The Ultimate Guide To Web Scraping Reddit (With The Help of Proxies)
Self-declared as the “front page of the internet,” Reddit is one of the most popular websites in the world with over 430 million active users. At the time of writing this article, Alexa ranked it as the 7th most popular site in the US and the 18th most popular globally. The platform is essentially a huge online discussion forum where people share content and hold conversations about a wide variety of topics. Think about any topic and there is more than likely a “subreddit” dedicated to it.
All of this simply means that Reddit is a massive source of social data and a gold mine for businesses. It also means that having a way to extract this data in a structured format could yield incredible results for your business. This is where the use of a Reddit web scraper comes in.
In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about web scraping Reddit, specific ways it can help your business grow, and why you should use proxies to facilitate the process. Feel free to use the table of contents to quickly skip through the article.
2 Great Ways to Use Reddit Data to Grow Your Business
A Reddit web scraper is a tool that allows you to automatically scan through Reddit and collect relevant information, saving you massive amounts of time and energy. Here are a few ways this can help you grow your business:
1. Brand monitoring
Reddit is one of the best platforms to get pure, unfiltered feedback from your customers. Discussions can help you discover problem points, challenges your customers are facing, and ways to improve. Having to manually read through all the comments and discussions around your brand will eat up vital the time you can dedicate to other crucial business operations. Web scraping Reddit simplifies the process, allowing you to quickly find all the data related to your brand and get it in a format that is easy to analyze later on.
2. Competitor research
Just like you can web scrape Reddit for data on your brand, you can do the same for your competitors. Extract data related to them to find out what sentiments customers have towards them. What tactics are they using that are making customers happy? What are some of their shortcomings? Such information can help you build a solid strategy and put you several steps ahead.
How to Scrape Reddit Data
There are several techniques and tools you can use to web scrape Reddit. The official Reddit API, for instance, allows you to collect publicly available information from the site for free. But Reddit’s API was made for automation in general. It was not designed specifically for data scraping. As such, you will face a whole lot of limitations when using it in certain cases.
You can also collect data from the site independently, using coding languages like Python. But, unless you are extremely tech-savvy, this route is usually time-consuming.
The next option is to use one of the many free web scraping tools out there to scan through the website. However, free services are usually unreliable and come with several problems you don’t want to expose your company to.
So what’s the best way to scrape data from Reddit? Buy a web scraper from a trustworthy provider. This is the safest and easiest route to take. The provider will be able to walk you through the process of using their bots and will be there to help you through any problems that might arise.
How to Avoid Getting IP Blocking With Web Scraping Reddit
So far, we have made it seem like web scraping is this perfect process that will allow you to scrape all the Reddit data you want without any hitches. It can be – but only with the help of proxies.
Reddit, like many sites, frowns upon the use of web scrapers. This is not because web scraping Reddit is inherently bad or illegal. It is mostly because the way web scrapers operate is similar to the way a lot of malware do. They send tons of requests at inhuman speeds, making them look very suspicious even though they are not doing anything wrong. And, since sites are keen on keeping their users safe, they are quick to ban web scrapers. This is why you need the help of a proxy. We go into detail about what a Reddit proxy is and various ways to use one in this blog post. But, simply put, a proxy helps you hide the IP address of a device.
An IP address is a distinct set of numbers and letters used to identify and locate devices connected to the internet. When you get banned from a website, it is typically your IP address that is used to prevent you from accessing the website. Proxies can serve as intermediaries, allowing you to communicate indirectly with websites through them. So, with a proxy, you can switch up your IP address and continue web scraping Reddit even after a ban. However, there are several different types of proxies. And some types are better suited to web scraping than others:
Dedicated, semi-dedicated, and rotating proxies
A proxy can be classified as dedicated, semi-dedicated, or rotating depending on its terms and conditions of use. A dedicated proxy, as the name implies, is one that only one person has access to. In comparison with other proxy types, it’s a relatively expensive option. But, because only you have access to it, you are more likely to experience super-fast network seeds. Also, it is generally more secure.
A semi-dedicated proxy is a more budget-friendly option. Shared among a few users, there is a risk of slower network speeds and possible security threats with this kind of proxy. But, good service providers strive to minimize these risks and make sure this budget-friendly option works well for everyone.
Dedicated and semi-dedicated proxies are sometimes collectively referred to as static proxies. That’s because, with them, you get access to only a single IP address. In contrast, rotating proxies are set up to automatically change their IP address at regular intervals, or, when a ban occurs. As such, they are a great choice for web scraping.
Residential and datacenter proxies
A proxy can also be classified as datacenter or residential based on its place of origin. Residential IP addresses come from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon. They are given to homeowners when they purchase Wi-Fi sources like modems. Proxy providers have to obtain them from actual people, which makes them relatively expensive. Since they belong to real people and are associated with physical residences, they look more legitimate to websites. When you use this kind of proxy, it looks like a real user is connected to the website, which makes the likelihood of getting banned much lower. All this allows higher volumes of data to be collected with fewer bans. As such, residential proxies are excellent for web scraping.
In contrast, datacenter proxies come from data centers. For this reason, they have no links to ISPs or physical residences. This makes it way easier for websites to detect them as proxies and ban them. Some websites – e.g. Twitter and Instagram have even placed a total ban on them, making it impossible for you to access such sites while using a datacenter proxy. For the websites that do permit their use, you can use datacenter proxies to scrape data. As compared to residential proxies, they are less expensive and more readily available. The problem, however, is that you will have to get a huge amount of them to overcome bans and complete your project. Check out this blog post if you want to learn more about the differences between residential and datacenter proxies.
Rotating residential proxies for web scraping Reddit
The two classifications we just discussed are not mutually exclusive. That means, a proxy can be dedicated and residential, rotating and data center, semi-dedicated and data center, and so on. The perfect proxy for web scraping is one that is rotating and residential. It gives you the best of both worlds since the proxy IP addresses come from real people and are rotated at regular intervals. Learn more in this post.
Choosing the Best Proxy Provider for Reddit Web Scraping
A proxy is supposed to make the process of web scraping faster and easier, but a low-quality one will do the exact opposite. Finding reliable providers to give you high-quality proxies is, therefore, key to efficient web scraping of Reddit. To find such a provider, some features to look out for include: 24/7 customer support to render assistance whenever you might need it, a multitude of IP address locations you can choose from, and a guarantee of fast network speeds.
With our offer of 1GBS speed, unlimited bandwidth, and proxy IPs from as many as 26 countries, Blazing SEO has all of the above features and much more. We have worked hard to amass a wide variety of proxies for various use cases and preferences. So, whether you choose to go with a datacenter proxy or you decide that residential proxies are a better option, we’ve got you!
In Summary: Web Scrape Data From Reddit to Grow Your Business
With billions of monthly visits, Reddit is one of the most useful sources of data for businesses today. Web scraping Reddit allows you to scan through the massive amount of data on the site, find the specific information you need quickly and get it in a format that is easy to analyze. But, without a proxy, this process will be full of hitches and end in frustration. Proxies allow web scrapers to do what they do best without any difficulty. But not just any proxy will do, only high-quality ones from reliable providers can.
The information contained within this article, including information posted by official staff, guest-submitted material, message board postings, or other third-party material is presented solely for the purposes of education and furtherance of the knowledge of the reader. All trademarks used in this publication are hereby acknowledged as the property of their respective owners.
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