Proxy is an intermediary between your server and the Internet to which you are sending requests in order to access the information.That is, if you are using a proxy, it helps send requests to and receive data from the target website on your behalf. Every proxy has its own IP address. Therefore, you can communicate with the Internet using another IP represented by the proxy, masking the real identity of your source server. But why would people need this “middle man”?
1 Bypassing filters and censorship
If you are in the U.S., you are probably not able to install applications offered to Indian users in Apple Appstore. This is because the server is using the IP-based geo-location to confine service access to a certain region. Companies are using this tactic to offer custom services to users in a certain market. And at a government level, this can be used for censorship - to block certain content coming from a certain region. A proxy server can disguise your identity by sending requests on your behalf so as to bypass this restriction, using another IP which has access to the services you want.
2 Anti-blocking with IP rotation
When you are browsing a website, frequent visits at an unusual level can be recognized as malicious actions by the server. In order to prevent the server getting overloaded by this heavy traffic, especially by web scraping robots, many websites now take anti-scraping measures to block unusual visitors. However, the Internet regards each IP as an unique visitor and if you are changing IPs, you are giving the website a hard time to detect your activities. Browse the website using multiple IPs, control your visits within a normal level. This is how people make use of IP rotation to prevent getting blocked.
There are two types of proxy: datacenter proxies and residential proxies. Both of them help with anonymity and get you around geographical restrictions. So what are the differences?
- Typically people buy datacenter proxies in bulk and get a set of IP addresses to use. The IPs have no connection with any Internet Service Provider(ISP) and are totally independent. The plus of datacenter proxies is the higher speed and lower price.
- A presidential proxy offers an IP address provided by an Internet Service Provider(ISP) that can be traced to a street address. They appear as average users to all servers which can be difficult to get detected. Hence it is more legitimate than datacenter proxies. While, presidential proxies are less in supply and likely more expensive.
If you are looking for proxies for web scraping use, you could try to pair Smartproxy with Octoparse.
-Web Scraping Use Cases-
When you are using web scraping, proxies are the necessary part. Proxies can help with your geo-targeting, anti-blocking, speeding-up, etc. Besides some basic functions, proxies can be very powerful for business professionals in certain situations used for different purposes under different circumstances. Here are some examples:
- SEO analysis
- Pricing research
- Web scraping on a large scale
- SEO analysis
If you want to improve your website’s rankings on Google, firstly you may monitor the search engine results under certain queries. SEO marketers will gather the search results data for data analysis and come up with an optimization plan for their content writing. While, if you are based in the U.S. and planning to drive more web traffic from Spain to your websites, you may see some troubles. Search results vary from countries to countries. You can’t travel to Spain just to get access to local search results. In this regard, proxies can help you get local data through geo-targeting: just visit Google with a Spain-based IP.
- Price comparison
Product price is a significant factor that takes part in almost all business research and decision-making processes. For both online eCommerce businesses and offline storefront retailers, pricing data is a must for initiating a product research and for all businesses to know their place in the competition. However, products are priced in different currencies if you visit from different countries. Sometimes they are even priced at different levels. That’s why you need a proxy to help locate at the market you are researching. Well, with IPs of a certain country, you can get the exact price data that the local customers are getting.
- Web scraping on a large scale
If you need to scrape a set of websites routinely for a large scale of data, you may get blocked. This is because many websites now take anti-scraping measures to prevent servers from getting overloaded by frequent visits. Web scraping for purposes like ecommerce product research, sales leads generation or news aggregation often requires a great amount of data. If the website you are scraping from employs anti-scraping techniques, getting blocked is a normal case.
Changing IPs during the scraping task can help you get around the blocking. Just get yourself a set of proxies, the Internet will never know there seats the same people behind this group of IPs.