Learn all about the latest trends and best practices in data extraction - Join us at Extract Summit
zyte logo

Rotating proxies and why they are important

time to read
4
Mins
By the one and only
March 22, 2022

If you are new to proxies, we recommend skimming through this blog to understand what a proxy is and why you need proxies for web scraping.

Now that you understand what proxies are, let's dive into rotating proxies - what they are and how they are different.

What is a rotating proxy?

Well, the fundamentals of proxies stay the same. A proxy is an intermediate server between the user and the website that allows you to scrape the web anonymously. You must be wondering what’s the deal with rotating proxies and why do you need to rotate proxies. What’s so special about a rotating proxy? To find the answer, read on.

Let's say you are an aspiring fashion influencer. How would you create fresh content every day with limited accessories and clothes in your wardrobe? One quick solution would be to rotate your wardrobe - mix and match, create many looks, and keep your audience engaged with new styles every day. 

Rotating proxies are just like the seasonal rotation of your wardrobe. They rotate your IPs.

Why is IP rotation important?

Over the internet, your IP address is your identity. One can only make limited requests to a website with your IP. Think of websites as some fashion police. They get suspicious of requests coming from the same IP over and over again. This is ‘IP Rate Limitation’. IP rate limitations applied by websites can cause blocking, throttling, or CAPTCHAs. So how do we overcome this? 

Take a pause here to think about how you would seamlessly navigate a website? I am pretty sure you can answer this yourself. If one rotates their IP on the internet upon every request or after a certain period. You can avoid getting blocked. 

Rotating proxies are like a rotating closet. Rotating proxy servers swap your IP address with a new IP address from the pool of proxies. This selection is random unless specified otherwise and takes place automatically with every connection request. 

How do I choose a proxy for web scraping? 

There are three options for rotating proxies to choose from. The criteria of selection depend on the project requirements and budget.

  1. Rotating datacenter proxies. 
  2. Rotating residential proxies.
  3. Rotating mobile proxies.

Let's deep dive into each of those!

Rotating datacenter proxies

Rotating datacenter proxies originate from the Cloud Service Providers. The datacenter proxies are usually a shared pool of proxies. Many users use this shared pool at the same time. A shared pool is more easily detectable and hence, often less suitable for web scraping tasks. Dedicated proxies are exclusive proxies used by a single user at a time. Dedicated rotating datacenter proxies often steal the show in web scraping projects, for two reasons:

  1. Great user experience 
  2. Budget-friendly 

Zyte’s proxy management solution provides reputed dedicated datacenter proxies. Data extraction is a cakewalk with these proxies at hand.

Rotating residential proxies 

The origin of the residential proxies makes them the best fit for web scraping projects. They use the IP of a device like an iPad, laptop, other tablets, etc. to make it less probable for websites to block them. But they are considerably more expensive than datacenter proxies.

Rotating mobile proxies 

Rotating mobile proxies are the proxies with the best IP Reputation - hard to detect as they belong to mobile users connected to 3G/LTE. A mobile connected to a wifi network will be a residential proxy, as it is provided by an ISP. They are often overkill for web scraping projects as they are extremely expensive.

A word of caution…

It’s not like you always need to rotate proxies. In some scenarios where you need to maintain a consistent identity or when you are scraping data behind login because the website already keeps a check on you through the session cookies. To maintain the logged-in state, you need to keep passing the session ID in your cookie headers. The servers can easily tell that you are a bot when the same session cookie is coming from multiple IP addresses and block you.

In such situations, it’s better just to use a single IP address and maintain the same request headers for each unique login.

How do I rotate my IP?

Here’s a small piece of code, to showcase a random rotation of your IP using python.

import random
import requests

proxy_pool = ["191.5.0.79:53281", "202.166.202.29:58794", "51.210.106.217:443", "5103.240.161.109:6666"]
URL = 'https://httpbin.org/get'

while len(proxy_pool)>0:
	random_proxy_list = random.sample(proxy_pool, k=1)
	random_proxy = {
		'http': 'http://' + random_proxy_list[0],
	}
	response = requests.get(URL, proxies=random_proxy)
	print(response.json())
	proxy_pool.remove(random_proxy_list[0])

A pro-tip

Avoid using proxy IP addresses that are in a sequence. Websites have smart anti-scraping plugins. These plugins can detect whether the requests are coming from human activity or a bot. So it's better to not use continuous IP addresses that belong to the same range like this:

120.119.49.0, 120.119.49.1, 120.119.49.2, … 

Do it yourself or choose a rotating proxy management solution?

It can be tempting to go with the Do-It-Yourself strategy - creating a proxy list and rotating them randomly. However, web scraping projects can become a nightmare the moment you plan to scale your project. Proxy management can take away your attention and resources from scraping quality data to managing proxies.

You can imagine yourself drowning in the ocean of proxy-management issues like

  • Taking care of refurbishing proxies that don't work 
  • Adding delays
  • Dealing with headless browsers

 Designing and maintaining a robust proxy management infrastructure can be quite challenging. It’s an iterative process, and it can be quite expensive and exhaustive to maintain a proxy pool. This is exactly why we created Zyte Smart Proxy Manager.

Zyte Smart Proxy Manager enables you to 

  • Crawl at scale by routing your requests across various geographies through a pool of IP addresses 
  • Manage thousands of proxies behind the scenes
  • Take care of things like headers, cookies, TLS fingerprinting, and auto retries to retrieve data
  • Identify bans, and CAPTCHAS, manage sessions, rotate user agents, and blacklisting. 

Zyte Smart Proxy Manager works seamlessly as an API via proxy integration. It both supplies proxies and manages them for you so you can focus on data extraction.
Try it out!

Sign up to the blog