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Mantas Miksenas

Jun 05, 2019 6 min read

We covered in great detail what is a proxy, its advantages, and benefits for businesses. What’s more, Oxylabs’ Real-Time Crawler is an excellent solution for web data collection operations. 

However, we have never compared the two. Which solution would be the best choice for a business? Proxies, or a scraper API? 

There is a reason why different solutions exist and why one is chosen over the other, but before we jump into the why’s, let’s do a quick recap on the basic definitions of proxies and scraper API.

What is a proxy?

A proxy acts as an intermediary between you and the internet. When you’re using a proxy server, your request runs through the proxy server (which changes your IP address) first, and only then connects to the website.

What is a scraper API?

A scraper API is a data collection tool built for data extraction from different sources. It can either be a customized scraper for heavy-duty data retrievals or a scraper built for scraping various, more accessible sources than search engines or e-commerce websites.

Keep in mind that these are only general definitions. There are different kinds of proxies and different sort of scrapers, and each is meant for a different problem to solve. The issues can vary greatly, but it really comes down to what kind of business you are – a big company with a lot of resources or a smaller company seeking to grow big. Without further ado, let’s go over what is the best solution for either of the businesses in this quick guide of web scraping for beginners.

Best solutions for bigger businesses

As a more prominent company, you have the right resources and a trained team to maintain an infrastructure that holds. This means you already have invested in an in-house solution that will scrape the targets of your choice, and all you need now are proxies. 

But then it comes to choosing the right ones. There are two main types of proxies the proxy market usually has to offer – data center and residential proxies

Data center proxies

What are data center proxies?

A Data center proxies are private proxies that are not affiliated with an Internet Service Provider (ISP). They come from a secondary corporation and provide you with entirely private IP authentication and a high level of anonymity.

data center proxies explained

Data center proxies have 3 key benefits:

  • They have a fast response time.
  • From the right provider, they offer a high level of anonymity.
  • They are relatively cheap.

Data center proxies are the best solution for market research, brand protection, and email protection. Check out our GitHub page to learn more about integrations.

Residential proxies

What is a residential proxy?

A residential proxy is an IP address provided by an ISP to a homeowner. It is a real IP address attached to a physical location. Basically, whenever you move to a new place and set up your internet, your ISP will provide you with an IP address. If curious, you can check what is your IP address by simply googling it.

residential proxies explained

Residential proxies 3 key benefits are: 

  • High anonymity due to it being from an ISP.
  • Good for data harvesting.
  • Slight to no chance of getting blocked.

Residential proxies are best used for ad verification, and to scrape flight prices for building travel fare aggregation websites.

However, there is a different kind of proxy solution that can meet residential and data center proxies in the middle. They are known as static residential proxies

Static residential proxies

What are static residential proxies?

Static residential proxies have a contract officially assigned by an Internet Service Provider (ISP). It has the high anonymity of residential proxies combined with the speed of data center proxies.

So, what static residential proxies are is basically the best of both worlds. They are as fast as data center proxies and as reliable as residential proxies.

Best solutions for smaller businesses 

What about smaller companies that have fewer resources and a minor team? Building your own scraper and maintaining a proxy infrastructure simply isn’t a viable option. But to stay amongst your competitors and grow your business, some solution is required. 

Luckily, there are quite a few scraper APIs readily made and supported by a proxy infrastructure maintained remotely by professional developer teams. Oxylabs has two scraping products to offer: Real-Time Crawler and Web Scraper. 

Real-Time Crawler

What is Real-Time Crawler?

Real-Time Crawler is a data collection tool specifically built for data extraction from search engines and e-commerce websites. It is a customized scraper designed for heavy-duty data retrieval operations.

Here’s a quick video on what Real-Time Crawler is and how it works:

We have gone into great detail all about real time web scraping that Oxylabs’ Real-Time Crawler can offer, so make sure to check it out!

Our Real-Time Crawler works best with search engines, e-commerce websites, and it is an excellent solution for product page intelligence. 

Web Scraper 

What is Web Scraper?

Web Scraper allows you to scrape any target of your choosing without the need to set up proxies, let alone manage them. You simply give us a URL, and we give back the data in HTML format.

Web Scaper Explained

Web Scraper is especially suitable for those who don’t want to scrape challenging targets such as search engines or e-commerce websites but need a reliable and fast scraper API for other sources.


Whether you need proxies or a scraper API depends on your resources and business needs. If you are a bigger company with a scraper solution and a developer team ready to maintain your proxy infrastructure, proxies are the better choice. 

However, if you are a smaller company that has fewer resources but a high competition – Real-Time Crawler or Web Scraper is a must. With these scraper APIs, you won’t need to build your own scraper, and you won’t need a whole team managing your infrastructure.

But, big or small, it’s essential to choose the right solution for your needs, whether it is proxies or a scraper API.

If you need a consultation which would be the best option for you, email us at [email protected] and our experienced team will help you choose the best option.


About Mantas Miksenas

Mantas Miksenas is a Sales Development Representative who believes he needs to keep moving forward by pushing the limits. The tech industry compliments the latter aim as it expands boundaries and helps to build the future. While he pushes his limits, he likes to put on a soundtrack of smooth Jazz and improvisational music to keep himself energized while answering your proxy related questions.

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