With the Internet present in every aspect of life, it has become a valuable tool to find travel information. Travel fare aggregators are websites that scrape the web for information on the best fares and other travel arrangements. These aggregators need to scrape scores of websites to gather the information for you. The web scraping has to be done in real-time.
What are Travel Fare Aggregators?
Suppose you are keen to travel and want to book airline tickets as well as hotel stays. You can do this online. You could visit different airline sites to get flight details and prices. Then you could visit the sites of hotels to book a room.
However, instead of doing all that, you could visit the website of a travel fare aggregator. These sites collect information from different travel sites and give you the best options. They do the hard work for you. But to do this, they need to scrape the web for information in real-time. To scrape the web without being discovered or banned from a website, you need to use proxies.
What are Proxies or Proxy Servers?
When scouring the web for information, your computer needs to be connected to the web. When your computer sends out a request for information, the website that is supposed to give you the information can see your IP address. Your IP address is the unique address of your computer on the web. The IP address has information about the location and other details of your computer.
Now, let us say you are a travel fare aggregator, and you make numerous requests for information from a travel site like an airline. Soon the website will catch on that you are trying to scrape its site for information and will block you. So how do you scrape the web for information without being caught out?
Enter the proxy server. Proxy servers or proxies are like a middle man between your computer and the rest of the web. A proxy server is just another computer connected to the web. You ask for information; this request goes to the proxy server. The proxy then passes the request on to the website using its IP address. So the target website does not know that you had requested the information.
Rotating Proxy Servers
However, if you use the same proxy to make 100 requests, one computer makes so many requests, and the proxy can get banned. That is why, when using a proxy server, you do not use just one proxy server but a series of proxy servers. There are rotating proxy servers where each request is rotated through a different proxy. This can fool the target website into thinking that the request has come from a genuine user.
You can select a whole bunch of rotating proxy servers to make many requests for information from a website. This is one method used by web scrapers like travel fare aggregators.
Residential and Data Center Proxies
The question is, how can you get a whole bunch of proxy servers to use as rotating proxies? You could use Data Center Proxies. These are proxy servers from a data center. The biggest disadvantage of data center proxies is that their IP addresses will be similar, which could lead to getting banned from a website.
A better solution is to use residential proxies to scrape the web. Residential proxies are actual computers in actual locations that are used as proxies. So, for travel fare aggregators, the best option is to use residential proxies to scrape the web for information. Most travel aggregators will use a whole bunch of residential proxies as rotating proxies to scour the web in real-time for the required information.
Let us say you are in the US and want to access websites in Russia. However, there may be some sites that employ geo-blocking. That is blocking information requests from certain countries. So, how do you overcome that? Once again, making use of a proxy server.
So, a user in the US could access geo-blocked websites in, say, Russia by using a Russian proxy. Better still, using a residential Russian proxy located in Russia. The Russian website will think the request is from someone in Russia, without knowing where the actual request came from.
Without a doubt, travel fare aggregators need to use rotating residential proxies, preferably from the country of origin of the website they are trying to scrape. If you do plan to start a travel fare aggregator website, please do keep these points in mind. Also, look around and find proxy providers that can help you scrape the web. They are not that expensive and worth every dollar you invest in them.