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How a Web Scraping Proxy Network Can Help You Mine Data
Web scraping is a major industry. It’s the best method you can use to gather enough data for a comprehensive market analysis. As one of the largest residential proxy networks, we work closely with leading data mining companies in the world. This is why we know the vital part that a web scraping proxy plays in any sophisticated data-gathering effort.
Web Scraping when an API is not available
Today, online data mining is a must. Some public data resources let you access their data via an API, but others try to keep it to themselves. Furthermore, many businesses take active precautions to fence their public data off.
In this climate, the best way to access public data is a practice called screen scraping. It is a process when a user agent accesses a site and collects important data automatically. Screen scraping is almost always used at a huge scale to gather a comprehensive database.
To make scraping really scalable and undetectable, web scrapers need a large proxy list or proxy server. It makes each scraping action look unique and not give away their real intentions. Smartproxy is one of the largest residential web scraping proxy networks, that lets scrapers rotate IPs for every request.
Web scraping – the multitude of uses
There are dozens of ways our clients use our proxy network for web scraping. Even though each scrape attempt and target is unique, every one of them is dominated by an underlying need to stay fast, anonymous, and undetected.
Without revealing any names, we have clients working to screen scrape vital data for dozens of industries. Nowadays, the leading sales teams and data providers are using a residential proxy network to efficiently scrape:
- Contact information
- Product reviews
- Competitor prices
- Pricing information for comparison
- Real Estate listings
- Detect website changes
- Monitor weather data
- Track online rankings and reputation
- Flight data
- Ticket data
- Product releases
Stay fast, anonymous and undetected. Get proxies HERE.
All these and other uses are vital for the bread and butter of progressive businesses:
- Data mining
- Web data integration
- Direct sales campaigns
- Targeted advertising
Needless to say, only a few businesses have the data Google, Microsoft, or social media platforms possess. Web scraping proxies help our customers access this data at scale. They do this by solving the largest problems for screen scraping and data mining: IP cloaking and IP blocking.
Price scraping with a proxy network
Price data scraping is a major part of all data mining efforts online. It lets you gather valuable and up-to-date pricing data from competitor pages. It lets you introduce new products and price them accordingly. Nevertheless, every experienced price scraper will tell you – it is easy to fail.
There are two obstacles for a successful price scraping operation: IP blocking and cloaking.
IP blocking prevents any connection requests from being answered. If your machine is IP blocked, it will not be able to scrape any data, because it will be unable to connect to the targeted site’s server.
IP cloaking is a more subtle and a lot more damaging way some sites deal with screen scraping. It detects and damages screen scraping by providing fabricated data. For instance, Amazon might just show a bunch of faulty prices for products you are scraping to make your pricing data scrape useless.
The sad part of cloaking is that the scraper might not ever realize it had happened. In most cases, it is caused by a bad IP masking procedure, which lets the scraper’s target realize it’s being scraped.
Find out more about scraping in our article about Amazon scraping.
Web scraping proxies protect you from IP cloaking
Proxies are the best solution for IP blocking and cloaking, but not all proxies are the same. Datacenter proxies are extremely vulnerable to cloaking, because they all share a subnetwork on the data center’s server.
The only good web scraping proxy solution is a residential proxy network. It cannot be blocked because it does not share a subnetwork. Residential proxies area perfect IP masking solution for web scraping.
Using an unlimited web scraping proxy
Scrapers cannot access any given server as many times as they want. Try sending connection requests to any site 1,000 times a second and you’ll find very soon that your IP address or even your whole subnetwork got banned from accessing the server.
Avoiding blocks is exactly why experienced data analytics use web scraping proxies. The best option is a rotating backconnect proxy network comprised of residential IPs. It fits the job perfectly:
- Scrapers cannot be detected by IP address, because it rotates the IP address for each request, assigning a random proxy every time.
- The proxy network is unbannable and unblockable, because every IP address is a unique, real device, and does not share any subnetwork.
- It’s easy to use. The backconnect node gives access to the whole proxy pool, and you don’t need any proxy list or multiple authentication methods, etc.
A fast proxy server will make scraping a breeze
It's self-explanatory that a proxy is only as good as its response time, aka the time it takes your request to travel from the scraper machine to your target and back. An increase in proxy response time when crawling thousands of pages will lead to hours of delay. Our proxy network is tested for speed and reliability - the average response time of our residential proxies is <0.61s. Datacenter IPs are even faster and take less than 0.3s.
Find out more about proxies for scraping.
Senior content writer
The automation and anonymity evangelist at Smartproxy. He believes in data freedom and everyone’s right to become a self-starter. James is here to share knowledge and help you succeed with residential proxies.
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