Most people don’t know what a proxy is or how to use one. Furthermore, they have limited knowledge of what they actually do. What is a proxy? Well, proxies are usually used by companies because they bring the most benefits to larger organizations.
Most companies today do some part of their business online. After all, you can’t run a business today without a website and social media. On the other hand, there are many companies that use the web even more for their operations.
Some companies even depend on the internet to make their profits. In either case, using a proxy can be really beneficial. Let’s explore more.
Many Companies Use Web Scraping
Web scraping has become really popular in this data-driven age. Companies need tangible and useful data they can rely on to make important business decisions and estimates. Web scraping is a practice of gathering data from the web in a structured and automated way.
Companies do that for many different things. Scraping can be used for SEO, tracking news, follow brand mentions, market research, lead generations, tracking reviews, price monitoring, and so much more. Simply put, there is a lot of data online that companies can use for their benefit.
That’s what scraping is all about. You probably copied things from the web into your computer, which is what a web scraper does basically. However, all this is done much faster and in an automated fashion, and all the data is stored in a structured manner making it usable for analysis.
There are Challenges With Scraping
We mentioned that the internet has a lot of useful data companies can use. However, not all websites and services are willing to share this information. A lot of websites block scrapers and uses many different approaches to block scraping.
They don’t want anyone looking at their data, copying it, or extracting it. Sites use IP blocking, bot blocking, honeypot traps, and different types of web structures. All these things make scraping more difficult. They can either deny access to the scraper completely or let it get partial data only.
Getting this kind of information only makes things more difficult. Partial data can lead to wrong conclusions and, ultimately, business decisions that might cost you. However, there’s a solution to these issues.
Proxies Can Help Overcome Them
Yes, proxies can help you enhance your web scraping. What exactly is a proxy? Web proxies are gateways between the user and the internet. They are servers that have their own IP addresses. All the requests you make go directly to the proxy and are sent by the proxy on your behalf.
Simply put, you don’t have a direct relationship with the online world. The proxy also takes all the traffic and then redirects it to your business computer. It brings many benefits for scraping, but also many other business efforts companies make online.
However, not all web proxies are the same. They come in many different forms with different functionalities. Here are some of the most popular types of web proxies.
Types of Proxies Based on Their IPs
To understand proxies you need to know more than just the answer to “What is a proxy?”. Proxies use different technologies and not all are created equal. So here is how they can differ depending on their IP.
Mobile IP Proxies – these proxies use IP addresses from mobile devices. They are very difficult to acquire and that’s why these types of proxies are expensive. They are used for mobile-specific scraping and other actions like tracking ads and so on.
Residential IP Proxies – these proxies give users IP addresses that are real. Simply put they are authentic and come from internet providers. That’s why they are hard to detect and it can be difficult to get banned when using them.
Datacenter IP Proxies – the cheapest types of proxies. They can mask IP addresses and have high bandwidth. However, they can be recognized and you might get banned or blocked when using them.
Benefits of Proxies for Scraping
Proxies enable web scraping in so many ways. First of all, they can change the IP address of your scraper and unlock various geo-blocked content. Companies often want to attack different markets and get data relevant to those markets.
On the other hand, scraping often requires many requests for a certain amount of time. In most cases, websites will block the sender of those requests, but proxies can rotate IPs to enable you to make hundreds of requests while extracting data.
Furthermore, proxies can go over blocks, CAPTCHA systems, and reroutes to ensure smooth scraping. Overall, proxies and web scraping are a match made in heaven.
We hope this post has helped you answer the question “What is a proxy?” and shown you how it can benefit large companies. If you are looking to have a steady influx of fresh data that you can use for growing your business, proxies and scraping are the right way to go.