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Whether you're a business collecting public web data or simply browsing the internet, being blocked from a website due to an IP ban can be an incredibly frustrating experience. Thankfully, there are several ways you can avoid an IP ban.
In this article, we'll examine IP bans in-depth and provide you with some helpful tips on how to prevent them.
It's worth noting that in some cases, you may be banned from a website based not only on your IP address but also your MAC address (Media Access Control). Since some websites may use one or both of these elements to restrict access, identifying the issue is essential. We'll go over how to resolve MAC and IP bans in the following sections.
MAC address vs. IP address
Both of these are used to identify a device on the internet. However, while an IP address operates on a network layer, can be uncovered by third parties, and is software oriented, the same cannot be said about a MAC address. Instead, MAC address works on data link layers, is hardware-oriented, and third parties will have a harder time finding it.
In short, a MAC address is the physical address of the device and identifies it on the network, whereas an IP address identifies the connection.
To ban an IP address, the host will first need to identify your IP and then include it in their blacklist. Websites can use various methods, such as server logs, cookies, and web analytics tools, to identify your IP address. You can read our article on the topic to learn more about IP addresses and how they work.
There are two ways the server can ban IP addresses: manually or automatically. With the former, the server administrator might manually add your IP address to a blacklist. With the latter, certain triggers will alert the system to automatically block your IP. For example, if an IP address fails to enter the correct sign-in details within a specified timeframe, it will alert the system that the IP address is trying to gain unauthorized access. As a result, the IP address will be blacklisted.
The duration of an IP ban depends on the platform. In some cases, the host might ban you for a few minutes or a few hours. Other times you’ll be denied access for days or months. In most severe cases, you could be banned permanently.
Although there are multiple reasons why an IP could be blocked, the following three are among the most frequent ones:
Sending too many requests to a website can put an excessive strain on its resources and negatively impact its performance. This is particularly common with web scraping, as the process often involves sending numerous requests to the server. As such, we highly recommend practicing responsible scraping to avoid an IP ban and show respect for the website's resources.
Websites frequently utilize IP bans – and rightly so – to prohibit users who participate in harmful activities, such as DDoS attacks or hacking attempts. If a server recognizes that a particular IP address is acting suspiciously, it will include it in its blacklist to protect itself.
Users are required to abide by the rules set forth on websites. The website may ban an IP address if a user violates these conditions. For instance, if an IP address is linked to activities like spamming, disseminating illegal content, or posting hate speech, that IP address will be blacklisted.
Occasionally, you may encounter a scenario where your IP address is banned without you doing anything wrong. For example, this often happens when websites mistakenly categorize web scrapers as malicious bots and restrict their access. In cases like these, there are several things you can do:
One of the easiest things you can do is to remove the application or the browser and install it again.
Step 1. Find Control Panel.
Step 2. Select Programs & Features.
Step 3. Locate the program, right-click on it, and select Uninstall.
Similar to clearing your browser's cache, you can also clean up your computer. By doing this, you will eliminate any leftover files from programs that blocked you.
Step 1. Start by heading to your computer’s search bar and pasting the following locations:
C:\Program Files (x86)
Step 2. Identify and delete files related to the program you got your IP banned from.
Step 3. Then, open the registry by pressing the Windows key + R and entering Regedit.
Step 4. Once you receive a pop-up window, you’ll see more locations below. Paste them into the search bar of the registry, locate folders related to the program, and delete them.
Another good solution for bypassing an IP ban is simply getting a fresh IP address. One way of doing this is by using a trustworthy proxy or VPN service, which can change your IP address and your apparent internet service provider (ISP). If you’re unsure how to choose one, check out our blog post comparing proxy vs. VPN.
As we discussed earlier, some platforms may ban you based on your MAC address instead of your IP. In this case, you’ll need to adjust your MAC address:
Step 1. Head to Settings.
Step 2. Choose Network & Internet.
Step 3. Select Change adapter options.
Step 4. Right-click on the internet adapter and select Properties.
Step 5. After choosing Client for Microsoft Networks, click on Configure.
Step 6. Navigate to Advanced and select Network Address.
Step 7. Generate a new MAC address with an online MAC address generator and paste it into Value.
Step 8. Click OK.
While these techniques are great for overcoming an IP ban once or twice, they won’t suffice in the long run, especially if your business operations depend on uninterrupted access to certain websites. In such cases, it's crucial to find a reliable and more sustainable solution.
To avoid IP bans in the long run, the best solution is to incorporate a residential proxy into your workflow. In light of what we’ve discussed earlier, you might wonder whether proxies are better than VPN services. The choice depends on whether you're an individual user or a company. Indeed, VPN services are excellent for individuals looking to add some extra security and flexibility with a fresh IP address, whereas proxies can be applied to large-scale business operations.
Alternatively, if you find managing proxies to be time-consuming and resource-intensive, proxy solutions like Web Unblocker might be an excellent option. This AI-powered proxy solution can bypass even the most sophisticated anti-bot systems, preventing your IP from getting banned and allowing you to scrape without interruptions. Most importantly, you don’t need to worry about proxy management.
That being said, it's important to emphasize that respecting a website's terms and conditions is paramount before engaging in any web scraping activities. Adhering to these rules will not only prevent you from getting banned but also ensure that your data gathering operations are ethical.
While getting your IP banned can be annoying, there are effective solutions you can implement to avoid that. With the various techniques and solutions we've discussed in this post, you can overcome IP bans and continue with your business operations without interruptions.
We hope you found this blog post useful and that it helps you avoid future IP bans. If you enjoyed reading this blog post, be sure to check out our other blog content about how proxies can increase security or what is an anonymous proxy.
About the author
Enrika Pavlovskytė is a Junior Copywriter at Oxylabs. With a background in digital heritage research, she became increasingly fascinated with innovative technologies and started transitioning into the tech world. On her days off, you might find her camping in the wilderness and, perhaps, trying to befriend a fox! Even so, she would never pass up a chance to binge-watch old horror movies on the couch.
All information on Oxylabs Blog is provided on an "as is" basis and for informational purposes only. We make no representation and disclaim all liability with respect to your use of any information contained on Oxylabs Blog or any third-party websites that may be linked therein. Before engaging in scraping activities of any kind you should consult your legal advisors and carefully read the particular website's terms of service or receive a scraping license.
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