In this day and age, using a proxy server is one of the web scraping best practices. A proxy is a middleman between the client and the target website, having its own IP address. When a user makes a request to access a site through a proxy server, the website sends and receives data to the proxy IP, which directs it to the user.
But what actually makes a proxy ideal for web scraping? And, what are some of the main applications of proxies for businesses? Let’s find out. But before that, get a quick idea of the web scraping process.
Web Scraping – What Is It?
Web scraping, or web data extraction, refers to the process of collecting data from websites. The main purpose of this process is to utilize publicly available web data for generating valuable insights and making wiser decisions. While this process can be performed manually, companies run automated web scraping operations using a web crawler or scraping bot.
It is a common component of applications used by companies for data mining, web indexing, web mining, price comparison, price monitoring, review scraping, weather and real estate data monitoring, site change detection, online presence tracking, and web data integration.
Proxies and Web Scraping
Proxy servers work wonders when it comes to data scraping since they can conceal and protect your IP address, making it nearly impossible to get blocked while accessing and crawling websites. It is useful in avoiding getting recognized as a non-human entity, which can lead to being blacklisted or blocked by the targeted website.
Below are some main features covering why proxies are advantageous for web scraping:
- Increased Privacy – Proxies enable enterprises to hide their source machine’s IP address and prevent it from getting blacklisted. Due to this, the target site doesn’t get to know its actual IP address. And even if it blocks an IP, there would be no effect on the company’s source machine.
- No IP Bans – Sending too many requests from a single IP address in a short time often looks like an attack on a website. So, these sites always have rules to restrict or ban IPs that are suspected to be attacking their site. Proxy servers are useful in managing web scraping traffic as they can distribute and scrape requests anonymously.
- Rotating Proxy – One of the many types of proxies is a rotating proxy, which assigns a new IP address from the proxy pool for each connection. A rotating proxy gives the impression that the connection is coming from a different location every time. This enables users to access specific content or services that are available in that given location.
Main Use Cases of Proxies for Businesses
Proxy servers have been around for many years serving businesses in so many ways. Here are the most common use cases of proxies for businesses:
When it comes to eCommerce, proxies help businesses get around geo-restrictions and reach international markets from anywhere. They keep browsing habits anonymous and give easy access to geographically-restricted eCommerce stores.
What’s more, these proxies, with strong encryption features, make it difficult for cyber attackers to access sensitive information like financial records and credit card numbers.
Proxy servers help businesses collect information about their current or potential customers from online resources. They aid the web scraping process, which involves gathering data on how other brands generate leads from their websites. The collected information, like contact numbers, email addresses, and social media accounts, helps companies generate more business for their clients.
Nowadays, businesses need to remain vigilant against different cyber threats, like data breaches, malware, phishing attacks, and so on. Proxies offer an additional layer of security by sending the web traffic through a protected network. Basically, they maintain user anonymity and safeguard sensitive data.
Proxy solutions help businesses bolster their cybersecurity defenses and safeguard their valuable information from potential cyber threats.
Brand protection is vital for the general health of any business. Proxies prove to be useful in safeguarding the brand’s reputation, assets, and content for long-lasting success. These proxy servers help brands monitor the web for unauthorized use of their brand assets and sensitive materials.
They also help maintain anonymity while performing online investigations, ensuring that companies can take rapid action against bad actors and counterfeiters.
Tracking results and development in SERP (search engine result page) ranking can help companies analyze certain aspects of their SEO strategy and gain valuable insights into how the search engine algorithms work.
Robust proxies enable SEO experts to track keywords accurately, analyze backlinks, and monitor SERPs to obtain important data related to their competitors and find out new opportunities. These proxies help them access real-time data from different search engines, stay ahead of market trends, and maintain a competitive edge in the digital sphere.
Travel and Hospitality
Like all other businesses, price intelligence is crucial for the success of travel operators, airline hotels, and car rental agencies. These companies set prices of their services relative to their competitors.
Proxy servers have shown to be useful in this respect. Brands can see competitors as a customer and collect accurate pricing data worldwide.
Putting a proxy server into use for web scraping is essential – it is among the best ways to extract web data without getting blocked or blacklisted. However, the process of picking the right one for your business can be tiring.
Simply consider the above-mentioned main features of proxies and find the right proxy for web scraping to get help in price monitoring, social media account management, lead generation, competitive analysis, and so much more.