A web scraping task isn’t the easiest as a lot could go wrong in the process leading to waste of resources. It requires proper preparation so the necessary things could be put in place. From choosing the right bots, configuring them for your use, and avoiding blocks as you use them, there is a lot more to do. Another important decision you would have to make to ensure that your operation ends well is choosing the right proxy. There are different types of proxies based on operation and in this article, we would focus more on static vs rotating proxies.
Knowing the differences between static and rotating proxies would save you the stress of being indecisive on the one to use for your project. Once you know what each one does, you would not just make a random decision but an informed one that would be right for your business needs.
In this article, you will find everything you need to know about rotating and static proxies, the implications of proxies in large scale product information scraping, and sticky IP addresses.
With a static proxy, you can have access to the internet using a single IP address. Static proxies give you access with an IP other than yours from any server location of your choice so that you can remain anonymous. Once you have set the proxy with your browser, you can use it for as long as is necessary. Static proxy is also called a sticky IP address.
With static proxies, you will enjoy the benefits of using a proxy such as high-speed connection and good bandwidth. You will also carry out internet tasks with high-level anonymity and the ease of use this type of proxy brings is worth noting.
As it concerns data scraping, note also that static IPs are not based on a machine that can be recognized by some very secure sites from a mile away. As a result, using static IPs reduces your chances of getting blocked as a bot user. So for a higher chance of successfully extracting data from a target site, static IPs are the go-to.
Rotating proxies are unlike static proxies that offer you a single unique IP. Instead they give you access to a pool of IPs so that you can rotate them at random intervals or fixed time depending on the technique you are using. Rotating proxies are not the same as a proxy rotator. While rotating proxies are offered by the proxy service provider by giving you access to an extensive proxy pool, a proxy rotator is a software that automates the process of rotating the IPs. Proxy rotators are also very essential if you are using datacenter proxies as it automatically assigns proxies and changes IPs to allow for cooldown times between the change.
With rotating proxies, you have an added layer of security and anonymity to your internet use as the requests you send would be from different servers and in different locations most times.
Datacenter proxies are not the same as rotating proxies and as such can only provide you with access to a pool of IPs, but not rotate them for you. IP rotation is not a feature they offer and so you would need a proxy rotator for that purpose.
Static vs Rotating Proxies: Which is Better For Business Use?
Those in the eCommerce industry know that their competitors are scraping their sites, and they too are doing it. Everyone indulges in web scraping because it provides the necessary data to keep the business moving, but it is harmful to the target web server and can ruin customer experience. Since bots are used, a lot of traffic would be generated in a short time and that amount of traffic can slow down the server. It can even go as far as bringing the site down and that is one of the reasons why websites put up anti-bot measures.
The effects of bots on a website can shut down the company if restrictive measures are not put in place. Most websites implement anti-scraping technologies to enable website servers to detect suspicious user behavior. This way, it’s easy to differentiate bots from real human users and one way this is possible is because bots send requests frequently and in large quantities from a single IP address. So to bypass this, you would need your knowledge of static and rotating proxies.
Static proxies provide you with one IP address to use until it becomes necessary that you change it. The advantage of using this proxy is that it is hard to detect since it isn’t run by a virtual machine. Bear in mind however that the hundreds of requests that would be sent would all come from the single IP address and in a short time. So the website servers would recognize this activity as bot activity and block the IP.
Since you are most likely to be performing large scale scraping in e-commerce as there are quite a several product pages, it is almost definite that you will be blocked. The use of rotating proxies or dedicated proxies with a proxy rotator is the best chance you have to prevent your IP from getting blocked. You can adjust the settings of your proxy rotator in different ways to bypass the anti-scraping measures put in place by the website’s administrator so you can get the needed results without any hiccups.
You can either set the proxy rotator to assign a new IP after every request or set the IP change after a fixed time.
Differences Between Static and Rotating Proxies
Since rotating proxies are always changing IPs after every session, it’s harder to track a user’s activity as compared to the use of static proxies. You can however increase your anonymity if you use static proxies by using an IP rotator. It functions to rotate your IPs after a fixed time or after every session.
Static proxies provide you with 99.99% uptime, making them the most stable among the two.
Static IPs are less secure compared to rotating proxies since you use just one proxy for all your tasks. It’s quite easy for hackers to infiltrate your network and steal your data or track your activity. You can make your static proxies more secure however with the use of an IP rotator.
If you are on a tight budget, the best choice of proxies for you would be rotating IPs. Rotating IPs can be reused and don’t require much to keep them running unlike those of static proxies.
Web Scraping and The Ecommerce Industry
You must have noticed that static and rotating proxies are mentioned most times with eCommerce. What do they all have in common? If you own an online retail store, you will agree that the competition is fierce and it gets even so by the day. More brands are coming up daily, and customers have a lot of options that they have the luxury of becoming price sensitive. You will also acknowledge the role of search engines in market research.
Because of the way the industry has become, companies depend on data to survive and so they need as much data as possible. It’s not just about making the right decisions anymore, but it goes further to help with the growth of the business, sustainability, and market penetration.
With scraping, you stand a better chance against the competition as your research would let you know what your competition is doing. There is a lot of information you can get from product information pages, and price and product descriptions are only the tip of the iceberg. For example, by scraping product descriptions you can get the keywords your competition is using to rank high on search engines. You can also use user reviews to know the strength and weaknesses of your competition and improve on them.
It’s possible to do all these manually, but it’s painstakingly time-consuming and stressful to achieve. Besides the number of errors that would be made would defeat the purpose of the entire task as the data is supposed to be accurate. Also, data on product pages like the prices changes constantly and by extracting data manually, you would be unaware of such changes and the patterns would elude you.
When you need to make market research and find out what your rivals are up to, web scraping is the answer. It's fast and accurate as it is done by bots. All the data you need can be gotten in real-time without stress to you as it's an automated process. You will also get well-structured data so that it’s easy to spot patterns and trends and get specific information.
To use a bot, you would need to use a proxy to be anonymous, and regain access even after your IP has been blocked. A proxy also makes it less likely for you to be blocked from a site as there is a pool of IPs you can choose from to ensure you work well within acceptable limits.
Guide to The Right Proxy Service For Product Information Scraping
If you are using a proxy for your web scraping needs, note that not every proxy service provider can accommodate your needs especially if large-scale scraping is involved. So to choose the best proxy service, note the following:
Some proxy service providers will always be mentioned when you search for the best proxies for web scraping. Go for these reliable ones that have made a name for themselves already due to their good service delivery. You are more likely to be impressed with the performance you get.
Go for a proxy service provider that has a large pool of IPs. This way, you will have enough fresh IPs to switch to so that it’s difficult to get detected and blocked during the process.
Some proxy service providers provide you with rotating proxies, while others would require that you get yours. Choose a proxy service whose network is compatible with most proxy rotators available so that you won’t be stranded.
Choose a service provider that has 24/7 customer support. It’s not easy to use a proxy daily and in implementing it into your bot for your task, you may run into some challenges. A good customer service provider would come to your assistance immediately so that you can get on with the task you have at hand.