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Planning a Project on Web Scraping
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Gabija Fatenaite

May 13, 2020 7 min read

So, you’re planning a project on web scraping and don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re looking for a solution best suited for your web scraping projects? Whatever your case is, we can help you out here a little bit.

In this article, we’ll go over how proxies come into play when project planning for web scraping. Meaning we’ll go over where to start for those who never worked with proxies and need a little kickstart, and gradually go down to how to choose the right proxies for your web scraping projects and discuss common bottlenecks in web scraping for the more seasoned businesses in the proxy market.

Depending on whether you’re a newcomer or more experienced in the proxy world, check out the topics below to find what you’re looking for:

Planning a project on web scraping: where to start? 

Alright, so you’re planning a web scraping project. Of course, in the beginning, you should think of web scraping project ideas. As a business, you should find out what sort of data you’ll need to extract. That can be anything: pricing data, SERP data from search engines, etc. For the sake of an example, let’s say you need the latter – SERP data for SEO monitoring. Now what?

For any web scraping projects, you will need a vast amount of proxies (in other words, IPs) to successfully connect to the desired data source through your automated web scraping script. Then proxies will gather your required data from the web server, without reaching implemented requests limit, and slip under anti-scraping measures.

Proxy use explained. Choosing the right proxies for web scraping projects.
For any projects based on web scraping you’ill need to use proxies

Before jumping to look for a proxy provider and buying proxies, first, you need to know how much data you’ll be needing. In other words – how many requests you’ll be making per day etc. Based on data points (or request volumes) and traffic you’ll be needing, it will be easier for you to choose the right proxies for the job.

But what if you are not sure how many requests you’ll be making and what traffic you’ll be generating on your web scraping project? Well, there are a few solutions for this issue: you can contact us at [email protected] to discuss more on your web scraping project ideas, and our team will gladly help you figure out all the numbers you need. Or you can choose a web scraping solution that does not require you to know the exact numbers, and allows you just to do the job you need.

Once you have the numbers or at least have a rough idea on what targets you need to scrape, you’ll find it a lot easier to choose the right proxies or tools for your web scraping project. 

Choosing the right proxies for web scraping projects

There are two main types of proxies: datacenter proxies and residential proxies. There is a lot of misconception going around that “residential proxies” are the best as it provides ultimate anonymity. All proxies provide anonymity online. What sort of proxies you need to buy depends solely on what web scraping project you will be doing.

If you need proxies for, let’s say, a web scraping project like market research – datacenter proxies will be more than enough for you. These proxies are fast, stable, and most of all – a lot cheaper than residential proxies. However, if you want to scrape more challenging targets, let’s say for sales intelligence – residential proxies will be a better choice, as most websites are aware of such data gathering projects and getting blocked on such websites is a lot easier. With residential proxies, however, it will be harder to get blocked, due to their nature of looking like real IPs.

To make things a little clearer, here’s a table of possible use-cases and best proxy solutions for each business case:

Datacenter proxiesResidential proxies
Market research Travel fare aggregation
Brand protectionAd verification 
Email protection

We have gone over how to use proxies for business in one of our articles already, but we left out three other use-cases, however. These include the earlier-mentioned projects based on web scraping like sales intelligence, SEO monitoring, and product page intelligence. Why so? Well, even though you can use proxies for these particular use-cases, you will find yourself struggling with one of the most common bottlenecks found in web scraping. Luckily for you – we do have a solution for this.

Most common bottleneck with web scraping 

So, what is the most common bottleneck with web scraping? It’s time. No matter how many hours you put in and how much resources you have – the most common issue our clients who use proxies have is time. Or not enough of it. 

When you build your proxy infrastructure, you need to maintain it, build separate servers for it, manage it, etc. That takes an incredible amount of time, and due to this seemingly small issue, a lot of the data gathering jobs bottleneck precisely here. 

Not only it is a bottleneck, but it also takes a lot of your resources – meaning spending even more money not only on the maintenance but the workforce as well.

So what was that solution we said we have? A web scraping tool like our Real-Time Crawler. What this tools do is help you gather data in an automated way, saving your resources and time. We handle all the projects based on web scraping on our side and provide you with already parsed or HTML data that you need.

Oxylabs Real-Time Crawler can be used for web scraping projects.
For web scraping project ideas you can choose Real-Time Crawler

“Choosing what tool to use for you web scraping tasks depends on your target sites. Our Real-Time Crawler is the best option for a big search engine or any e-commerce site. This way you’ll have the highest chance to successfully gather data from multiple targets without having to worry about managing proxies, avoiding captchas, and scaling your whole infrastructure.”

Advises our Product Owner, Aleksandras Sulzenko.

Conclusion 

We hope this article has helped with your web scraping project planning and answered proxy related questions a bit more thoroughly. 

Want to find out more information about web scraping? We have other blog posts that will answer all of your questions! The most common challenge for web scraping is how to get around web page blocks when scraping large e-commerce sites. Also, if you have web scraping project ideas, you should learn more about data gathering methods for e-commerce.

People also ask

Web scraping vs. data mining: what’s the difference?

If you are planning to start your web scraping project, you should know that web scraping is only responsible for taking the selected data and downloading it. It doesn’t involve any data analysis. Data mining is a process when raw data is turned into useful information for businesses. Check out our blog for more details: Data Mining and Machine Learning: What’s the Difference?

How to avoid being blocked when web scraping?

By understanding how e-commerce websites protect themselves, web blocks can be avoided. There are very particular practices that can help you scrape data off e-commerce websites without getting banned.

What is the difference between residential and datacenter proxies?

It all depends on whether you need high security and legitimacy, or faster proxies who will hide your IP. Speed, safety, and legality are the main differences between residential and datacenter proxies. If you need more information, read more in our blog post: Datacenter Proxies vs. Residential Proxies.

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About Gabija Fatenaite

Gabija Fatenaite is a Senior Content Manager at Oxylabs. Having grown up on video games and the internet, she grew to find the tech side of things more and more interesting over the years. So if you ever find yourself wanting to learn more about proxies (or video games), feel free to contact her - she’ll be more than happy to answer you.

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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.