If you’ve ever scraped data at scale for business purposes, then you are probably familiar with proxies and their usefulness in ensuring a block-free experience.
You can watch our video or just read on to grasp the basics of choosing the best proxies for your needs.
Shared or dedicated proxies?
Let’s take a closer look at the main proxy types. First, proxies are categorized by their access type – they can be either dedicated or shared proxies.
Shared proxies are used by multiple users simultaneously, meaning they will also be accessible to other users. This can make proxies slower and, most importantly, more likely to get blocked if other users are scraping the same websites as you.
Dedicated proxies are used only by one user. This proxy type is also known as a private proxy. Dedicated proxies provide a user with complete anonymity and high overall performance. As only a single client uses dedicated proxies, they are likely to have a much better success rate.
Residential or datacenter proxies?
The most common proxy types are categorized by their origins - residential or datacenter proxies. At Oxylabs, we provide both solutions.
Residential proxies carry IP addresses provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with residential internet subscriptions. This is why these proxies are almost unblockable - everyone recognizes them as legit retail users (organic traffic). However, residential proxies are usually more expensive and slower than datacenter proxies.
Datacenter proxies aren’t affiliated with Internet Service Providers as they originate from third-party companies like cloud and hosting services providers. These proxies are hosted on server clusters, making them faster with more reliable uptimes.
In general, datacenter proxies are considered the fastest proxy type. The downside is that since these IPs belong to B2B businesses and not residential ISPs, such proxies can be more easily identified and blocked.
What are proxies good for?
Before discussing how to choose the best proxies, let’s take a closer look at what proxies are used for.
Firstly, for regular internet users, a proxy could come in handy if there is a need to browse the internet more privately. If you want to hide yourself and your actual IP address, using a proxy is the easiest way.
What’s more, a proxy tied to a specific location can unlock geo-blocked content when your real IP address doesn’t have the privilege to access some particular information.
On a business level, the same factors come into play, as discussed before.
Externally, many businesses use proxies to carry out their day-to-day operations. The most popular use cases are market research, brand and email protection, cybersecurity operations, review monitoring, and travel fare aggregation.
So, when choosing the best proxies, you should think of the most important part – what websites you are going to scrape and what data you want to extract. Also, if you have already tried web scraping and know your target websites, you should consider what issues you have encountered.
Making a choice
If you need to scrape raw data or assets like images, your average request size becomes quite large. Usually, residential proxies are charged for traffic, so it’s important to consider your budget. In this case, we recommend choosing datacenter proxies since they have unlimited traffic.
If you’re not planning to scrape all the time and need one-time data for your project, residential proxies should be more cost-efficient.
If you’re searching for a solution to scrape real-time data, datacenter proxies are faster and more stable compared to residential proxies. However, they are easier to catch and block. If the response time is not that important, residential proxies are a better option.
Most websites serve content according to the geo-location of visiting IP addresses. Some websites provide content to a specific country, so if you’re visiting a website from abroad, you won’t get any information. In this case, residential proxies will do the best job of scraping data from location-based targets.
Also, the legality of proxies and web scraping, in general, is a much-debated topic among developers and others who work in the data-gathering field. Proxies may be legal in cases where they are used without breaching any laws. Before engaging in any activity with proxies, you should get professional legal advice regarding your specific situation.
The primary purpose of all proxies is the same across the board, but some details could make or break your tasks depending on the proxy type in use. We hope that now you have a better picture of how to choose proxies that suit your needs best.
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