Daniel - November 20, 2020
This post will show you how mobile proxies and web scraping can be fused together.
Web scraping has become essential in increasing lead generation capacity, outrunning market competitors, monitoring market developments and activities, and understanding customers’ needs and demands.
Due to the increasing use of web scraping tools, websites now use anti-scraping bots to block web scraping bots from harvesting data on their sites.
Now, let’s explore how web scraping bots can successfully harvest data using mobile proxies to evade anti-scraping bots used on websites.
Mobile devices are used as proxy servers for mobile proxies because they do not have a static IP address for connecting to the internet. Instead, they use IP addresses assigned by their Mobile Network Operators for each internet connectivity session that they establish. Likewise, the assigned IP address is withdrawn at the end of each connectivity session.
Therefore, thousands of mobile device users using the same MNO share the same IP addresses because their MNO does not issue permanent IP addresses for connecting to the internet. Instead, they rotate a set of IP addresses amongst their users.
Since proxies act as ‘the middleman’ through which scraping bots connect to a website, the mobile proxy shields the web scraping bot’s IP address and location, making the scraping bot appear as an anonymous user. Proxies also protect the scraping bot by making their requests appear as though it emanates from a mobile device.
Here are the significant benefits of using mobile proxies for web scraping:
Evade IP blocking
Using proxies helps data scraping bots to evade IP blocking by the target website. Even when scraper bots exceed their request limits per time, the site won’t be able to block out the bot because it cannot access the bot’s original IP address.
If the proxy IP address is blocked, the scrapper bot can easily change to another proxy IP address and continue its data scraping activities on the target website.
Bypasses set limits
When mobile proxies are used, it helps the scrapper bot to bypass request limits set by websites. Most anti-scraping websites use software that limits the number of requests a device can make from the website within a given timeframe. Exceeding this limit will cause the website to automatically block the IP address sending the series of web requests.
However, when using proxies, the bot channels its requests through several IP addresses, making it look like the request comes from several devices. Therefore, automatic bot blocking is not triggered off since the request is coming from multiple IP addresses.
When choosing a mobile proxy for web scraping, users should consider the following factors: speed, reliability, and price.
Based on the above factors, proxies are classified into three categories.
Public mobile proxies
Although public mobile proxies are free, they pose a danger to the user because they are low-quality proxies that do not use HTTPS. Hence, data channeled through such proxies are not encrypted and secured. This implies that such data can be viewed and intercepted by third parties.
Additionally, because such proxies are from untrusted sources, they can contain malware that can harm users’ devices. In fact, a public mobile proxy is not an option for web scraping.
Shared mobile proxies
As the name implies, shared mobile proxies are mobile proxies shared by more than one user. This implies that the users access the server simultaneously and also bear the cost. Although this option is better than using a free mobile proxy, it is relatively faster.
Dedicated mobile proxies
Unlike shared mobile proxies, dedicated mobile proxies are mobile proxies that are accessed by a single user. A dedicated mobile proxy is much faster and expensive; hence, choosing a dedicated mobile proxy for web scraping will depend on your budget, proxy performance, and project size.
Irrespective of the cost, investing in a dedicated mobile proxy is the best choice for web scraping.
For successful data scraping, data scraping bots will require a collection of mobile proxies to work with. This is because anti-scraping software or bots will recognize a data scraping bot when it makes incessant requests from only one IP address.
Hence, having a proxy IP address pool will enable the scraping bot to change proxy IP addresses at regular intervals to avoid being blocked by the targeted website.
Proxy pool pricing depends on the number of proxy IP addresses within a proxy pool. The question most often raised by data miners is how many proxies do they need in a pool? There is no satisfactory answer since needs and bot types vary.
An estimated 100 proxy IP addresses are needed in a proxy pool. This figure is arrived at by making the following deductions.
Since websites have software that limits the number of requests a device can make at any given time, it is assumed that a real human will make ten requests per minute even when the human user opens links in multiple tabs.
The above deduction implies that a human will make about 600 requests per hour. Hence, it is safe to set the limit of requests a bot can make to 600 requests or less per hour.
Assuming a scraper bot can process 60,000 URLs per hour, then the number of proxy IP addresses needed would be 100 proxy IP addresses when the number of URLs processed per hour is divided by the number of requests a human can make per hour, which is 600.
Subscribing and using proxy pools for web scraping isn’t a big issue. The big deal here is managing proxy pools to ensure that the mobile proxies are not banned.
These factors are essential for a successful web scraping session with a proxy pool:
User agents: This involves configuring and managing the proxy pool to maintain an authenticated browsing session in a web browser. Common user agents include Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, etc.
Set delays: Setting delays and applying an intelligent throttling system in the bot’s settings will help the bot evade rate-limiting software or anti-scraping bots on target websites. This enables the bot to avoid a regular scraping pattern.
Retry requests: Scraper bots should be enabled to use a different proxy IP address to retry requests in cases of bans, errors, timeouts, request unavailability, etc.
Manage geographical targeting: Scrapping on geo-restricted websites will require that dedicated proxies are used on such websites. Hence, bots should be configured to use dedicated IP addresses for scrapping from geo-restricted websites.
Control proxies: In some instances, a bot will be required to maintain a session with the same IP address; in such cases, configuring the proxy pool will solve this challenge.
Identify bans: A proxy solution to anti-web scraping will have to resolve issues such as captchas, blocks, ghosting, redirects, etc.
Note: you should also avoid falling into honeypot traps by configuring the scraping bot to prevent clicking on hidden links.
While several mobile proxies service providers are out there, a significant number falls short in speed, reliability, and pricing.
However, the best mobile proxies service provider is ProxyRack. Thankfully, ProxyRack provides both 3G and 4G mobile proxies for their users to facilitate successful web scraping sessions.
Additionally, they offer unlimited IP address switching. That way, you can switch to a new IP address from their cellular ASN of IP addresses pool.
You will also be provided with dedicated access to a real 4G device connected to a real residential 4G Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Their mobile proxies are available in three pricing packages: Shared, Rotating, and Dedicated Proxies.
Data harvesting plays vital roles in several aspects, including increased lead generation. Hence, careful consideration must be given to mobile proxies and web scraping tools used to scrap quality data.
Using mobile proxies for web scraping reduces the likelihood of being detected and banned by anti-scraping bots.
The bottom line is this: mobile proxies remain the best choice of proxy for high-quality web scraping. Thankfully, data miners can subscribe to quality mobile proxies from ProxyRack, a reliable proxy service provider.
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