A mobile proxy offers many benefits that are anchored on the unmatched anonymity, security, reliability, and privacy that they provide. These benefits make mobile proxies ideal for web scraping, ad verification, comparing prices online, market research, etc. But this is not to say that you won’t experience some challenges when using them.
Mobile proxies are mobile devices, e.g., smartphones, portable routers, modems, or dongles, that act as intermediaries between your computer and the internet. By using mobile proxies, your web requests are routed through these mobile devices, acquire a new mobile IP address, and are finally connected to the target website.
Mobile proxies’ success depends on mobile carriers’ operations, which use dynamic IP addresses and the Network Address Technology (NAT). When combined, these two technologies make it hard for websites to detect or block mobile IP addresses.
Importantly, even in cases where the websites detect suspicious activities arising from a particular mobile IP address, they can’t block it because they risk blocking and inconveniencing other users. All this is because of NAT, a sophisticated technology that shares a single IP address among many users.
Thus, mobile proxies hide your IP address and assign you an undetectable IP address that is also dynamic – it changes regularly after an interval. These factors make mobile proxies ideal for web scraping.
Information on the internet and websites is readily available. Users can harness this data through basic means, e.g., copy-pasting. Alternatively, they can deploy some sophisticated tools in the form of software to extract the data. Thus, web scraping is any form of data extraction from websites using either sophisticated or mundane tools.
Nonetheless, despite this information being readily available, harvesting it in large amounts is somewhat prohibited. Websites are meant to market the affiliate company’s products. They’re not a playing ground for parties looking for competitive intelligence.
In this regard, web developers include anti-scraping tools that are aimed at stopping any large-scale scraping attempts. One of the tools synonymous with anti-scraping, because of its popularity, is IP address blacklisting or banning. The websites, having observed the volume of web requests originating from the IP address carrying out web scraping, block the IP address to deter the scraper from continuing with the data harvesting. This is where mobile proxies come in.
Use of Mobile Proxies for Web Scraping
With mobile proxies, you can bypass the IP blocking restrictions that anti-scraping tools impose. This is because websites have a hard time detecting or blocking mobile IP addresses, primarily because of the NAT technology. However, they can still block or ban them when the requests are too many.
Fortunately, reputable mobile proxy providers deal with this problem by using dynamic IP addresses. Such proxy, like Oxylabs mobile proxy, changes the assigned IP address regularly, further making it even harder for websites to ban the IP addresses. For even better results, it’s advisable to have more than one mobile proxy when scraping the web.
Web scraping is not a walk in the park, and we trust that you’ve carried out extensive research. In your pursuit of knowledge, you must have come across the following categories of mobile proxies and other types of proxies.
- Free public mobile proxies
- Shared mobile proxies
- Dedicated or private mobile proxies
Free public mobile proxies are never a good idea if you intend to undertake web scraping. For one, the IP addresses are already known, and the chances are that some websites have already banned them. Secondly, they’re of an extremely low quality. In fact, they don’t even use HTTPS and, therefore, are not secure. In shared mobile proxies, the IP address is shared among multiple users. Hence, IP banning is also easy.
For the best results, it’s advisable to choose dedicated mobile proxies since you’re the only user whom the mobile proxy will assign the IP address. With dedicated mobile proxies, you’ll experience all the benefits. But you might also encounter some problems.
Benefits of Mobile Proxies
- Fast connections and speeds: mobile proxies use a fast cache storage system that eliminates the need for your computer to store irrelevant data. This frees up your device.
- Added security, anonymity, and privacy: because of the dynamic IP addresses and routing web traffic through real users’ mobile devices.
- No cookies.
- Reliability because they assign genuine mobile IP addresses.
Challenges of Mobile Proxies
- Mobile proxies are quite costly.
- They can’t be used as-is for web scraping since they have to be integrated with web scraping software.
- If you have purchased several mobile proxies, you have to manage all of them. Management of these proxies is a strenuous affair.
Despite the existence of challenges, the benefits of using mobile proxies for web scraping still reign supreme. That said, it’s crucial to identify an excellent mobile proxy provider since not all are ideal.