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What is a Rotating IP Address?

Lukas Motiejunas

2021-06-21
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It is quite likely that you came across the term “rotating IPs.” However, knowing and explaining what IP address rotation is and its cause might be challenging. To fully understand the purpose of this, let’s see what IP rotating is and what it is.

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What is IP address rotation?

First, let’s visit the basics: What is an IP address?
An IP address identifies a device connected to the internet, and there are two types: IPv4 and IPv6.

IP rotation is a process where IP addresses are distributed to a device at random or at scheduled intervals.

For example, when connecting via an Internet Service Provider (ISP), an IP address is automatically assigned from a pool of IPs. The ISP then distributes the IP address as soon as disconnection or reconnection occur.

ISPs rotate dynamic (static don’t rotate) IP addresses because they usually have more users than IP addresses at their disposal. Hence, when a particular user disconnects, the ISP will return the user’s IP address to their pool of IP addresses.

What is a proxy rotation?

ISPs rotate IP addresses, and this process is transparent to their users. Although in the online world, there are plenty of cases when internet users intentionally rotate their IP addresses.

With rotating proxies, you can manage numerous connections from a single device, and carrying out web crawling and data scraping operations becomes a much easier task.

There are different methods used to rotate IP addresses. In some cases, it has to be done manually, as with Chrome proxies (learn how to use proxy in Chrome). But here at Oxylabs, we offer a Proxy Rotator that does all the work for you. How does it work? A client gets one entry node which is used as a static address to get a proxy from the list. The rotator works by random IPs, meaning it rotates an IP on each request.

What is a rotating proxy?

Rotating proxies is a process of assigning a new proxy with every request sent to the target. A rotating proxy itself is an IP address that is changed with another IP address when required.

Why rotate proxies?

When it comes to web scraping operations, the common challenge is to avoid getting blocked by websites while trying to gather the data.

Several techniques can aid the prevention of blocks, one of which is proxy rotation. It can help to operate scrapers past most of the anti-scraping measures as it allows them to imitate the behavior of multiple users, hence strengthening the chance of being undetected while gathering vast amounts of data.

There are countless cases out there when proxy rotation is being used. Here are some examples:

  • SEO firms use proxies that automatically rotate to check keyword rankings from various locations I.e., with Brazil proxy or German proxy, you can check keyword rankings in that country.

  • Data intelligence companies rotate proxies automatically to scrape websites for analytic and performance purposes.

  • Corporate firms can rotate IP addresses to eliminate regional presentation and price gouging.

  • Data triangulation companies validate data through IP rotation.

  • To maintain network loads, IT companies rotate the IP addresses for their outgoing bots.

  • You can exceed request limits and eliminate geo-restrictions.

Methods used to rotate IP addresses

Internet Service Providers rotate IP addresses using a number of different methods:

  • Pre-configured IP rotation. This refers to a technique where the rotation is pre-configured to occur at specified intervals. Once the time specified elapses, the user is assigned a new IP address.

  • Specific IP rotation. The user can choose which IP address to use for an outgoing connection.

  • Random IP rotation. This method assigns a randomly selected address to each new outgoing connection. The user has no control over which address gets assigned.

  • Burst IP rotation. The ISP assigns new IP addresses after a specified number of connections. For example, if the specified number is 10, a new IP address will be given to the eleventh connection after every ten connections are initiated.

How to rotate an IP address?

Manually

On an individual person level, proxy rotation can be carried out manually. For instance, a user can manually configure the proxy settings in Chrome. Proxy managers such as FoxyProxy can significantly help set up and easily change proxies.

Programmatically

You can also execute proxy rotation programmatically using tools such as the Python Requests library. See this detailed guide for more information on rotating proxies in Python.

Proxy Rotator

Alternatively, an internet user can use an automated proxy rotating tool such as our Proxy Rotator. This tool will automatically rotate the proxy IP address using the random IP rotation method.

A dedicated proxy rotating service makes it easy to get past blocks when web scraping. It also reduces the risk of incorrectly configuring the IP rotation process, which could result in the overuse of some proxies and lead to bans. 

Note, our Residential Proxies do not need a proxy rotator and are self-rotating. However, for Datacenter Proxies, we do highly recommend using rotation as that reduces the chances of being blocked even more.

Conclusion

Now you know what benefits a combination of proxies and IP rotation provide and the purpose it serves. Suppose you are indeed carrying out data scraping and web crawling tasks. In that case, we highly recommend implementing a high-quality proxy rotation solution to increase your success rates and protect your proxy pool infrastructure.

People also ask

Why is it essential to rotate proxies?

Websites employ various anti-scraping measures to block bot-like activity. Rotating proxies are essential to imitate organic user behavior to operate undetected on websites.

What are the most common mistakes with proxies and IP rotation?

The most common mistake comes from incorrectly configuring the process itself and consequently overusing particular proxies, leading to bans due to bot-like activity.

Does a rotating proxy provide higher success rates when it comes to web scraping?

Yes. With correct proxy rotation, you can bypass restrictions and implement your web scraping project ideas without issues.

Is IP rotation legal?

Rotating proxies can provide an extra level of security and anonymity as the requests you send to servers are initiated from various IP addresses, often from unrelated geo-locations. Proxies may be legal when they are used without breaching any laws. However, you should get professional legal advice regarding your specific case.

How often do crawlers need to rotate IP?

With our Datacenter Proxies, it’s recommended to do so with every single session. Residential Proxies have automatic rotation.

About the author

Lukas Motiejunas

Lead Account Manager

Lukas Motiejunas is a Lead Account Manager at Oxylabs, and he places a strong personal interest in the market research field. Mainly, in the merge of business sector and digital tools utilization to distinguish the most effective practices to carry out automated market research operations. So if you have any questions relating to market research, he’s your guy to answer them. Lukas believes that he has a hidden talent to be a great chef, although rumor has it, he uses the smoke alarm as a timer.

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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IN THIS ARTICLE


  • What is IP address rotation?

  • What is a proxy rotation?

  • Why rotate proxies?

  • Methods used to rotate IP addresses

  • How to rotate an IP address?

  • Conclusion

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