Web scraping involves using bots to automatically gather data from publicly available online sources. Over the last decade, as both internet and device speeds have increased, scraping tools have become more efficient and powerful. There are now entire businesses based around web scraping. For example, price comparison websites compare the data that they scrape from providers. Web scraping enables these services to gather the latest information without worrying about potentially out of date comparisons.
Why You Need a Proxy
The legality of web scraping is currently in something of a grey area. Several cases are working their way through courts worldwide that could reshape the data scraping market over the coming years. But it seems unlikely that web scraping is ever going to be banned outright. Some businesses and services have been reluctant to allow scrapers free access to their data, public or otherwise. But there are also many willing participants. For example, businesses that appear in price comparison websites benefit from being included in the mix.
However, most websites are at best ambivalent about data scraping. It isn’t the access to data that tends to bother them so much as the high volume of traffic per user. An organic user browsing a website doesn’t request as much data or bandwidth as someone using a scraping tool to rapidly move from page to page looking for data.
Rather than risk a potential IP ban (or even legal action if you target the wrong source), any serious scraper will hide their IP address using either a VPN or proxy.
VPN Vs. Proxy
Both a VPN and a proxy server accomplish the same thing. They are methods for hiding your IP address by having your device connect to an intermediary server before connecting to the wider internet. Doing this ensures that the websites and services you access will see the VPN or proxy server’s IP address, not your original device.
But while VPNs and proxies accomplish the same thing in more or less the same way, there are some crucial differences between the two. It is a fact well known that a VPN is more secure because traffic between your device and the VPN server is encrypted. However, you can configure your proxy to encrypt data if you want additional security. The in-built security of a VPN also comes at a cost.
VPN providers keep all their servers in data centers. When you connect to the internet via a VPN, the IP address that websites see will belong to the VPN server’s data center. This means that any website or service that wants to block VPNs can simply ban the range of IP addresses assigned to each data center.
Commercial proxy services are also often based in data centers. However, just about any internet-connected device can be used as a proxy. By connecting via a proxy device, users can take on the IP address assigned to that device. Proxies that borrow the connections of real users are called residential proxies.
Proxy servers also offer much more in terms of customization options. If necessary, you can have a proxy server rotate to a new IP address for every request you send to a website. Alternatively, you can request a sticky session and keep using the same IP address throughout.
Choosing the Right Proxy to Maximize Profits
There are many proxy providers on the market. To the untrained eye, all these providers can seem indistinguishable from one another. However, not all proxies are created equal. The best proxy for you to use will depend on what you want to do with it. There are numerous best residential proxy lists out there, but before you dive into these, make sure you know what you are looking for.
Datacenter IP addresses are likely to be blocked in bulk. To minimize your chances of having your IP address blocked, a residential proxy network is a way to go. Websites and services can’t distinguish connections through a residential proxy from the connections of regular users.
Residential proxy networks are also substantially larger than data center networks. Some studies suggest that residential proxy networks are at least 2,000% larger than data center networks. With the right residential proxy setup in place, scrapers can increase their profits by as much as 300%. This increase is possible thanks to the ability to access higher quality data more quickly and efficiently than would otherwise be possible.
When you connect via a proxy, your connection appears to come from the proxy server’s location. Spoofing your location can enable you to access region-locked data. Residential proxies put the whole world at your fingertips, enabling you to claim your slice of the $36 billion data scraping market.
Can You Make Money from Web Scraping?
There are numerous ways that you can make money from data scraping. Using a residential proxy makes it substantially less likely that you will be detected and banned by any website you scrape from. If this does happen, you can simply rotate to a clean IP address.
Once you have your proxy configured, you are ready to start scraping. You will find plenty of off-the-shelf scraping tools that you can download and use. But if you are serious about making money from web scraping, you should look into developing your own scraping bots. Programming your own bot will give you complete control over what it does and how it does it.
Some people are currently earning a full-time income from using bots to buy and sell items online automatically. Others are using web scraping to gather pricing information and other data from highly sought-after items, such as sneakers.
However you plan on making money from web scraping, you must use a residential proxy service. If you’re looking for the best residential proxies, visit https://proxyway.com/guides/residential-proxies. A residential proxy will maximize your security and your profits.