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Best Proxies for Web Scraping: 2024 Guide

Roberta Aukstikalnyte

2024-06-103 min read

If you’re serious about web scraping, you’ll quickly realize proxies are a critical component of any web scraping project. Without them, you’ll likely run into various issues, including blocks or restricted content. But it doesn’t end there: you also have to choose the right type and provider, otherwise the result may be counterproductive. In today’s guide, you’ll find everything you need to choose proxies for scraping: types, features, comparisons, and more. 

Proxies and web scraping: The dynamic duo 

To put it in the simplest terms, web scraping is the process of extracting large quantities of data from websites in an automated way. It’s then used for various purposes, for example, SEO monitoring, brand protection, and more. 

However, some websites implement anti-bot measures, such as IP bans, geo-restrictions, and CAPTCHAs. Oftentimes, this is done to prevent malicious actors from harming their website but it may affect you too, even if your actions are ethical and legal. Either way, proxies are the be-all and end-all when it comes to avoiding running into said issues. Let’s dive a little deeper to learn why that is. 

Understanding proxies

Proxies are servers that act as intermediaries between your scraping tool and the target website. By routing your requests through different IP addresses, proxies help you avoid detection and bypass restrictions like IP bans and geographical limitations.. They can also handle CAPTCHAs and ensure that your scraping process goes uninterrupted. Long story short, IP bans, CAPTCHAs, and geographical restrictions are the most common scraping issues that proxies help with. 

Proxy types for web scraping: comparison

Not only do you need to use proxies for web scraping, but you also have to choose the right proxy type. That is correct – there are numerous proxy types with different capabilities. So, how do you decide which one to go with? 

When choosing a proxy for web scraping, it's important to consider factors such as scale, target websites, budget, speed, and security. Here’s a comparison of different types of proxies:

Proxy type Scale Speed Security Budget Pros Cons
Residential Proxies Medium-high Medium High $$ High anonymity, diverse IP pool Expensive
Datacenter Proxies High High Medium $ Fast, cost-effective Higher IP block risk
Mobile Proxies Medium Medium High $$$ Mobile-specific targets, harder to detect Expensive

What are other proxy categories? 

In the table above, we have covered proxy types (Datacenter, Mobile, ISP and Residential Proxies) that are determined by their origin, e.g., they come from a data center or an internet provider. However, these same proxies can be split into further categories, according to their protocol or whether they’re used by several users or one. Let’s dissect them: 

  1. Dedicated Proxies: These proxies are exclusively used by one user at a time, ensuring high speed and reliability.

  2. Shared Proxies: Multiple users share these proxies, making them more affordable but less reliable.

  3. HTTP/HTTPS Proxies: These are used for general web scraping and support HTTP/HTTPS protocols.

  4. SOCKS5 Proxies: These proxies support any traffic and offer better performance and security for various protocols.

Finally, we have a video where our Product Owner Mindaugas D. explains common proxy types and gives tips on choosing the right one:

Proxy management 

Unfortunately, just getting proxies for your web scraping project won’t cut it – you have to take care of their management too. Effective proxy management includes rotating them to avoid detection, managing headers and sessions, and using user agents to mimic different browsers. If that sounds like a lot of steps, it is, but you can use a proxy management extension to make it easier. 

Common issues and tips

Like we’ve mentioned already, web scraping can sometimes be challenging due to issues like IP bans, CAPTCHAs, and slow performance. Below are a few main tips to overcome these challenges; to get the full list for anti-blocking tips, click here. 

  • Rotate Proxies Frequently: This helps in avoiding detection by target websites.

  • Use Headless Browsers: These browsers mimic real user behavior, reducing the chance of getting blocked.

  • Implement Rate Limiting: To avoid overwhelming the target server and getting banned.

  • Use Scraper APIs: Alternatively to getting proxies and implementing them into your scraping infrastructure, you can get all-in-one scraper APIs.

    For example, Oxylabs offers Scraper APIs for collecting public data from the majority of websites, search engines, and e-commerce marketplaces. Our scraper APIs take care of all the complexities involved in web scraping, including handling proxies, managing sessions, and rotating user agents. It provides a seamless scraping experience, allowing you to focus on extracting valuable data without worrying about the technical details. 

Wrapping up 

We hope you found our brief guide for choosing proxies useful. The process of web scraping can get quite challenging but if you have the right tools (proxies, of course) and methods, you’ll get around it in no time.

Frequently asked questions

How many proxies do you need for web scraping?

The number of proxies needed depends on the scale of your scraping project. For large-scale scraping, multiple proxies are recommended to distribute the load and avoid detection.

How to set a proxy for web scraping?

Setting a proxy involves configuring your web scraping tool to route requests through the proxy. Most scraping tools provide options to set proxies, including specifying the proxy server, port, username, and password.

Is a VPN or proxy better for web scraping?

Proxies are generally better for web scraping due to their ability to handle high volumes of requests and rotate IP addresses. VPNs are more suited for secure browsing and accessing restricted content.

What is the best proxy for Google scraping?

Residential proxies are often considered the best for Google scraping due to their high anonymity and lower chance of being blocked.

Do I need a proxy list?

Yes, having a list of proxies is essential for rotating IP addresses and avoiding detection while scraping.

By understanding the role of proxies and effectively managing them, you can enhance your web scraping activities and gather valuable data without facing significant hurdles. Whether you need residential, datacenter, mobile, or ISP proxies, make sure to choose the right type for your specific needs and budget. 

About the author

Roberta Aukstikalnyte

Senior Content Manager

Roberta Aukstikalnyte is a Senior Content Manager at Oxylabs. Having worked various jobs in the tech industry, she especially enjoys finding ways to express complex ideas in simple ways through content. In her free time, Roberta unwinds by reading Ottessa Moshfegh's novels, going to boxing classes, and playing around with makeup.

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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