Automating Your Proxy Management Process With Proxy Pilot
In the world of web scraping and automated data collection, proxies are an invaluable tool that helps you to transcend internet barriers and get access to data from even the remotest and the most restricted of websites. Think Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility, allowing you to gain access to those places you wouldn’t normally be admitted to. But what happens when someone throws ice on your cloak of invisibility and lets people know you are there?
Proxies aren’t completely invincible and many websites are developing means to identify IPs supporting the actions of your scraping bots so they can ban them. Humans consume data much more slowly than bots, so if a particular IP address is going through hundreds of pages of data in a minute, it’s quite easy to identify it as a bot and ban it. This can greatly slow down the speed of your data scraping projects, especially if you don’t know that your proxy IP has been banned. Plus, when you run out of proxies and need to switch to new ones, having to manually load in a new set of proxies slows you down even further and gets tiring. That is why you need a free proxy manager.
There are many advantages to having an automated management feature for managing your proxies attached to any scraping software you are using to get data from the internet. But eventually, it all comes down to making your projects faster and helping you reduce the time spent on managing proxies so you can focus that resource on other things. Proper proxy management can significantly improve your data collection efforts and for that, you need a proper proxy manager. In this article, we’ll explore what exactly proxy management is, how a proper proxy manager works, and some of the things you should look out for before investing in a proxy manager. Feel free to navigate around the article with the table of contents.
What Is Proxy Management?
Think of proxy management as a way of keeping an automated eye on your proxies and making their use more efficient. Like we mentioned earlier, most websites nowadays have developed means of identifying IP addresses that are being used by bots. Take, for example, you are trying to scrape product prices from Amazon. A normal human being exhibiting normal online behavior would take at least ten minutes on each page of search results to scrape the prices. A bot on the other hand could go through hundreds of pages in less than a minute. This makes it quite easy to identify IPs being run by bots, even if you happen to be using a residential proxy that has both a residential address and an ISP attached. Once your proxy is identified as exhibiting bot-like behavior, it gets banned, which means your scraping software can no longer access the internet through that IP address. This can create a bottleneck where your scraping software stops working even when you still have other proxies left. And this is the point of proxy management.
Proxy management is how you create an uninterrupted scraping flow by making sure banned proxies are being switched out as soon as the ban occurs and also, monitoring the cooldown time of banned proxies so they can be reused. And how you do this? With an automated proxy manager.
What Is a Proxy Manager?
With the above explanation of what proxy management is, it should quite easy at this point to understand the functions of a proxy manager. However, for the sake of clarity, we’ll outline exactly what a proxy manager does here. Think of a proxy manager as an automated manager for your automated scraping software.
Technically, you could check on your scraping software, say, every 8 hours, and switch out banned proxies yourself. That still counts as proxy management. However, the entire reasoning behind proxy management is to speed up your data scraping projects and free up time to work on other things, so manually managing your proxies kind of defeats the point. Using an automated proxy manager, on the other hand, helps you achieve that aim easily. Proxy managers help you to do three major things:
- Switch out banned proxies: When a proxy gets banned, your scraping software will be unable to access the internet through that IP address again and that can create a bottleneck of pending requests, which you might be unavailable to resolve. A proxy manager helps you switch out the banned proxy and load in a new one so your scraping software can continue collecting data via another IP address.
- Send request retries: When one of your proxies gets banned, some of the requests that have been sent via that proxy will inevitable time out before you can switch to a new proxy and if you are unaware of which particular requests have timed out, you could miss out on some potentially valuable datasets or end up with incomplete data. A proxy manager helps you resend requests that have timed out as soon as it switches to a new proxy, making sure that no requests are missed or skipped due to timeouts.
- Monitor cooldown time for banned proxies: When an IP address gets banned, there is usually a cooldown time after which the proxy can be used again. This cooldown time usually corresponds to when the target website clears its cached data. A proxy manager helps you monitor this cooldown time and switch in these refreshed proxies as soon as they are available for use again. This makes it possible for you to continue having a fresh supply of proxies and reduces the strain on your proxy resources.
Things to Look Out for When Investing in Proxy Management
So what are the features you need to look out for when investing in a proxy manager?
- Easy to implement: Any proxy manager that would serve you well must be easy to incorporate into your existing scraping software either as a complete product with its own interface or as a few lines of code that you simply attach to your scraping software.
- Fast: Since the entire reasoning behind using a proxy manager is to make scraping data via proxies faster, then you should look out for how fast the proxy manager operates. How long it takes to identify bans and switch out proxies, how long it takes to send requests, etc.
- Compatibility: Does it work well with data center proxies as well as with residential proxies? How about when you are using non-dedicated proxies vs dedicated proxies? The proxy manager must be able to perform uniformly across the board of proxy types.
The Best Free Proxy Manager
In a bid to offer you a complete package of data scraping and proxy services at BlazingSEO, we have developed our own in-house proxy manager, the Proxy Pilot, for your use. Whether you already have a method for managing your proxies or you are just in the market for one, the Proxy Pilot is the ultimate solution for you. By adding just a few lines of code to your scraping software, you can totally hand over your proxy management process to our Proxy Pilot. Our software helps you manage your proxies competently, ensuring your data scraping projects run as smoothly as possible.
And guess what? It is completely free and open source. Yeah! You heard me right. Our Proxy Pilot is completely free and available for your use. Just head to our page here and sign up for Proxy Pilot. We will provide you with all the support you need to implement the code into scraping software and once you are done (which could take less than 10 minutes), the Proxy Pilot takes over the management of your proxies, helping you to handle retries, cooldown logic and detect bans. It also supports geotargeting and gives you more advanced statistics on how your proxies are functioning. The software is fully documented and if there is anything you do not understand, our support staff are on hand to put you through.
It is not enough to just be able to make use of proxies, you have to be able to efficiently manage them or you might get locked out of the websites you are looking to obtain data from. Our proxy pilot, combined with scarping software from our partner company, Scraping Robot, and proxies from us at BlazingSEO give you a complete data scraping package that you can’t get anywhere else. And our proxy manager is free to boot. So what are you waiting for? Strap in and hand over your proxy management to our Pilot. Let’s fly your data collection to greater heights.
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