Proxies for Scrapy – How to use proxy in Scrapy?

Do you get IP flagged while scraping using scrapy, If so, you do really need the proxies for scrapy, Which type of proxies are the best for scrapy and how to set proxy for scrapy? Let’s find out…

Scraping has been around for quite some time. The origins date back to the early days of the websites when users would need to grab tons of data from them in the shortest time.

Even though there was much fewer data online at that time, scrapers still started to exist. As the data online started to grow exponentially, so did the need for more complex scrapers. What was once a simple extraction tool turned into a complex service for scraping data off websites.

There are probably hundreds of scrapers today. Having that big of a choice may confuse some people, but at the same time, it offers a great diversity regarding price and features. There is a scraper for everyone. Before we dive into the topic, here is a little introduction for people that are unfamiliar.

What is Scrapy?

Scrapy is a free and open-source web scraper. The service is coded in Python, and unlike some of its competitors like import.io, it is a terminal-run web scrawler. It means that you do not get a user interface with fancy and shiny buttons; instead, you will have to do some coding, the old fashioned way.

Related, Essential Python Web Scraping Tools

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What are Proxies?

Proxy ServerProxies are as old as the internet itself. A proxy server acts as a middleman between you and the website that you are sending requests to. In simpler terms, the request is sent out from your computer to the proxy server, and from there, it is redirected to the website server that you want to send requests to.

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Why you need proxies for Scrapy?

Now you might wonder, what do proxies and scraper have in common?

Quite a lot, actually. Web scrapers cannot work without proxies. When you are scraping a website, you are making lots of requests to the server each second. If you do that from your home IP address, you will be flagged and banned instantly. The reason for that is no human is able to make that many requests by hand, so the server knows that a scraper is lurking.

The solution for that is proxies. They enable you to make multiple requests from various IP addresses and providing you with seamless scraping experience.

Another use of proxies in a scraper is geo-location. If you are scraping a website that is restricted to a certain location and you are not in that location, you will not have access to it.

For example, you might be located in Europe and want to scrape a US website that does not allow people outside the US to access it. Proxies can open that door for you.

scrapy with proxyUnlike some, if its competitors Scrapy does not come with proxies out of the box. Instead, you will have to set them up yourself. After all, it is a free service, and nothing free is ever really free. In this case, the scraper is free, but you will need to pay for proxies.

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Rotating Proxies for scrapy

Speaking of, if you are not sure which proxy provider to go to, do not worry, there are tons of them. Luminati, Smartproxy, Stormproxies, Microleaves are only a handful of the plethora of proxy services that you can go for.

Residential IPs of luminati.io - Never get blocked

Our recommendation regarding proxies is to use rotating residential ones. They are essentially people’s home IP addresses, and most of the proxy providers have implemented an automated rotating algorithm based on your specifications. It is a better approach because datacenter proxies are often already marked as proxies, so a lot of servers will be aware of that.

Plus, the provider will rotate the proxies automatically for you, so you do not need to change additional settings in the scraper. Be wary though; residential proxies are more expensive than datacenter ones.

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How to add proxies to Scrapy?

Now we come to the topic of today’s article – how to add proxies to Scrapy?
You have two ways to do that, and both are easy. You can either add the proxy details as parameters or with a custom proxy middleware.

Parameter

When you scrape, there are several basic parameters that you set up, which include a URL from where the data is scraped, header, and a callback function (not always). If you want to add a proxy in the mix, you will need to set up a mate parameter which looks like this: “meta={“proxy”: “address:port”}”. You can add this line below the header parameter and replace “address:port” with the address and port provided by your proxy provider.

Middleware

This is a two-step process, but still fairly simple. You will need to create your own custom middleware and enable it.
First, creating the middleware.

class ProxyMiddleware(object):
def process_request(self, request, spider):
request.meta[“proxy”] = “address:proxy”
request.headers[“Proxy-Authorization”] =
basic_auth_header(“user”, “pass”)

In this class, you will have several things to define: the proxy address and port and the authentication information – username and password. Once you replace those with the correct information, you will be good to go.
The next step is to enable middleware. To do that you need to add the following in the SPIDER_MIDDLEWARE settings:

DOWNLOADER_MIDDLEWARES = {
‘myproject.middlewares.ProxyMiddleware’: 350,
‘scrapy.downloadermiddlewares.httpproxy.HttpProxyMiddleware’: 400,
}

Make sure to add this above HttpProxyMiddleware.

Once both steps are completed, you will be good to go.

Testing the proxy

Often people start scraping and find out that their proxies were not working. There are tons of reasons why that might happen, so we will not go into details. Instead, we can recommend that you do a trial run first and see if your proxies are actually working.

The easiest way to do that is to run a few sessions off a website that displays your IP address.

are only a few that you can use.

Run the scrape and check the results. If you get your home IP address, that means that something is wrong, and you need to double-check your scraper. Otherwise, you are good to go.


Conclusion

Proxies on scrapers have been saving people from banned IP addresses for years. This duo is the reason why we can scrape tons of data from a website without getting detected or blacklisted. If you use Scrapy, our guide will help you add your custom proxies to your scraper and grab all the data that you need.


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