One of the best practices for web scraping is the use of proxy servers, as they efficiently keep the scrapers anonymous and well-protected. Because of the anonymity, you can easily scale your web scrapers without being detected by antibots.
However, not all proxy servers are the same. There are several different types of proxies with varying proxy server uses, so picking the right one is crucial. We’ll review some of them to help you make an informed decision.
Let's dive right into the ultimate list of proxy servers right now.
The Main Types of Proxy Servers You Should Know About
1 - Residential Proxies
Residential proxies are proxy servers that use actual residential home ISPs to route your traffic, making it even more difficult for websites that ban web scrappers from banning your tools. These proxies are also good at hiding the usage of proxies themselves, increasing the level of anonymity.
Unlike data center proxies, residential proxies are more secure and highly reliable. However, they tend to be more costly than their peers. When purchasing a residential proxy from a provider, ensure your provider collects the proxies ethically.
2 - Datacenter Proxies
Datacenter proxies offer IP addresses from proxy servers hosted on a datacenter instead of ISPs. Your traffic is routed through the data center's network infrastructure, allowing you to access websites and perform web scraping tasks.
Because data center proxies are located in local, remote servers of a data center, they have the following advantages over other types of proxies:
- Faster speeds and better performance: Unlike residential proxies, data center proxies are way faster, thanks to the high-speed connections the data centers offer. The fast speeds produce a good performance, making data center proxies best for high-volume scraping tasks.
- Affordability: Data center proxies are not tied to an internet server. However, non-internet providers build and manage them, lowering their pricing. The cost-effectiveness of these proxies has made them popular among budget-conscious web scrappers.
- Availability and stability: Unlike residential proxies, data center proxies are readily available and easy to access whenever you’re in need. Datacenter proxies are also stable, experiencing fewer disruptions because they are well managed.
3 - Reverse Proxies
Reverse proxy positions itself in front of web servers, and its work is to forward requests from clients (like web scrapers) to the appropriate web servers. Reverse proxies help improve the security of web servers, their performance, and reliability by aiding load balancing and caching.
4 - Rotating Proxies
A rotating proxy is a server that continuously changes its IP address with each new connection, fooling websites into thinking each new connection is from a different region.
Rotating proxies allow your scraping traffic to be distributed across several IPs, minimizing the chances of getting detected and blocked.
This proxy type is great for scraping websites with tough anti-botting systems, maneuvering IP rate limits, and scraping extensive data from a single website.
5 - 4G Proxies
4G proxies are relatively new in the market. This proxy server uses Mobile IPs when creating a connection on the internet. Typically, when using a 4G Proxy, users are assigned a unique IP address for each new session, which ensures that the IP address is dynamic and not static.
Dynamic IPs ensure the network operator assigns unique IP addresses whenever your devices create a new connection. This way, you’ll successfully avoid being blocked by websites.
4G proxies also have some of the fastest speeds in the world proxies plus their quality are exceptionally high. However, they are costly — 4G proxies are more expensive when compared with other proxy types.
6 - Captcha Solving Proxies
It’s common for websites to implement various forms of CAPTCHA challenges as an anti-bot measure, thereby preventing automated scrapping of their data. CAPTCHA proxies are the best way to bypass these systems and access the websites.
Some CAPTCHA proxies work by not triggering the system during scraping, while others work with automated CAPTCHA-solving services to allow you to bypass the challenges.
When considering CAPTCHA proxies, ensure the service is a high performance, easy to use, and the customer support is responsive and reliable.
7 - Transparent Proxies
Web scrapers utilize transparent proxies to conceal their presence from targeted websites. This proxy type proves beneficial for organizations aiming to implement a proxy without alerting their employees to its usage. However, transparent proxies are susceptible to particular security threats, including SYN flood denial of service attacks.
8 - Shared and Dedicated Proxies
All the proxy types we’ve discussed can be classified as shared or dedicated. An example of a proxy server in this category can be a shared residential proxy.
Just as the name-shared proxies, these are shared among all the users that have purchased these types of plans. Since they are shared, they are cheap and easily accessible. One significant disadvantage is that it's easy to be blocked by websites because various websites with different goals use the same IP addresses.
On the other end, a dedicated proxy gives each user an individual IP address. With your IP, your connection gets much faster, and the risk of getting blacklisted is minimal.
9 - High Anonymous Proxies
The sole purpose of high anonymous proxies is to solve the blacklisting problem on other proxies when web scraping. Depending on who your provider is, these types of proxy servers will employ different techniques to achieve high anonymity.
The most common technique is giving each user a unique IP address which decreases the likelihood of websites finding out it’s a proxy bot performing tasks on the site. When the IP address gets blocked, it’s replaced with a new address with no detection history.
When performing web scraping, highly anonymous proxies are more secure and fast than regular proxies. And, of course, they are expensive.
Even when using a shared, highly anonymous proxy, the level of quality and security is still better than regular proxies because these providers have invested in better infrastructure and ensure they rotate the IPs.
10 - Public Proxies
Public proxies are free and the most accessible types of proxy servers. These proxies can be used at the same time by multiple users to do just anything, including web scraping.
Because of the overload public proxies endure, their speeds are slow compared to other privately run proxies. Web scraping with these proxies can be a challenge due to their slowness.
Public proxies are not recommended for important online activities because they are the riskiest, prone to crashing, and suffer more malicious attacks than other proxies.
Choosing the Best Type of Proxies for Web Scraping
When choosing proxies for your web scraping, you need to consider a few essential factors if you want to ensure efficient and reliable scraping. They include:
- Proxy Type: As discussed earlier, different proxies are available, and each type has advantages and disadvantages. Choose proxies that fit your use case and budget. An example of proxy server with better anonymity is the residential proxy. However, it is quite costly than a data center proxy.
- IP Rotation: IP rotation is crucial when web scraping if you want to avoid IP bans and rate limits imposed by websites. IP rotation allows you to switch to new addresses with each request, making it difficult for anti-bot systems to catch up.
- Proxy Pool Size: A proxy provider with a large pool size of proxies will be able to provide you with more proxy varieties to use, reducing the chance of detection or blocking.
- Geographical Distribution: Some websites restrict access to specific geographical locations. You’ll want to work with a proxy provider who offers proxies from different locations, including your target location.
- Proxy Quality and Reliability: The quality and reliability of proxies are crucial factors. Look for reputable proxy providers that offer high-quality proxies with low downtime. Unreliable proxies can cause frequent connection failures, slow your scraping process, or result in inaccurate data.
- Proxy Authentication: Work with proxies that support authentication methods since some websites require users to authenticate themselves before being allowed access. Authentication methods such as CAPTCHAs and usernames and passwords are commonly used to verify the identity of users.
- Speed and Performance: Web scraping can be intensive, especially if you’re doing big volumes. Working with fast proxies can improve your scraping. Check whether your proxy provider guarantees good speeds, and go through reviews to see if speed is an issue. Some proxy providers offer speed test features or speed information.
- Cost: Of course, the pricing of proxies varies. The difference in the prices depends on the quality, features, type of the proxy, and the provider. For scraping purposes, try and balance between cost and quality of the proxies.
- Customer Support: Always go for a proxy provider with proven reliable customer support so that when issues regarding your proxies arise, you easily and quickly get help and response. You can ask previous clients what was their experience with customer support or read reviews to get a hint.
The use of proxy servers is undoubtedly necessary for web scraping. Anti-bot systems are getting smarter with each update, and therefore, working with proxies is crucial to maintain a low profile and avoid detection. However, carefully pick a proxy provider with a good reputation for offering the best quality proxies for smooth web scraping.
Happy Web Scraping and don't forger to test as much as possible different proxies for your use case before going to production 🏭