If you try web scraping using your browser, you are likely to be restricted from some websites.
This may be due to your geographical location or the website’s security features. The resultant data will, therefore, be incomplete and thus unreliable for your use in making business decisions.
With the right type and usage of proxies, you can get unlimited access to such websites. The mined data will be much more reliable when analyzing the market and competition.
Many businesses use rotating proxies when trying to access various websites, especially for data scraping. Rotating proxy service allows fast and steady access to websites that are even beyond your geographical region for the information you need.
What are proxies?
Any device that is used to browse the internet has an IP address that can be used to identify it. A website or surveillance program can tell the device you are using based on the IP. They can also use it to determine your location.
A website owner can deny you access by simply blocking your IP address from his site. IP addresses from a particular region can be restricted from a website. Inversely, a website can be set to allow traffic from a specific area only.
Proxies can help you beat these and other barriers, thus access the websites you need to access. Your traffic is routed through the proxy server before it gets to the website. The website, therefore, identifies the proxy server’s IP instead of yours.
Rotating proxies’ suitability for scraping tasks
All proxies function the same way; by using their own IP address to hide your device’s IP. Some website owners do not appreciate the use of such techniques to bypass their systems and filters. They are, therefore, continuously updating their systems to detect and block proxies.
Proxies used for scraping are paired with the bots that do the actual scraping. Websites can identify bots because they are extremely fast and direct too much traffic over a short period. They then block the IP address, thereby disrupting your scraping process.
Rotating proxies offer an easy and smart way around this challenge. They change the IP address after a specified time interval. For instance, you can have the proxy set to change the IP address every 5 minutes.
With such a short interval, the website does not have enough time to analyze your bots’ activity and block it. Before they can fully analyze it for blocking, the IP address will be changed, and the site must reanalyze and review the activity.
Data scraping is also a very speed-dependent process, and rotating proxies are known for their speed. This makes them ideal for scraping tasks allowing you to mine a lot of data fast before your bots are detected.
Scraping and its importance for your business
The use of data to drive business decisions was traditionally common among big businesses. The smaller companies could not afford the resources required to conduct the necessary research. Even when they could, they had no capacity to break down and analyze the data to make decisions.
This has changed as more businesses embraced eCommerce. A lot of data is now available online that can be used to drive your business forward. Web scraping bots, coupled with proxies and other tools, can get you this information within a short time. The digital scraping process is not only faster but also cheaper, making it accessible to a small business as well.
This equips you with pertinent information such as competitor pricing, customer purchase behaviors, and market trends. Such information is enough for you to make business strategies that give you a significant advantage over competitors.
The legality of scraping
Data scraping tools can easily be used to mine sensitive data from websites. For instance, some scraping tools can access and extract information about customers, including their contact details. Many people concerned, and rightly so, about the possible breach of privacy and security by data scrapers.
Therefore, many websites have put up measures to keep off scrapers, necessitating the use of proxies. In other areas, actual regulations prohibit the unauthorized extraction of sensitive data such as prices.
To avoid getting your business into legal tussles, conduct due diligence to ascertain whether data scraping is legal in your area.
In today’s business world, data became essential for every kind of decision making. For example, price to charge, which demographic to target in your marketing, and product placement is best made after an analysis of data.
Scraping allows you to obtain the necessary information about the market, competition, products, and customers from the comfort of your computer. Rotating proxies enable you to scrape data from websites that would otherwise be out of your reach. The proxies also protect your business computer systems from cookies and other tracking bots that may also seek to mine your data.