We all frequently travel these days whether for work or pleasure. A lot of time and energy is spent in scheduling, planning, and many other things. A big chunk of scheduling goes to finding out the best way to travel and save money. For this, we turn to numerous travel aggregators. While that makes the tedious job very easy by providing you with quick and simple steps, it is important to know how these aggregator websites collect all that information in the first place.
All this valuable data, such as flight prices, hotel listings, and rentals, is scraped from various web servers on a minute-to-minute basis. For this, the aggregators depend on the process of automatic web scraping with the help of proxies. For more in-depth information on how travel aggregators use proxies, you can find more information on Oxylabs blog.
Let us first understand what proxies are and how many kinds of proxies are there.
What are Proxies/Proxy Servers?
In simple terms, a proxy server is a middleman that acts as a buffer between the internet and the user’s computer. It enables the user to access the world of the internet indirectly while preventing their data and information from the outside world. A proxy server is used for many of its benefits as listed below:
- It provides privacy to the user by hiding their original IP address. This makes it difficult for the websites to track the user and use their information.
- Most proxy servers store a cache of frequently visited websites. This, in turn, increases the speed of browsing for the user.
- Many corporate offices, schools, and institutions use proxy servers to ban the undesired websites from getting surfed by their students/employees.
- Several aggregator websites and users utilize proxy servers to bypass geographical restrictions and bans of other kinds.
Types of Proxy Servers
Based on the types of uses, there are different kinds of proxy servers available. The most common ones are:
1. Residential Proxy
These proxy servers allow their users to use IP addresses which are acquired by sending traffic through a physical device. Servers receive incoming data as if it was coming from a regular internet user. This is the most reliable proxy for security and privacy. They also enable their users to surf the web without leaving a trace behind and avoid geographical restrictions as well. Generally, most travel aggregators use residential proxies to achieve their goals.
2. Data center Proxy
These are non-physical IP addresses created by the proxy server for its users. Generally, data center proxies are created by powerful servers with incredibly fast connections. Though these proxies are good at providing privacy and a high speed connection, they may be prone to cloaking as they all appear similar to web servers. These proxies are suitable for high-speed browsing and performing operations that require a massive amount of different IP addresses. Using data center proxies to scrape pricing or other data might be difficult as one single ban from a website might render many proxies to become unusable for the same purpose.
3. Static Proxy
These are provided by the Internet Service Providers and bring together the best of residential and data center proxies. These proxies offer its users privacy on the internet while allowing them to surf the web at high-speed. Static proxies can be more expensive than either data center or residential types, making them slightly less useful whenever large amounts of different IP addresses are required.
Now that we have understood the nature of proxies and their types let’s have a look at how travel aggregators use them to acquire all of the data for your convenience.
Residential Proxies and Scraping
A lot of websites today know that their data can be scraped for various purposes. To avoid this, they put in multiple checks and blocks to secure their data. This can become a cause for trouble for travel aggregators who must collect real-time data to serve their customers. This is where residential proxies come into the picture. Unlike data center proxies and others which can be tracked and blocked by the web servers, residential proxies are undetectable and thus avoid getting blocked.
The main reason for such a benefit is that residential proxies are indistinguishable from any regular users and appear as potential customers to the website. Similarly, the aggregator can use multiple residential proxies in rotation to get accurate and consistent data whilst avoiding any blocks and restrictions. Additionally, other types of businesses have now started hiding their pricing and other information from potential competitors but residential proxies allow these restrictions to be bypassed.
If you are a travel aggregator business and are looking for the safest way to scrape varied information from different portals, residential proxies could prove to be an ultimate solution.