If you’re looking for a way to extract a lot of data from various online sources, you’ve probably come across web crawling and proxies for web crawling. What is a crawler? How it works? What is the role of proxy servers in web crawling? Chances are these are the questions you want answered.
You are on the good road. Finding more information about web crawling and proxies can help you make informed decisions. Let’s see what you need to know to be able to make the right choice.
Web crawling basics
Web crawling refers to the indexing of data found online. The data is on web pages, and the script is able to do this by mimicking the movements of the spider. This is why the process is called crawling, and the scripts that run it are called crawlers. Since web crawler scripts mimic the movement of spider, they are also called spider, spider bot or simply crawler.
Search engines use crawlers to find out what web pages are about, to index them and help you find what you’re looking for. A crawler gives you the ability to find any type of data found online, upload it to your own servers and analyze it. This link explains more about the sub-theme.
Why is crawling important?
The total amount of online data keeps increasing year by year. However, all this data is unstructured and you cannot make much use of it. Suppose you want to perform price analysis on your competitors. You would need to do some shit, structure it, and then proceed with hours and hours of copy/pasting. In the end, chances are the prices have changed and your data is useless.
Web crawling makes finding, downloading and analyzing data almost automatic. It is important because it can power your business analytics with the latest and most accurate data allowing you to make data-driven decisions. Now that you know what a web crawler is and why it’s important, let’s see how proxies fit into the web crawling overview.
Web Proxies Explained
Understanding web proxies is easy. You should see it as an intermediary that stands between you and the rest of the web. Web proxies are servers specifically configured to act as gateways. They assign you a new IP address and all your traffic is routed through them.
Suppose you make a web request. Usually it goes directly to a web server. And the server delivers the answer directly to you. With a web proxy, your request is forwarded to the proxy, the proxy forwards it to the web server, the server sends the response to the proxy, and the proxy routes the response to you.
How proxies can be used
Proxies can have a variety of use cases. Broadly speaking, their use cases can be divided into two groups: proxies for personal use and proxies for business use.
Individuals often use proxies to hide their real IP addresses. It helps them browse the web anonymously or bypass some geo-blocking restrictions. Companies, on the other hand, use proxies to:
- Monitor Internet usage;
- Monitor Internet usage;
- Web crawling and web scraping;
- Competition monitoring.
Types of proxies
There are several types of proxies. The types are based on the configuration and technologies used by the proxies. The most important types to be aware of are residential and data center proxies. Residential proxies use real IP addresses that have a corresponding physical location. These are especially useful for web crawling operations as they help bot traffic appear as organic traffic.
Data center proxies do not use real IP addresses. They use generic addresses, but this gives them the advantage of having huge pools of IP addresses. With data center proxies, companies have private IP authentication, which improves their online anonymity.
How to Choose the Best Proxy for Your Mining App
There are a few factors you need to consider when choosing the best proxy for your mining operation:
- Number of connections per hour;
- Total time taken to complete the operation;
- IP anonymity;
- Scope of operation;
- Type of anti-crawl systems used by targeted websites.
Any type of proxy may be sufficient for small operations to get the job done. However, large-scale web crawling operations require a structured approach. For example, you can have both residential and datacenter proxy pools, but you also need to use proxy rotators, address reiteration issues, and manage different user agents.
You see, understanding the answer to the question what is a web crawler is not that difficult. However, it is essential to understand proxies and their role in web crawling operations. As you can see, there are different types of proxies, and each offers additional benefits for specific types of users. To choose the right one and minimize the risk of blocking, you must first assess your mining tasks and their requirements.