If you are looking for ways to extract information from the internet, then you’ve probably stumbled upon two standard methods – proxy and scraping API. While both can help you streamline your web data collection processes, you should know the processes are not the same.
Which one of the two is the better option for a business?
Scraper API and proxies are unique technological solutions. Each one of them comes with its unique benefits. To make an informed decision about which one to choose, you need to learn a few things about them. Below you can find everything you need to make such a decision.
What Are Proxies?
While it may appear hard to comprehend specific technicalities of how internet connections work, it really isn’t. Bear with us. Your internet connection allows you to establish a connection between the device you are using with the remote server hosting the website or service you are trying to access.
The regular connection has no intermediaries – your request goes directly to the target server. Proxies slightly change the structure of regular internet communications, acting as intermediaries between you and the entire world wide web.
If you use a proxy, your requests will now go through it. A proxy server will change your IP address and use a new one to connect to the target website.
What Is an API?
API is one of the most popular abbreviations you come across online. It stands for the Application Programming Interface. API is built to help to streamline communication between two different software tools.
API allows two software solutions, no matter how unique they are, to exchange data. For instance, API allows one tool to send a query to another one. The tool that receives a query request understands what it is about and sends the relevant data to another tool.
The tools don’t necessarily have to be software by default. API can enable communication between a software tool and a web interface as well, or enable two web interfaces to exchange data hassle-free.
What Are Their Respective Roles in Scraping?
As you know, scraping is a data extraction operation from online sources such as websites. Both proxies and scraping API are viable options for this operation.
Many websites have a variety of protections to prevent heavy data scraping. For instance, multiple requests coming from the same IP address result in a temporary IP suspension or permanent ban. Proxies help businesses circumvent these restrictions.
Proxies make scraping operations possible via IP change. Every new request can come from a different IP address tricking the target website into thinking that there is nothing unusual about them. Thanks to IP change, scraper bots can continue extracting data from the website without any interruptions.
Scraping API allows businesses to extract data from target websites. However, it works completely differently. For scraping API to work, the target websites need to have APIs. If this is the case, then a scraping API can communicate with the website API and extract the data. However, it comes with a few limitations. Let’s see what those are.
Which One Should You Go for as a Business?
When considering a scraping solution for the business, you need to take into account its versatility. If we had to immediately give you the answer to: “Which one should you go for as a business?” – it would be proxies. Let us elaborate.
Scraper API has a very limited use case. First, as we mentioned, the target websites need to have APIs. Also, very often, APIs don’t provide you access to all the public data on the website. Every website owner offers a different API use case agreement.
Scraper API is a solid option only in the following scenario:
- You have to interact with the target system to get data;
- The agreement enables you to extract the data you need.
Scraping via proxies, on the other hand, comes with no such limitations. Also, it offers benefits that scraper API doesn’t. First, as we’ve mentioned, it prevents your IP from getting banned due to too many requests.
Proxies can help you run an ongoing scraping operation to get the most recent data. API’s pull data from the database, which are often not up-to-date. Furthermore, database APIs have access to don’t feature all public data on the website. Whereas, scraping via proxies allows you to extract any data you want.
Scrapin API is not anonymous as you have to register to get a key. Proxy scraping enables completely anonymous data-gathering operation. If you want to dig deeper into the topic, read an in-depth article prepared by the experts from Oxylabs.
While both scrap API and proxies enable data extraction, they are not the same. Hopefully, not you understand their main differences. Scraping via proxies is better, especially for businesses because it can allow ongoing scraping operation, pull any data from a target website, and does it inconspicuously.