A proxy is a powerful tool that can help a business overcome geographical barriers and extract the right type of data and in the appropriate amount. These data can then help businesses grow and expand by making key business decisions quickly and accurately.
And one straightforward way to get these data is usually through web scraping, which can be done in several ways, including using a mobile proxy depending on the type of business and what type of data they require. Also, mobile proxies are becoming increasingly important chiefly because web traffic is evolving and moving towards mobile.
Today we will look at this type of proxy and other types that are most suitable for web scraping. Then we will see why you need this type of proxy in particular.
What is web scraping?
The technique of web data scraping can be described as using tools known as web scrapers to extract a large amount of data from multiple sources such as websites, social media platforms, discussion forums, and key market places.
These web scrapers can interact with these data sources and extract the underlying HTML files, then return the extracted information before it is parsed and stored in local storage in a readable format. And while the process can be done manually, it is better to automate web scraping mainly because it can quickly become a daunting and overwhelming task.
Why businesses use web scraping
As cybersecurity experts at Smartproxy says-
There are several reasons why business use web scraping and even consider it an important feature, and below are some of them:
- Web scraping can be used for extracting the kind of data used in brand monitoring and protection
- It is important for competition and price monitoring
- It helps ensure pricing optimization as well as create a dynamic pricing strategy
- For collecting useful user data and generating quality leads
- For making accurate business decisions quickly with lesser risks and more prospects
- For product optimization and constructing an effective market penetration strategy
Importance of proxies in web scraping
Proxies are intermediary tools or computers that serve as a go-between connecting internet users with target websites. They are, in most cases, third-party servers that can stand anywhere between a client and a web server.
Their major function is to intercept and reroute all requests using their internet protocol (IP), generated locations, and proxy addresses. They help to make web scraping automatic, faster, and easier. Below are some of its importance in web scraping activities:
- They make the process more reliable and prevent the web scrapers from getting blocked
- They are key in ensuring businesses can extract information from any part of the internet, including restricted websites
- By using their IP address and masking a client’s, proxies make it less likely for a client to get blocked from accessing any web server
- Also, by rotating and using their proxy addresses, proxies ensure that a user can extract multiple information from several sources per day without getting blocked
- Proxies protect the client by intercepting returning data and checking for malware
- Proxies also help to boost server performance by redistributing traffic and balancing traffic load on the servers.
Main types of proxies suitable for web scraping
The main types of proxies suitable for web scraping include:
1. Residential proxies
These proxies usually use the private residential network to route requests. And by using IPs that resemble those used by regular internet users, residential proxies can effectively scrape just about any website or data source.
The data sources recognize them as regular internet users, so they are less likely to get blocked. However, using these types of proxy can be pricey as they are known to be very hard to get.
2. Datacenter proxies
These are like residential proxies but owned and hosted by third-party data centers. They are extremely fast and cheap to use. However, because they are hosted by data centers, they may stand a higher chance of getting banned.
3. Mobile proxies
These are proxies that use IPs of private mobile devices to extract, solely, data generated through mobile devices. Other types of web scraping proxies find it hard to operate on mobile devices; a mobile proxy can effortlessly gather mobile information. However, this type of proxy is harder to acquire and use and is usually more expensive.
How mobile proxies can be used for web scraping
There are two major ways mobile proxies can be used for web scraping, and they include:
1. For avoiding CAPTCHAs
CAPTCHAs are measures initiated by websites and servers to prevent access to their contents. This restriction usually entails displaying some form of authentication that a user needs to verify and pass before access.
In a case where a web scraper is being used, CAPTCHAs can be a very effective way to prevent access and stop web scraping right in its tracks. Mobile proxies can be used to overcome this type of internet blocking by masking a user’s IP and using any of their multiple rotating IPs.
2. For managing several social media accounts
The primary job of a social media manager is to have many accounts on multiple platforms and scrape important user data accordingly – something that many social media platforms do not like to allow.
And to prevent this, they usually check to see if multiple accounts belong to the same person using the same IP address. Then that IP address is blocked. Mobile proxies are used to rotate IP addresses along with each account or log in, and this helps to solve the problem and allow social media management activities to go on uninterrupted.
If you are after the type of data generated through mobile devices, you need a mobile proxy as they are designed mainly for such a purpose.
Mobile proxies are highly robust tools that can be used to avoid CAPTCHAs, manage and scrape data from multiple social media accounts and even avoid ad frauds. However, they are expensive, and their applications may be limited to only mobile devices.