Are you planning on working on a web scraping project? Then you need to know that the proxies you use can make or mar your project. Come in now to get recommendations on the best providers in the market.
Web scraping is a very rewarding exercise. With it, you can scrape data of any type online to use for your educational, business, or even research work. However, if you are going to be web scraping at any reasonable scale, then you need proxies to succeed else, you will get blocked by the website you are scraping from.
This is because of the request limits set by websites to prevent bot traffic, which are not for contributing nothing positive to websites but increasing a website server running cost and slowing it down. Some websites even see web scraping as illegal and can take it up with you.
But the truth is, depending on the technicalities involved, web scraping can be legal or illegal. Regardless of which zone yours falls in, you need proxies for you to be successful. This article will be used to provide you recommendations on the best web scraping proxies to use. You will also get recommendations on the best proxy APIs to use if you don’t want to deal with managing proxies.
This article will be used to open your eyes to proxy usage and management for web scraping. Recommendations will also be made regarding the proxies to use for web scraping.
Do You Need Proxies for Web Scraping?
The question of whether you need proxies or not depends on the number of pages you want to scrape and if you want to scrape localized contents that are targeted towards users in certain locations.
Usually, when the number of requests you need to send to a website exceeds the request limits allowed by a website, you will need to use proxies to exceed those limits. I have worked on projects in the past that requires me to scrape data, and I never used proxies without experiencing any block. But that project was actually small. If you have to scrap at a reasonable scale, you need proxies.
Also, when you need to scrape geotargeted data, you need to use proxies from those regions for you to access the pages else, you will be scraping the wrong content – that’s if you are allowed to the visit the page.
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How Many Proxies Do You Need
Now that you know that proxies are a must if you need to scrape a website at any reasonable scale, the question now is; how many proxies do you need for your scraping project. The answer is not a straight forward one, as it depends on the website involved. From the above, I stated that websites have a specific number of requests they see as natural for a specific period of time, and when you cross that, you will be blocked.
For an average website, sending 5 – 10 requests in a minute is considered normal. Going with 10 requests in a minute, a single IP Address can actually send 600 requests in an hour without getting blocked.
Now depending on the programming language and libraries, you are using to download pages and parsing them, you can potentially scrape 600,000 pages in one hour. From the request limit and number of pages, you can scrape in an hour; we can deduce the number of proxies required for your project by dividing the number of pages that can be scraped with the request limit per IP. The equation is below.
600,000 / 600 = 1000
As you can see, you need 1000 proxies for that. The number varies depending on the website request limit, the programming language, libraries, and how well optimized your code is.
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Proxy Rotation Management
From the above, you can tell that you need to manage your proxies well else, they will get banned within the first hour of using them on your target website. You need to rotate them at a random interval so that the target website won’t have a noticeable pattern to pin you down with.
No matter the method of rotation you use, just make sure you do not send more than 600 requests with the same proxy, so you do not exceed limits.
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Residential IP Proxies for Web Scraping
I forgot to mention earlier; proxy management can be difficult. Rotating, throttling, and other management tasks required can take more time and expertise to set up, and if you mess things up, things can become inefficient and can hurt your project.
The best thing to do is make use of proxy providers that takes care of IP rotation for you. It is also important I stress here that residential IP proxies are the best for web scraping. Datacenter proxies can work on some websites. Below are the 3 best residential proxy providers in the market right now.
- Proxy Pool Size: Over 70 million
- Locations: All countries in the world
- Most advanced
Without missing words, I can boldly tell you that Luminati is the best proxy service provider in the market right now – and other sources confirm that. This is as a result of Luminati having some key important features that many other providers lack. Take, for instance, in the area of web scraping; it has a good session control management system that is second to none and gives you control 100 percent. They have proxies that are high rotating and change IP Address after every web request.
If sessions need to be maintained, Luminati also got you covered as you can decide the specific time you need a static IP for. The major problem with Luminati is pricing – it is considered expensive by many small marketers.
- Proxy Pool Size: Over 40 million
- Unlimited concurrency threads
- Editor Choice
Smartproxy is in the same league with the two above but defers from them in terms of minimum monetary commitment. While the two above requires more than $400, with just $75, you can get started with Smartproxy. Currently, Smartproxy has over 10 million residential IPs in its pool, and this is distributed among countries of the world.
It is slightly inefficient when it comes to city targeting as it has proxies only in 8 major cities. It also has high rotating proxies and sticky proxies. However, it is important you know that just like the others, Smartproxy pricing is based on bandwidth and, as such, metered.
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- Proxy Pool Size: Over 2.5 million
- Locations: 130 countries
- Concurrency Allowed: Unlimited
GeoSurf is another residential proxy provider. Their proxies are undetectable, just like Luminati. We have carried out a compatibility test and discovered that GeoSurf is compatible with many complex websites. It has got proxies in all countries around the world and also has city-specific proxies in about 1700 cities around the world.
What makes them perfect for web scraping aside from being undetectable is their high rotating proxies that change the IP Address assigned to your web requests after each request. However, just like Luminati, its pricing is also seen as expensive.
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Rotating Proxy API for Scraping
Even with proxies, websites can use some of the actions of your bot to pin you down and force you to solve Captcha. To the experienced web scrapers, they know how to get around this, but others will have to pay for a Captcha solver. If you are not ready for all of these, then I will advise you to make use of a proxy API. Below are the top 3 proxy API in the market.
- Pricing: Starts at $99 for 200,000 requests
- Starts at 50 to 200 concurrent connection
- Free Trial: 14 days (10k requests)
Crawlera is a proxy API owned by scrapinghub.com. the Crawlera API has been developed specifically for web scraping. As such, you have nothing to worry about – just send a URL to the Crawlera API and get the web page returned to you.
Yes, you do not need to worry about using proxies, following tips and tricks to avoid detection and all that. You do not even have to worry about sessions, cookies, and all that. They make use of proxies behind the hood.
- Pricing: Starts at $29 for 250,000 requests
- Starts at 10 to 50 concurrent connection
- Free Trial: 1000 requests
Scraper API is another proxy API for web scraping. Scraper API takes care of a host of things such as proxies, browsers, and Captchas – so you don’t have to. With Scraper API, all you have to do is send a simple API call, and the HTML of the page is returned to you. Scraper API is used by a good number of developers around the world. It has extensive documentation. It is also fast, reliable, and provides a free trial option – just like Crawlera.
- Pricing: Starts at $29 for 50,000 requests
- Starts at 10 to 30 concurrent connection
- Free Trial: 1000 requests
Proxycrawl is an all in one crawling and scraping provider. You can use it Scaper API to get data for your SEO audit exercises. They make use of proxies and anti-captcha systems behind the scene, so you do not have to. Proxycrawl, just like the others above, makes use of a simple and easy to use API.
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Hardly would you hear of web scraping without the mention of proxies, especially when done at a reasonable scale and not just scaping a few pages. For the experienced web scrapers, incorporating proxies is easy, and paying for the service of a proxy API for web scraping might be an overkill.
However, if you are not experienced, you can simply make use of a proxy API and forget about proxies, Captchas, and browsers. Recommendation for both proxies and proxy APIs have already been discussed above – make your choice from the options.