The domain of e-commerce is growing by leaps and bounds. As a result, competition in the e-commerce sector has become very tough. Hence, companies are looking to outperform their competitors through various methods of competitive research. One such approach is to use an e-commerce proxy.
An e-commerce proxy helps scrape data on the web to improve business strategies. Today’s article explores the advantages and best practices of using this tool.
Proxy Servers and E-commerce
You can think of a proxy server as a middleman between your computer and the target e-commerce website. The proxy setup routes your request for data through the proxy server and assigns a new IP. As a result, your IP doesn’t get blocked by the website. This process is called masking, which provides anonymity to the user.
Why Use a Proxy for E-commerce Web Scraping
Without proxies, HTTP or HTTPS requests frequently face roadblocks on a server and return 5** status code responses. This results in an obstacle when scraping for data on a particular website. Web scraping proxies bypass these restrictions.
Let’s look at why we face such restrictions.
- Geolocation Blocking
If an e-commerce website only provides services to a particular country, it blocks IP addresses from other locations. For example, the German e-commerce site Real Markt won’t ship products to other countries. To combat this issue, a Real Markt proxy can come in handy. Now, you can make orders and get items delivered to a friend or acquaintance in Germany for you to collect later.
- IP Rate Limitation
In this situation, a site limits requests from a single IP address, making it difficult to scrape data for an extended period. For example, you have collected data for a price prediction campaign and sent a thousand requests to a competitor’s website. Doing this can get you blocked on the grounds of non-human activity when you cross the IP limit threshold.
Two Proxy Configurations in E-Commerce Data Scraping
Scaling your web scraping endeavor does not have to be exasperating. You can use the following strategies to focus only on the data while the proxy management tools take care of the IP limitations and geolocation restriction issues.
- Proxy Pools
Proxy pools are nothing but a bunch of proxy IP addresses at your disposal. You can automatically switch to a fresh IP and submit a new request to your target website. This process increases your odds of obtaining quality data by offering various geo targeting options, concurrent request handling, and reinforcing crawling reliability. The bottom line is to split the traffic of several proxies after a given time.
- Rotating Proxies
Proxy rotators are tools that use a collection of proxy IPs in a circular fashion. It returns to the first proxy of the pool after exhausting the last available proxy’s threshold. Using a rotating proxy helps you to concentrate solely on scraping data and circumventing any antibot system by preventing batch requests from the same IP.
Are Proxies Legal in E-commerce Scraping?
Web scraping for any publicly available information is legal. If the data is in the public domain and not subject to the country’s copyright laws, you can scrape it legally, whether you use a proxy or not.
How to Effectively Use Proxies to Circumvent Restrictions
Considering how well-equipped websites have become at scraping prevention, having just a large pool of proxies might not be enough. Here are some pointers on managing your proxy pool effectively.
- Alter Geolocations
Occasionally, you have to fine-tune your location when targeting certain websites. As mentioned above, changing geolocations can be an automatic or a manual task.
- Recognize Bans
No matter how low your request rates are, you need some preemptive measures to circumvent rate limits. If and when you get banned from a particular website, you can fix any shortcomings in the proxies and scrapers so that, next time, the same problems don’t occur.
- Maintain Sessions
For some websites, you may need to use only one IP as websites constantly keep track of sessions. An IP change in such websites will refresh the session and reset all your work in progress. Therefore, you need to configure your proxy pool so that the same IP accesses the website throughout the session.
- Retry a Request
When your proxies get redirected or face an error, set them up to try again. Sometimes resending can get you through minor situations after the first failed attempt.
The Bottom Line
Evading restrictions can lead to successful web scraping that bolsters a business’ competitive research tremendously. Using a pool of proxies randomly or employing a rotator mechanism helps send requests from different IPs and prevent unwanted errors during an intensive e-commerce scraping session.
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