The internet is a vast source of information that can be a valuable resource, especially for businesses. After all, they often use said information for making critical decisions about their companies.
To get information, people scour the internet to gather as much data as they can. This process is known as web scraping or data mining. However, not all information is free to access. In fact, most of the information on websites has security measures in place to block web scrapers.
Still, there are ways to bypass these checks to gather as much information as possible. Two of these ways include using proxies and scraper APIs.
To get information from a website, you need to be connected to the web where you make a request, and the request is sent to the website. However, websites have protocols to check if the request is valid and from a valid address.
If it is, the requested information is released. On the other hand, the information is not released if the request is improper or came from a banned or wrong IP address.
In this case, instead of making an information request directly to a website, you can use a proxy server. A proxy server is a link between you and the website. With one, you request information, and the request is rerouted through the proxy server.
Then, the proxy server changes or masks your IP address and sends the request to the website.
Moreover, the proxy server will pass the information to your computer or device when the website sends information back. In this case, the proxy server isolates you from the website.
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There are many different types of proxy servers used to scrape information from the web, and each has different properties. Here are some of the most common ones used for web scraping:
These are proxy servers housed in a datacenter. They are more affordable and are used by people who need to scour the web for information. Datacenter proxies are used along with the concept of rotating proxies to confuse security measures on websites further.
When scraping a website for information, you may need to access it multiple times. However, the security protocols on the website may consider these multiple requests from one IP address as suspicious activity.
Therefore, web scrapers use rotating proxy servers where the IP addresses are automatically and randomly rotated so that the requests seem to be coming from different addresses. Overall, rotating proxies are used in conjunction with data center proxies and residential proxies.
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These proxy servers are located at a specific location on a specific device. So, a request coming from a residential proxy server seems to come from a regular user and may pass security.
In addition, using several residential proxies and rotating the requests between them can help overcome being banned from a website. Overall, residential proxies are used by people who want to overcome country or location bans.
For example, a user in India may not be allowed to access a website in the US. However, by using a US-based residential proxy server, the user’s computer from India can access content meant only for US audiences.
Overall, a web scraper uses a proxy server to suit the kind of task at hand. However, while proxies can be helpful for web scraping, some people prefer to use scraper APIs.
API is an acronym for Application Programming Interface that allows you to get information from a website. While some APIs are free to use, others need you to pay to access information.
Sometimes, you can use the API as it is, or you may need to tweak it or change it a little to suit the information you want.
Overall, the advantage of an API is that you do not have to bypass security measures like CAPTCHAs but can directly access the information from the website. However, some websites do not allow or have APIs, so those who want information need to use other methods to scrape the web.
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In general, a scraper API could be a free or paid service. Scraping APIs allow you to access information on a website without having to bother about security measures. After all, websites don’t usually block scraper APIs.
On the other hand, a proxy server can help you scour or scrape a website that does not allow API access. However, it has to overcome the security challenges that a website has to access the information it wants.
Ultimately, it all depends on the use and whether or not a website allows APIs. For example, if a website allows you to access its information, you can use a scraper API. Otherwise, you may need to use proxy servers. Learn more about scraping API and proxies differences to make the right choice.
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Overall, web scraping is generally used to scour the web for information that can benefit a business’s decision-making. In this case, you could use proxy servers or scraping APIs to get that information.
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