Improve Your Web Scraping

The long and mind-numbing process of acquiring data from the internet can be incredibly tedious if done the old way. Back in the day, companies pulled data manually and required the extensive labor of dozens, if not hundreds, of employees over a long period. This approach was hardly efficient and often cost a ton of money. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case because of technological advances.

What Is Web Scraping?

Sometimes known as data scraping or web data extraction, web scraping is the process of collecting and structuring enormous amounts of data from the internet in an automated manner. The data collected then goes into a file for further manipulation or analysis. Web scrapers are software applications programmed to visit websites, check relevant pages, and extract all the key information.

Since it is an automated process, these scrapers (or bots) can collect vast amounts of data in very little time. This is a big difference from the process of years past. Since the web is ever evolving, this technology has an obvious benefit when it comes to big data.

Nevertheless, web scraping is not an easy task. Unless you are digging through a few pages, web admins dislike the idea of having their site scraped. Why? It can overwhelm their website and make it slow to a crawl. Others say it is content theft. Whatever the case, using residential proxies goes a long way in obtaining the best results. These proxies are a perfect fit for web scraping as they make your activities appear as regular, everyday traffic.

What Is Web Scraping Used For?

The first thing to understand is where web scraping applies. Technically, if there’s data on a website, it is scrapable. It could be anything – text, images, videos, product descriptions, customer opinions, or pricing.

As for the applications, they are endless. Market research companies can check social media platforms or forums to understand customers better. For businesses and sellers, scraping pricing data off Amazon or eBay can help establish what clients are willing to fork out for their products. Real estate agencies can also use scraping to better understand and compare land and home value.

When you allow companies access to your contact or usage information, you are permitting them to scrape data off you. It is fair to say that scraping has almost countless applications online. It all depends on the purpose of the details you wish to acquire.

Proxies Improve Results

One best practice that comes to mind when web scraping data is to use a proxy. Proxies are middleman servers that handle the connection between your end and the target website. The proxy has a different IP address from your own. As such, you request access to a website, what’s shown on the other side is the proxy’s IP number and not yours.

The use of proxies for web scraping can bestow the following benefits:

  • An extra layer of security and the ability to hide the scraper’s identity
  • Avoidance of IP bans
  • Access to region-specific content
  • Ability to scrape large volumes of data

Let’s consider residential proxies again for a moment. They can help scrapers easily avoid banning by web admins due to suspicious activity. Any scraping activity can appear as regular traffic, thus is less likely to end up banned.

However, finding the right proxy provider can be challenging. There are dozens of different providers out there, all offering their services, with some being better than others. With this in mind, we recommend that you read this Smart Proxy review to understand how it differs compared to its competitors.

Final Thoughts

To say that the role of web scrapping is essential in today’s digital world would be an understatement. It’s a crucial part of how modern organizations and businesses run.

The amount of digital data generated online continues to grow exponentially every second; tendencies change, new products enter the market, and prices fluctuate without us noticing. This surge of information in the world we live in requires us to have good data analytic tools. Picking the right proxy provider to go along with our web scraping needs is paramount if we wish to acquire tangible, sound results in our analyses. Always check the reviews to pick the best supplier for your needs and budget.