Data has, more or less, become the cornerstone of every successful business. Businesses that enjoy sustainable growth and success usually use accurate data to fuel their business decision. Their insights and strategies are usually informed by data that is collected and analyzed in real-time.
However, accessing and gathering this data, especially in large quantities and regularly, can be a very challenging task. Many e-commerce brands know how important data yet do not do much about sourcing for the data because of how difficult and discouraging the process can be.
Some of the challenges that dissuade data extraction include internet blocking, geo-restrictions, and the chance of the task turning into something monstrous.
This is why proxies are so important, as they can help to easily lift these obstacles. We will now see what these special tools are and how they help the course of data extraction.
What is a proxy?
A proxy is an intermediary tool that can also act as a middleman between an internet user and a target destination. Its primary function is to be positioned between a client and the internet – a position from which it can intercept connections, modify them, and ensure smooth communications.
A proxy usually takes a user request back and forth using its internet protocol (IP) address, proxy address and generated location. And by doing so, conceals the client’s identity offering better online privacy and protection.
This method of operation also helps to unlock contents and break any geographical barriers that may exist if the client were to use his actual identity. For example, if you use a Japanese proxy, you have the ability to access restricted Japanese content.
Moreover, proxies also help to ensure better performance for servers and websites and prevent servers from crashing due to too much traffic.
Why proxies are important in modern business?
And below are some of the best reasons why modern businesses find proxies to be almost indispensable:
- For anonymously carrying out most sensitive tasks
There are several business operations such as web scraping, price and competition monitoring, and even brand asset monitoring and protection, which are usually highly sensitive and need to be carried out anonymously. This is because doing otherwise would expose the company’s valuable information, which could cause further problems.
The smartest companies, therefore, like to protect themselves and their details while still carrying out these important tasks, and this can be achieved through the use of proxies.
- For improving brand security
Every time a company sends out a request to the internet using their IP address, the request usually goes out carrying some key data with it. This data includes pieces of information about the device’s operating system, the browser being used, screen size and resolutions, and add-ons installed on the browser and device.
When pieced together, these bits of information are enough to breach an organization’s internal security. To prevent this from ever happening, businesses use the proxy server’s IP while concealing theirs during their dealings on the internet.
- To boost speed and save bandwidth
Businesses usually engage in high-level operations every day. These operations are large enough to slow down their devices and servers.
However, by using proxies which are well known for compressing files and traffic and using caching mechanisms, it is possible to save bandwidth and increase the speed of their networks.
- For balancing traffic
A server can become very slow and even crash when there is an excessive influx of traffic, which can pose a significant challenge to any business. But proxies can effectively allocate traffic and distribute them evenly amongst the available servers, which can help to ensure that no one server is getting more than it can handle and prevents the servers from crashing or malfunctioning.
What is web scraping?
Generally, web scraping refers to the genius process of using tools known as web scrapers to extract a large amount of valuable data from different sources on the internet. It is genius because the process combines the scraping tools with other tools such as servers and proxies to collect necessary data automatically and repeatedly.
Essentially, the process entails sending out the scraper with the request even as the proxies clears the path and removes barriers on the way. Once the data is extracted, it is parsed back to the local computer, stored in a readable format for immediate or future use.
The extracted data can be used for many business activities such as monitoring the brand, the competition, and prices, as well as setting up strategies such as dynamic pricing.
Why are proxies necessary for web scraping?
Next, we will see how proxies are necessary for such an important activity:
- Proxies make it more likely to crawl websites and servers more reliably and automatically
- Proxies also make it possible to gather information even from a forbidden location. For instance, you could collect Japanese data even from any part of the world simply by using a Japanese proxy
- Proxies make it easier to gather a higher volume of data per day
- Proxies increase the likelihood of scraping with better protections and security
- They also help to remove any internet blocking
- Scraping the web with proxies is the only way to gather data concurrently without getting blocked
Businesses must source data as it is now the single element that can make or break any business, especially the e-commerce brands. This is usually accomplished through web-scraping, a process that can suddenly become a monotonous task if the right tools are not employed.
One of such tools is called a proxy. A proxy does not only make the job easier and the burden lighter, but it also clears obstacles from the way.