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What Is Web Scraping Public Data?


Businesses rely on data to make decisions, and while web scraping is a useful tool for automating the process; web scraping public data has become more complicated. Anti-scraping technologies and websites have become more sophisticated at detecting and identifying strange-looking requests from web scrapers. This has led to an increased demand for advanced scraping tools, such as a TikTok scraper or an Instagram scraper, paired with residential proxies.

We’ll be taking a closer look at web scraping and some of the complications that come along with collecting public data.

What Is Web Scraping?

Web scraping is the legal process of extracting or harvesting data from online social media sites or web pages through the use of computer software. Businesses use the extracted data to formulate effective marketing strategies to promote their products or services.

Web scraping public data used to be relatively simple. It meant you had to go online and source a proxy provider with enabled datacenter proxies and apply a web scraper to obtain the specific data you needed. 

Residential proxies are more powerful and route the traffic through an internet router (not a data center), tricking the website and anti-scraping tools into thinking that the request is coming from a person or a business. Unlike data center proxies, residential proxies have an associated IP (internet protocol) address which is owned by an internet service provider (ISP) that’s assigned to a specific device (a computer, tablet, or mobile phone). This makes them a better option for web scraping in the current online environment. 

TikTok scrapers already combine a residential proxy and scraper to make the process of collecting on this platform easier and it has been used successfully to extract data from the social media site. Similarly, there are combination tools like this one for other social platforms.

When Should You Use a Web Scraper and Residential Proxy?

A combination tool like a TikTok scraper, has additional benefits compared to pairing your scraper with data center proxies. It would be best if you considered using a scraper with a residential proxy in the following scenarios:

Bypassing Anti-Scraping Bots

The main reason to consider using a residential proxy is when your datacenter proxy continuously gets blocked by anti-scraping bots on the social media or website that you’re trying to collect data from. Social media sites and websites are starting to use anti-scraping tools like DataDome, PerimeterX, and Cloudflare for detecting and blocking public data. 

These tools apply several request and response profiling technologies to identify and ban requests from specific IP addresses. A TikTok scraper with residential proxy makes it more difficult for anti-scraping bots to identify if a request is sent from a user or a scraper. This significantly increases the success rate when compared to ordinary datacenter proxies.

Geotargeting Technology

Residential proxies have the added advantage of making your requests seem like they’re coming from certain countries, cities, or postcodes. This is a feature that datacenter proxies find challenging to do. This feature is possible due to the residential proxy having an actual IP address in someone’s home or business, which provides a massive possibility of diversity in where a residential proxy can be located. Residential proxies can be indexed to a specific country, city, or postcode. 

Automation and Bots

A TikTok scraper has automated bots that have the ability to simulate actual user behaviors and responses, like logging into social media sites and web pages. It can also automate TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook requests from a static residential or business proxy. This makes it very difficult for the anti-scraping software to register that the scraping tool is actually at work, busy harvesting data. 

How Do Proxies Work

A residential proxy is relatively simple to use. A provider will give you access to a single endpoint proxy where you can use any of their residential proxies kept in a pool or network. This means you’ll only need to use your endpoint proxy to route your request to any of the available residential proxies in the provider’s network. 

The HTTP response will then be routed back to your endpoint proxy. To integrate your web scraper through the proxy endpoint is straightforward. Typically, you just need to set a parameter that will be added to your request. There’s no need to concern yourself with managing bans or rotating proxies when using this type of tool. 

Where Do Proxies Come From

A provider gets residential proxies from various sources, namely proxy SDKs in Chrome extensions or applications, free VPNs, device proxy farms, paid bandwidth products, and proxy reselling.

Is It Legal To Use Proxies

When residential proxies came into the spotlight regarding their legitimacy, the primary question of their legality was whether proxy providers had permission from owners of businesses and homes to use them. Lately, proxy providers have become more open about where they obtain their access and permission to use residential proxies. Websites like PacketStream pay users to let them use their IP addresses as residential proxies, and then these proxies get sold to proxy providers. 

Conclusion

To bypass anti-scraping bots, you should use a reliable web scraper paired with a residential proxy. Web scraping public data using proxies means that businesses end up with more complete data that they can use to make better business decisions.

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