Greetings, readers! We are keen to share with you the great importance of using a good proxy service in your daily web scraping activities. Why is it so important, you ask? Well, if you don’t like being detected as a bot and get blocked by the website you wish to scrape, it is recommended to use such a service.
There are many methods used by websites to detect bots, in our case, the web scraper.
Scraping the web can become quite a difficult task if you don’t possess the proper equipment, one of which is a proxy service. These services can provide different types of proxies, having different quality and of course, different pricing.
We’ve also prepared a list of service providers and explained how to pick one that fits your needs, so stick around!
What are proxies?
As simple as it sounds, think of a proxy as the middleman between you and the website you visit. This makes your web surfing experience more secure and private.
When you are interacting with a website, it also collects information about you, such as your IP address, location and your devices’ information. A proxy will send your request to said website, masking your identity in the process of retrieving the contents of the website.
What are the different types of proxies?
There are different types of proxies and they are useful in many different ways, depending on what you wish to achieve. Some proxy types are more expensive than others, but for good reasons, as they are more efficient or have some other advantages.
Let’s have a look at some proxy types and see for ourselves which will fit our needs.
These proxies will not add any privacy to your requests, as they will pass all of your information along, but under the proxy’s IP address. They are commonly used to monitor the activity of users over the Internet, in different companies, or even schools.
Compared to a transparent proxy, an anonymous one is, well, anonymous! It hides your IP address and your information, but it will still identify itself as a proxy. This will help you avoid targeted ads or even hide your location.
Using this type of proxy could be problematic because some websites may block you, as they might not like being accessed by proxies.
High anonymous proxies
One of the most secure solutions is using high anonymous proxies, also known as elite proxies. They manage to hide your identity completely and won’t be recognized as proxies by the visited websites. Using high anonymous proxies will reduce your chances of getting blocked by websites while web scraping, so this is a recommended approach.
Just because it is free, doesn’t mean you aren’t paying in some way, as public proxies can be set up by hackers to steal your data. Also, they can be used by any number of users at any time, and might already be blocked by websites anyway.
But that doesn’t mean that all public proxies are bad. If you know where to look, you will eventually find a trustworthy provider that can help you out.
These proxies are generated and stored in the cloud, therefore they don’t pinpoint an actual location. Why use such proxies? Because their cloud service providers have very good Internet connections, which means more speed for you to take advantage of.
The downside is that they share the same subnet, and there exists a possibility that a website will ban all IPs having a specific subnet.
Differentiating a residential proxy from a normal user is unlikely. These IPs are actually addresses of real devices and look like regular clients to servers. Using a service with residential proxies is the best way to avoid getting detected and banned, as the website will find no reason to do so.
Why do you need proxies for web scraping?
We talked quite a lot about what proxies are, what they are used for, and what type of proxies you can get from different service providers, but why would you use them when web scraping? Here are a few reasons why:
- Avoid getting blocked: Using a good proxy service will help you avoid the roadblocks placed by websites. Scraping without getting blocked also saves time, so you will scrape more efficiently.
- Access geo-restricted content: Some websites offer their content only to specific regions around the world, so using a proxy from a location that isn’t blocked will grant you access to that content.
- Scrape en masse: If you want to scrape 100 pages of a website at the same time, you will need 100 different proxies so you won’t be detected as spam because of your mass of requests. If you have 10 different IP addresses it would seem like 100 different people are accessing said website.
These are just a few reasons why using a proxy service helps with your daily scraping. If you want to know more about scraping roadblocks and how to avoid them, why not have a look?
Up next we will talk about what some of the best proxy services bring to the table when it comes to a carefree web scraping process.
Top 10 best proxy service providers for web scraping
We can proudly say that the WebScrapingAPI has more than 100 million proxies for you to take advantage of, with the option to choose whether to use datacenter or residential servers. Moreover, the API handles proxy rotation between calls, taking a part of the users’ job off his shoulders.
WebScrapingAPI offers 4 subscription plans, one of which is free but doesn’t include geotargeting features. The next plan allows you to choose locations in the US, and the other two have the option to choose from 12 different countries for your requests’ origin. You can extend your country pool to more than 195 locations if you are opting for a custom plan, but that is based on the size of your project.
How much do you pay for each plan? Based on your needs, on the number of API calls to be more precise and not on your used bandwidth. Also, you don’t need to worry, only successful calls will be counted towards the monthly total.
WebScrapingAPIs prices are very convenient, as the cheapest plan costs only $20 per month for 200,000 successful API calls, but if you wish to settle for a custom plan, you can choose from a variety of other features such as geolocation, dedicated support, and custom scripts.
Although Shifter isn’t specifically built for web scraping, their proxies can be used for such tasks as well.
This provider offers residential and datacenter proxies but has a shared proxies option too. Their quality doesn’t differ from dedicated ones, but if you are going for these types of proxies, you might share an IP address with one or two different customers as well. This might lead to a slower scraping experience and you may have a higher rate of being blocked, but they are cheaper!
If you are planning on subscribing to a shared proxies plan, they offer 10 such proxies for $30 per month, and if you wish to use dedicated residential proxies, that would add up to $50 a month for the same number of ports.
Did you miscalculate your scraping needs and bought a plan that doesn’t suffice your needs? Don’t worry, they have a 3-day money-back policy to help in rethinking your decisions.
This provider doesn’t come along with a crawler or scraper, but the proxy services they are offering can be easily integrated with such products and hit the mark on other aspects as well. After choosing the location you want to use, NetNut automatically chooses the best proxy to use for optimal speed.
They provide documentation on how to integrate their product with some commonly used web scraping tools. As the process isn’t complicated, it is a bit costly, as you need to use other products as well.
If you are planning to use their proxy service just for your web surfing activities, they provide a Chrome extension. Using the interface you can change the location, rotate your IP address, and of course, turn it on and off.
Curious about how much bandwidth you’ve consumed? NetNut has a real-time dashboard that includes statistics of your total usage, usage per country, and the number of requests.
NetNut has plenty of monthly subscription plans for you to choose from, and offers a 7-day trial for you to play with, for free.
Zyte doesn’t help only with their proxy service, but with a data extraction tool as well. Using their proxy manager you only need to specify the URL of the page you want to scrape, and you will receive the data in a structured format.
If you are busy enough, Zyte can handle 11 billion requests per month for you, which is quite impressive. But, if you don’t need to scrape such a big number of web pages, you can settle for less. Their cheapest subscription plan comes at the price of $29 per month, with a 50K request limit and 50 concurrent requests.
Proxy rotation, geolocation, automatic retries, and proxy optimization are features present in any package you choose.
Datacenter proxies are the main type of proxies used by Zyte, but you can also contact their team and ask for access to residential IPs. These services will be tagged under different pricing, as it will be calculated per bandwidth instead of successful requests.
Having over 100 million IPs around the globe at their disposal, OxyLabs brings to the table not only datacenter proxy services, but also residential and AI assistance for helping you parse e-commerce pages with ease.
When it comes to geo-targeting, OxyLabs provides a map of their proxy locations around the globe where you can select not only the country but the city as well. This feature is very convenient as they have IP addresses from about any country.
The company handles proxy rotations, offering a better scraping experience to its users. If you like speed, OxyLabs can offer you SOCKS5 proxies which are even faster.
If you opt for using datacenter proxies, you will get unlimited traffic and pay for the number of proxies you want to have at your disposal. But, if you want to use residential proxies, the payment will depend on how much bandwidth you will use. For example, their cheapest subscription costs $300 per month for 20GB of traffic.
With a fair number of 2.5 million IP addresses, GeoSurf is a proxy service that offers residential proxies, mobile and desktop VPN, and sneaker proxies.
What are these sneaker proxies? Well, they are mainly used for sneaker bots, which are add-to-cart software designed to help you get a pair of those limited-release Air Jordans and whatnot. They allow you to host multiple IP addresses so you can have access to more products at the same time.
GeoSurf also comes with a browser extension to secure your online activity. You can change from a static to a residential IP directly within the browser, and it allows you to have access to geo-restricted websites.
As every user has different needs, the company has several subscription plans for you to choose from, each depending on the bandwidth size. The first one offers 38GB per month with Residential IPs in over 130 countries for $450 every month.
HomeIP is a proxy provider with over 13M rotating residential IPs. Although they don’t offer a web scraping service, their proxy management system can be easily integrated into your project.
With IP addresses in over 157 countries, you can access content from every corner of the world, and if you want more precision, you can target cities as well if you have the coin.
Speaking of coin, their smallest package costs $85 per month and offers 5GB of traffic and if you want to opt for city targeting, the price rises to $160 with the same traffic. They provide a 7-day free trial for IT and tech companies and also offer a 3-day money-back policy if the selected plan doesn’t fit your needs or wish to rethink your decision.
8. Blazing SEO
Offering proxies from 14 different countries, unlimited bandwidth, and over 300,000 datacenter IP addresses, Blazing SEO can automate your proxy management for your daily eCommerce data extraction with their simple and friendly API.
The company also presents residential proxies for beta testing, but only for a handful of clients which fit their requirements.
Their pricing method is different from what we talked about so far, as they sell every proxy individually and offer discounts based on the number of IP addresses you wish to purchase. For example, if you need between 5 and 99 proxy IPs, dedicated ones cost $1.40 each and if you purchase from 100 to 999 proxies, the price will drop to $1.33 each.
If you want to try out their service, they have a 2-day free package containing 5 proxies and for enterprise customers, they can provide custom trial packages for a higher quantity of proxies.
9. Bright Data
Bright Data is a data extraction service and proxy provider with over 70M IP addresses, easy to use without the need for coding or an infrastructure.
Their product comes with pre-built templates for you to use, a browser extension to directly select items from your browser with a built-in AI ready to extract your data, and a code editor where you can customize where the search should be made, what to do, and what data to extract.
Bright Data provides a large set of rotating proxies, over 700,000 data center proxies, and even mobile residential proxies.
If you only need a proxy service, the company has a few methods of payment for residential IPs to choose from. You can opt to pay as you go for $17,50 per GB, get a monthly subscription for $500 per month, or even a yearly one which comes with a 10% discount.
For their data collector service, the prices differ, the cheapest monthly subscription plan costing $350 each month.
If you want a helping hand when scraping the web, Intoli has features that can automatically detect bot blocking attempts and retry failed requests, and can provide you with a headless browser for your scraper to use.
You can also specify the geographical region for your request origin and even use sticky sessions if you wish to retain certain IPs.
Curious about your data usage? Intoli provides an analytics dashboard to monitor your success rate and how much data you have used, as their pricing is calculated based on the bandwidth.
If you want a custom plan, you can contact the company and discuss your needs, but you can also settle for their monthly subscription, the cheapest starting at $200 per GB.
Don’t know which to pick?
The presented service providers are listed in a random order, as all of them have what it takes to help clients scrape the web undetected and without having concerns for roadblocks.
Now it depends on what your needs are. Can you manage a proxy pool yourself or do you want them to be automatically taken care of? Do you want to implement these services with your own scraper or care to try a pre-built one? If you want a fast solution, using an API would be an optimal approach.
A good piece of advice would be to try out several different services through their free trials or plans and see what fits your needs. For starters, why not have a look at WebScrapingAPI and try out the free 1000 API calls?