Whether you want to monitor competitor pricing or conduct market analysis, web scraping offers a solution to get your hands on reliable data.
But sending multiple requests to the same website can get you blocked and prevent you from harvesting competitor information.
Here’s when a proxy service comes into play. It changes your IP address and tricks the website into believing the requests are from a regular internet user.
Keep reading to know how other proxies allow for hassle-free web scraping.
What Is A Proxy?
A proxy server acts as a bridge between the internet and the end user.
Generally, when you browse the internet, you directly connect to the website you want to visit. However, proxies stand between you and the web server, communicating with the internet on your behalf.
So, when you connect to a proxy, you give it the authority to act on your behalf. It’s similar to asking someone to participate in a meeting you cannot attend.
The filtration provides you security and anonymity, allowing easy online content access. For a more detailed look at proxies in general, check out Oxylabs.
How Does A Proxy Server Work?
An internet device typically falls into the role of servers and clients. A client reaches out to the server requesting data. In other words, when you visit a website using your browser, you’re forwarding a request to the website’s server.
These servers then respond with the requested data, often called “replies” or “traffic.”
Without a proxy connection, your PC directly communicates with the web server, making your IP public. Now, what if you had a chance to avoid public exposure?
A proxy sits between you and the web server and handles the traffic on the client’s behalf. So, your device only speaks to the proxy, and the proxy sends the communication to the internet, keeping you anonymous.
You’ll likely stumble upon annoying bans if you plan on a large-scale scraping project. This slows down your scraping task and keeps you from harvesting competitor data.
Fortunately, proxy servers eliminate the trouble by providing different IP addresses.
Companies today increasingly count on a reliable proxy service to handle crucial business tasks. Here’s how you can benefit from proxies during scraping.
Websites do not ban you from sending a single request. However, forwarding multiple requests will likely restrict your activity for security purposes. The site owner knows the traffic is coming from a susceptible source, and they take steps to protect their site.
You’ll naturally want to send multiple requests during web scraping until you gather all the needed data. So, the site will block you immediately.
However, if you’re connected to a proxy server that provides you with multiple IP addresses, you’ll trick the site into believing the requests are coming from several users.
Consequently, you’ll reduce the risk of blocks.
A few proxies change your IP address with each request, masking your real IP and allowing you to access competitor sites.
You can make data extraction more efficient by staying anonymous. When a proxy stands between you and the web server, the sites fail to identify your original IP address. As such, you remain anonymous.
The better the proxy conceals your IP, the faster the web scraping. Each request would appear to be coming from a new user, and you can research while staying anonymous.
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Some proxy servers change your IP address with each request. So, no two requests come from the same user. This keeps the websites from discovering your physical location and enables you to scrape the site easily.
Numerous websites display content based on location linked to a particular IP address. So, it isn’t uncommon to run into the message, “This site isn’t available in your region” when conducting competitor research.
In fact, a few sites change the content based on the location. This is pretty frustrating because it keeps you from accessing the desired information.
Fortunately, proxy servers allow you to bypass geo-restrictions and access blocked content.
If you’re in the US and want to research the UK market, but the site has blocked content access, you can use a proxy server to view it instantly.
Not only does it keep your activity private, but it also allows you to retrieve valuable data that is otherwise impossible to access.
Web scraping is a hot topic in today’s data-driven e-commerce world.
Organisations employ this research methodology to take critical business decisions and gain a competitive edge. However, website blocks often keep them from holding a stress-free scraping project.
A proxy service, however, offers different IP addresses and keeps your activity anonymous. The websites do not block user activity when requests come from multiple sources.
Plus, you can even access geo-blocked content with proxies and monitor competitor activity.