Proxy services were introduced a long time ago in the online world. This is a tool whose value cannot be neglected because of its wide use across the Globe.
Extra Data Security
A proxy server encrypts the connection between client and user. This is done to protect all the information being transferred from one user to the other. Any kind of theft of this information can lead to huge circumstances.
This is because hackers can exploit this data to a great extent and can get access to sensitive information. Now a days everything has shifted online: shopping, transactions, services schooling and a lot more. With all these being on the internet, the importance of this platform is elevated. People are more concerned about their security. It is the hard work of years that is at risk.
Moreover the military and the armed forces also use computers and internet for communication and other purposes. Therefore the proxy service is a blessing these days when the advancement of technology.
An HTTP proxy stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is a set of rules on the basis of which multiple types of files are transferred. Files such as texts, images, sound, video or any other multimedia file. This protocol decides the formatting and transmission of messages. It also decides the actions taken by web servers and browsers that are to be taken in response to different commands.
For instance, when a user enters a URL in their browser, he is actually sending an HTTP command to some web server and telling it to redirect the user to requested page on the internet.
How HTTP Works
The working of HTTP is not very simple but I will break it down in step to make it easy to understand. The web browsers we use are the clients of HTTP. They are the ones which handle the requests sent by different users. When a web browser user tries to access a website by either clicking on some hyperlink or searching for something, the browser generates an HTTP request and forwards it to the IP address that is associated with that URL. As the request is processed, it sends back the requested files to the one who requested them and the page loads in this way.
In simple words, let’s suppose that someone is visiting some gaming website. When they search that website, the website’s url is searched. A request is made and it says that the person is looking for HTML code (Websites are made on this code i.e. pictures, texts, the look and feel of page etc.). Then the response includes loading the website on the request of that user. When this information is being transferred, it is broken down into packets of binary data in the form of ones and zeros.
The data being sent is not encrypted. That means that it is not using a secure path, and it is exposed to people which can be exploited. This puts a lot at risk and hence something had to be done about it.
HTTPS was introduced to tackle such issues, in which another layer is used to secure the connection. They use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or TLS Transport layer security to encrypt the information/data being transferred.
For instance if your website is selling something and the customers are redirected to a third party page to make payments. If that site is not protected with HTTPS, the site will be prone to attack and data theft. The credit card details would be easily seen by the hackers. This will tremendously damage your reputation as an online seller. Nobody wants this to happen with them.
Now HTTPS over SSL transfers the data in such a form that it becomes quite difficult for the hackers to exploit it. SSL does not transfers the data in plain text which saves it from theft.
Importance Of HTTPS
Google has made it pretty clear that websites with HTTPS security certificates would be ranked higher in the rankings. This change in algorithm was made back in 2014. After this every successful website has to have HTTPS security. It is a certificate that ensures the safety of visitors. There are some misconceptions about HTTPS certificates that need to be addressed.
The first is they don’t slow down things. People say that HTTPS slows down the loading speed of their website. This can irritate or annoy the customers and in turn reduce them. Any sane person would prefer security over fast loading page. What is the point of a page being loaded pretty quick but it has a lot of things that can cause you damage.
The second thing that people say is that their website does have that much sensitive data being transferred to and from the customer, so they don’t need a HTTPS certificate. For them it is a waste of money. Well in this case, if a site does not have HTTPS certificate, hackers or crooks can inject different kinds of ads in their website that are not even related to the content that is on the website. This can harm a website’s reputation and also portrays an un-professional approach by the service provider. It also makes the customer suspect the legitimacy of the website because now a days, a sane person can easily identify if the website is a scam or something legit.
Scraping is a term which refers to having access to important data from some websites that can be used to derive important results about a business or service. These important results are then used to make decisions about some business that can help grow it. It is a really effective tool as it lets you get access to the data of e-commerce giants that are serving as role models in different areas of business. So if one needs to succeed, they have to come under their mentorship or follow their footsteps. Scraping is something that helps them do the things mentioned.
One can can scrape HTTP websites using some simple tools and a sequence of steps that has to be followed. But before that, the definition and types of proxies should be clear in one’s mind. This is because half knowledge is a curse.
Types Of HTTP Proxies
Free HTTP Proxies
So there are three main kinds of HTTP proxy servers. They are decided on the basis of the service quality they offer. The free proxy servers are the ones that are totally open and free for every user. Anyone can access them and are totally free of cost. This might sound good but it can become a problem for many users.
This is because the free servers are used by everyone and a huge number of requests are being made to different websites all the time. When a scraping tool makes a lot of requests to a website, it can temporary block the server. Now the proxy server that was disguised as the real user (the one who was making requests) is blocked. All the users of that particular proxy server won’t be able to access that website. This can be a waste of time for a lot of people.
Secondly free proxy servers are like public phone booths. There is no guarantee of hygiene and health of that server. Hackers and crooks could be waiting for a potential user who can be of benefit to them. One other downside of the free proxy servers are the usage of ads. The ads really make user experience annoying and irritating.
They also slowdown the work rate. Also, a huge number of people affect the speeds of server. This is why free proxy servers are not recommended.
Shared HTTP Proxies
Then comes the shared HTTP proxy. These are the ones where a specific number of people share one server. The number of people can’t exceed than the specified ones. Moreover it is a paid service unlike a free proxy server. This enhances the user experience.
A shared proxy server would get you rid of slower speeds and ads. As the shared proxy service providers are paid, they don’t need ads to earn money. Nevertheless, there is a downside to these proxy servers as well. They might be better than the free proxy servers, but still they are being shared. The people sharing these servers can be anyone.
So if any of these people does something illegal, all of the users would have to face the consequences. It can also result in being blocked from some websites that a user needed to access. This would be worst in this case because you have paid something for the service and it is of no use for you. This cannot be avoided but nerfed. One should simply take care while making the payments.
Long term payments should be avoided. Start with weekly payments and keep track of things.
Private proxies are the most luxurious proxy servers. A private proxy server is only dedicated for a single user. No sharing and no compromises. A single user who won’t have to worry about facing unforeseen circumstances. Very fast loading speeds are experienced by the users of a private proxy server.
For scraping a HTTP website, one needs a private proxy server. This is because of some reasons that I have mentioned earlier. An HTTP based website would need a private proxy because the certificate of the website does not allow encryption. It means the data can be subject to theft. One needs a proxy server that is not being shared with anyone in order to protect their privacy.
Someone would not want their hard work to be stolen. So a private proxy is something that can be used to scrape websites successfully without being prone to theft. So if you want to scrape a website, you need a good private proxy server. The server should have good user reviews and and the payments should be short term in the start so as to not risk money.
Google Chrome Proxy
You can easily attach this proxy to Google Chrome browser for ease of access.
So the first step is installing Chrome browser if it’s not already installed on your computer. If it’s there, you are one step ahead already. Now you need to go the chrome menu which is on the top right corner of the window. Find the settings option in that taskbar and type proxy in the search bar. Then click on the “open proxy settings” button.
This will open a new window. It will have some tabs. Click on the connections tab and open the LAN settings. This will open up a new window for you. There will be an address window in this window.
You have to write down the address provided by your proxy provider in that window. In the advanced settings column go and select HTTP. There would be some windows that need to be filled. These details are specific for every proxy provider. So you will be guided by the HTTP proxy provider you chose.
Reliable HTTP Proxy Providers
All of the above things are secondary to a really important and primary thing and that is selecting the best HTTP proxy. You have to go through the HTTP proxy list in order to short list the ones that match your needs. Moreover, the reputation of the server matters a lot. Research a lot before finalizing a server for yourself. Secondly, you will be needing more than one proxy servers because scraping isn’t the job of one server.
Several servers are there for you at replacements. This is because when a single server makes a lot of scraping requests to one website, it blocks it and hence the server becomes totally useless to the buyer. Proper rotation of servers should be ensured and one needs to be vigilant while extracting the data. The rest totally depends upon the analysts and the think tanks that are going to use that data for making important interpretations. Hard work is a conventional but an irreplaceable tool. It never goes out of style.