What is web scraping and the role proxies play in it

05 April 2022

Today, we’ll tell you about web scraping technology and its tasks, and explain the role of proxy servers in it.

What is web scraping?

Web scraping is an automated process of extracting a large amount of data from the websites. In fact, it is an ordinary web search, but scaled hundreds of times. Trusted proxy websites allow you to mask the scale of such activity.

Imagine that you are searching the World Wide Web for a new part for your car, either looking for a biography of your favorite musician, or a hotel to spend vacation in. Web scraping does the same but crawls thousands of sites automatically. And collects the information you are interested in in one text file or table.

Web scraping is sometimes confused with data parsing. Scraping is the extraction of data from the Internet by specified parameters, mainly through geo targeted proxies. Data parsing means the analysis of the information received for subsequent use during web scraping. Modern programs and apps such as Scrapy allow you to combine such functions. But today we’ll talk more about web scraping. And we’ll try to explain why buying residential and mobile proxies is mandatory for scraping.

Why do we need web scraping?

The main tasks of scraping on the Internet are:

  • studying the market, its main players, offers and prices of your future or possible competitors. It’is useful both at the initial stage of running a business and for monitoring current changes;
  • tracking the news agenda. News feeds, RSS and so on are full of trustful information mixed with gossips, and web scraping helps to find useful ones;
  • evaluation of how effectivene and popular posts in social networks or blogs are. It function helps bloggers and copywriters to understand the relevance of the chosen topic, its popularity and ways of presenting information;
  • machine learning setup. Neural network could use web scraping to receive data for its development;
  • modernization of web resources used for moving website to an updated platform and keep necessary content.

How does web scraping work?

Data extraction in scraping is automated, and each task requires a bot with certain settings. Such program is called a scraper. First, the user defines a set of necessary data, a list of Internet resources for the scraper to work with, features for obtaining information, and trusted proxy websites suitable for this task. The data needed may be stored:

  • inside API,
  • in HTML source code,
  • inside the files available by the external link from the selected Internet resource (for example, in a javascript file).

The simplest way to start web scraping is to write a script using Python and special libraries (such as requests, urlib2). But more often ready-made software solutions are used: ScrapingBot, Scraper API, Xtract.io, Octoparse, Puppeteer and Playwright headless browsers. They are able to extract the desired HTML content, to work with javascript, to filter received information and to display it in different forms (databases, Excel spreadsheets, CSV files or individual APIs). The other features help to bypass restrictions set by websites. But it is more efficient to buy residential and mobile proxies,and cope with the limit set for number and type of requests from one IP address.

The point is that web scraping is a legitimate method of obtaining information, as long as it only concerns data in the public domain. However, most companies try to maintain a competitive edge and defend themselves against automated requests.

The role of proxies in web scraping

Web scraping apps send thousands of requests to websites from a single IP address. Anti-fraud systems react to such actions and block IP. To avoid it geo targeted proxies are used. Astro servers automatically change IP after a certain time interval, or with each new connection established. It can successfully pass web service checks.

Another way websites use to prevent web scraping is performing a check of system language or geopositioning. Using geo targeted proxies protects you against such checks. These servers are located in many countries, and are disguised as the activity of local Internet users. Website security systems determine geolocation, check the provider’s name, and pass the request to the site successfully. It reduces costs to equip the scraper app with a CAPTCHA bypass function. We give you a possibility to buy residential and mobile proxies. Therefore, in most cases, external resources cannot establish the real IP address that carries out a web scraping.

Web scraping is an indispensable tool for monitoring trading platforms, extracting particular data on prices and assortment of competing sellers or companies. It is important not only to set up automation of obtaining data, but also to secure the data collection process. Trusted proxy websites play an important role in obtaining reliable information.


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