Planning and launching a scraping operation is not an easy task. There is a lot of ground to cover. Choosing bots, configuring them, and avoiding getting blocked are just a few pieces of the puzzle. One of the most important decisions you will have to make is choosing a type of proxy.
There are a lot of nuances when deciding between different proxy types, and one of the more important ones is knowing the differences between static vs rotating proxies. Once you do, you will be able to make an informed decision and go with a proxy that suits your business needs and goals.
Below, you will find everything you need to know about static and rotating proxies, sticky IP addresses, and proxy implications in product information scraping at a large scale.
What is static proxy?
A static proxy allows you to access the web from a single unique IP address. A static proxy is a data center IP that you can get assigned to you. You can continue to use the static IP address you got assigned as long as you need to. The other common name for a static IP address is a sticky IP address.
You will still be able to reap the benefits of using a proxy, though. You will enjoy high speed and good bandwidth while maintaining online anonymity. They are significantly easier to use than rotating proxies as you don’t need to rotate IP addresses.
There is one more thing about static proxies relevant to scraping data. They are not based on a virtual machine. As a result, servers don’t see activities originating from a static proxy IP address suspicious. This significantly reduces the chances of getting flagged as a potential bot user. If you want to know more in detail on what is a static proxy, we recommend you read our blog post all about it.
What is a rotating proxy?
Unlike a static proxy which assigns one sticky IP, the rotating proxy provides you access to an entire pool of IP addresses. This allows you to rotate IP addresses. Or, in other words, get a random IP address to a device at fixed or random time intervals.
Don’t confuse a rotating proxy with a proxy rotator, though. A rotating proxy is a method enabled by a proxy with an extensive IP pool. On the other hand, a proxy rotator is a software solution that makes this process hands-free. Also, a proxy rotator is a must-have tool if you are using data center proxies. This software assigns IP addresses automatically and enables you to choose cooldown times between IP changes.
Data center proxies can only provide you with access to a pool of IP addresses. They are not the same as rotating residential proxies which do IP rotation on their own beyond your control.
Rotating proxies provide you with an additional level of security and anonymity as the requests you send to servers will originate from different IP addresses, often from unrelatable geo-locations.
Scraping and e-commerce industry: the close ties
What does scraping, static and rotating proxies have to do with e-commerce? If you are in the e-commerce waters yourself, you probably know that the competition is becoming harsher every passing day. At the same time, markets are becoming saturated, consumers are becoming more price-sensitive, and search engines play a vital role in product research.
Today, more than ever, businesses in this industry need to get their hands on as much data as possible. This goes beyond making data-driven business decisions and also has something to do with business growth, market penetration, and sustainability.
Scraping streamlines competition research and provides powerful insights into what the competition is doing. Product information pages have a lot to tell. The price and product description copy only scratch the surface. For instance, scraping product descriptions can help you pick up the keywords the competition is using to rank high. User reviews can help you understand the target customers’ pain points.
Manually doing all this is time-consuming, not to mention the number of errors that are pretty common in repetitive tasks. More importantly, information on product pages changes, including prices, discounts, and sales. You are basically unable to detect these changes and identify patterns if you do it manually.
Scraping comes as the best answer to all your competition research needs. It is ultra-fast because it is carried out by bots. Basically, you get all the information you need in real-time without breaking a sweat because the process is completely automated. The data is well structured so that you can immediately spot trends, patterns, and find specific information.
Since we have established the link between scraping and e-commerce, let’s see why sticky proxy vs rotating proxy comparison is relevant.
Static or rotating proxies for product information scrapping
Big players in e-commerce verticals are very well aware their competitors are going to scrape their websites. As far as we know, they are doing it themselves as well. However, scraper bots can ruin the customer experience. They can generate a lot of traffic in a short time window. This amount of traffic and requests sent to the server can slow down an e-commerce website or even bring it down.
As a result, many e-commerce websites implement anti-scraping technologies. These technologies enable servers to spot suspicious user behavior and user agents. Telling bots from users is easy today. Frequent requests and high quantity of requests from a single IP address is one of the main tell-tale signs. This is exactly where the static vs rotating proxies comparison becomes relevant.
As we’ve already mentioned, static proxies assign one sticky IP address. The only good thing about using a static proxy for scraping is that it is not run via a virtual machine. However, it is still one IP address. Should you make hundreds of requests in a short time window, servers will pick it up and block the IP address.
Given the fact that you are performing a large scale scraping operation because the number of product pages is substantial, getting blocked is the most probable, if not imminent, scenario.
It appears that rotating proxies are the option in this particular use-case. It is the only way to ensure that requests sent to a server for scraping services originate from a different IP address. Besides, rotating proxies to change your scraping pattern.
You can set the proxy rotator in different ways to bypass anti-scraping technologies and run your operation without any disruptions.
There are two ways to do it. You can set it to assign a new IP address for each request, or set a time-based IP address rotation.
Choosing the Right Proxy Service
Not all proxy service providers are cut to support your large-scale scraping operation. When choosing a proxy, pay attention to the following:
- Large IP pool – the bigger the IP pool, the better as it minimizes the chances of getting detected and blocked.
- Good customer support – implementing proxies in your day to day scraping operations is not easy. Having access to customer support will help you with onboarding and provide you with assistance should you need it.
- Proxy rotator – some proxy service providers have their own proxy rotator you can use. This reduces the time you need to find a third party rotator and gives you access to a rotator specifically built for their network.
In our static vs rotating proxies comparison, it is obvious which one is a better solution for large-scale product pages scraping projects. If you are about to launch such a project and are wondering about static or rotating proxies, the answer is rotating proxies. They will allow you to see your projects through and avoid getting detected and blocked by anti-scraping solutions.
Want to make the right decision and discuss your options with a professional? Contact us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.