Using A Proxy For Web Scraping
When you’re scraping the web for data, it can be difficult to get past restricted access pages. If you’re trying to scrape an ecommerce site or some other site with login access, then you may need a proxy to access it. A proxy is basically a middleman between your computer and the website you are trying to access so that the site doesn’t know your real IP address. There are lots of proxies out there and finding the right one for your needs can feel overwhelming at first. This article covers everything you need to know about using a proxy for web scraping.
What is Proxy Usage for Web Scraping?
The best way to understand what a proxy is and why you would use one for web scraping is to look at an example. Imagine you want to buy something from Amazon.com. You type the URL into your browser and try to go to the page, but you’re greeted with an error message. The site’s Access Denied page says that you need to be logged into a valid account before the page will show up. Your account would be linked to your IP address and other account details, but you don’t want that. You use a proxy to trick the site into thinking that you’re coming from somewhere else so that they won’t know who you are. The site will show you the same content that it would show a regular visitor, but it will think you’re someone else. This can also be done using a VPN, and there are some VPN services that people can use to get IP addresses in other countries, for example, getting a China IP address using VPN or getting a Japan IP address using VPN.
Should You Use A Proxy For Web Scraping?
I think that web scraping is an art, and it is a very delicate process. It is very easy to over scrape a site and get shut down by the website owner. I think that it is possible to scrape a site without using a proxy, but it would be very difficult and time consuming. The best advice I can give you is to be very careful when you are scraping. Use a proxy when in doubt, and be sure to avoid aggressive or destructive scraping practices.
How to Find a Good Proxy for Web Scraping
There are three things you should look at when choosing a proxy: speed, reliability, and anonymity. You want to find a proxy that’s fast, so that you don’t have to wait too long to see the results of your crawler. A reliable proxy is one that won’t drop out in the middle of a session and leave you with no data. An anonymous proxy is one that won’t leave your computer’s IP address logged on to the website.
A proxy’s speed can be measured in terms of speed, delay, and throughput. Most proxy websites will offer you a speed test so that you can see how your selected proxy performs.
A proxy’s reliability can be determined by the uptime rate and how often it has been down. Most proxy websites will offer you uptime statistics so that you can see how your selected proxy performs.
A proxy’s anonymity can be determined by the level of encryption and whether it’s a paid proxy.
Best Proxies for Web Scraping
- Newshunt - NewsHunt has been around for a while and has a great reputation. It’s also a free proxy that you can use to access restricted websites.
- HideMyAss - HideMyAss has been around for a decade and is still one of the best proxies for web scraping.
- Spysurf - Spysurf is another proxy that has been around for a long time. It’s a paid proxy, but the price is very low.
- Cloudfare - Cloudfare is a very reliable proxy, and it’s also free.
Using Proxies with Python and Scrapy
If you’re using Python to scrape a website with restricted access, then you can use the requests package to proxy the website. Here is an example of how to do it using Newshunt as your proxy:
- First, you have to install the Newshunt proxy package.
- Next, you have to create a proxy and pass it to the requests library.
- Finally, you have to use the get method to open a website with restricted access.
- You can see the results in the terminal.
- This is a very basic example, but it shows you how proxies can be used with Python and Scrapy.
- There are more advanced examples if you want to learn more about using proxies with Python.
Web scraping is a great way to get data that you can repurpose for your own needs. It’s easy to forget that not everyone can access all the information on the web though. Many sites have restricted access that you can’t get past without logging in. That’s where proxies come in. They let you access those sites as if you were someone else so that you can get past any login restrictions.