What are Rotating Proxies?

Rotating proxies are an essential element for data harvesting and intelligence. This article explains what they are and why you need them. 

IP addresses are like government-issued IDs for computers. It’s a soft comparison.

The point is that they give some sort of leverage to websites to monitor and regulate access—like passports to cross borders or driver’s licenses to get into a nightclub (or drive a car). 

This is a problem for web scraping and other automated activity because websites will block IPs that behave like a robot. 

The solution is to access thousands of IPs and split up your requests. This is what rotating proxies do, allowing you to scale web scraping projects indefinitely. 

What is a proxy?

By definition, a proxy is a copy of something that has a different identity. When we’re talking about computers and the internet, it’s slightly different. The ‘something’ is your computer or mobile device, and proxies are other computers, mobile devices, or servers that you operate through, using their IP address. 

What are rotating proxies?

A rotating proxy changes its IP address periodically. Generally, you have access to thousands or millions of IP addresses in an IP pool that rotates according to time intervals, after several connections to websites, or every so often. 

Simply put, proxy rotation allows you to connect to one server and swap IPs indefinitely. Typically, this is useful when sending hundreds or thousands of requests to websites. Because you’re changing IPs after every connection, there is no limit to the data you can request. You won’t trigger even the most sophisticated anti-bot or anti-web scraping security systems. 

Rotating proxies are ideal for web scraping.

Spread Your Requests Over Thousands of IPs

For minor web scraping projects, using a single IP address is acceptable. However, larger projects or continuous data harvesting requires proxy rotation. Using only one IP – your personal computer – would take thousands of times longer than if you were to employ the use of, let’s say, a thousand proxies. 

When you send requests over thousands of IPs, you also guarantee that web scraping projects continue to run smoothly instead of stopping due to complications such as geo-restrictions, anti-bot measures, poor connectivity, or something else. If one of the connections fails, the proxy rotation manager just switches to the next proxy. 

Bypass anti-bot security measures

These days, most websites have at least some security systems. And since technology is advancing so quickly, it’s accessible and affordable to hire or set up a reasonably strong defense system. This being the case, most websites will block or ban your IP for sending too many requests. It’s for their protection because too many requests can resemble a DDOS attack. Some websites just don’t want anyone using their data, so you need to be careful not to scrape private information. 

Multiple geo-locations simultaneously

With the ability to switch IPs on a dime, you can now scape websites across multiple geo-locations. Where one location may not be accessible, you can just localize your proxy elsewhere to access the data. 

This is especially handy when you want to scrape data from advertisements, pricing tables, eCommerce stores, and social sites that target IPs based on their location. 

At the end of the day, you can switch IP locations manually, but it would take too much time. The reason we’re web scraping is to save time in the first place. 

Prevent request throttling

Many larger websites and enterprises like Google, Facebook, and Amazon limit the number of requests you can send. These sites may have some of the most valuable data, so proxy rotation is necessary. 

What are rotating datacenter proxies?

Data center proxies don’t come from a residential address. They aren’t assigned to real users by an internet service provider. Instead, they are bulk IP addresses purchased and assigned to servers in a datacenter. 

They’re fast and usually cheaper, but websites often recognize them as data center proxies and flag them. 

On the other hand, you can rotate datacenter proxies and have better luck web scraping. The only caveat is that when one data center proxy is banned, websites tend to deny the whole block of IPs associated with the one caught. 

So, in the end, they aren’t really ideal for web scraping, but they will do in a pinch. 

What are rotating residential proxies?

Residential proxies are assigned to customers of internet service providers. This usually means that there’s a real person at the end of one of these. Therefore, websites trust them and won’t question their actions unless they send an uncommon number of requests that a human wouldn’t be capable of. 

Rotating residential IPs is the best. It’s the top form for web scraping – if you do it right, you will never have slowdowns, banned IPs, nothing. Yes, they are a little more expensive because they come from real user devices, and maintaining the system takes a lot of effort. 

But on the flip side, you make your money back in saved time and quality, seamless streaming of data. 

Is proxy rotation worth it?

It should be evident by now that rotating proxies are worth spending the money on. If data is the oil to your business machine, then rotating proxies are a part of the machinery that extracts the data. 

Without proxy rotation, you are stuck sending one request after the other or constantly facing IP bans, throttling, captchas, and other obstacles that rotating IPs easily topple. 

As long as the proxies are obtained with the consent of the real users who own the IP address, then it’s legal. Otherwise, the IPs were probably hijacked utilizing hacking techniques. You often find these things happening when you see free or cheap proxies. After all, nothing is really free. You’re going to pay one way or the other. 

Check out our blog post on the dangers of free proxies and see for yourself!

If you’re ready to give your web scraping project the flexibility and reach its needs, contact the IPBurger team or visit our Residential Proxy page for pricing. 

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