ScrapingANT (opens in new tab) is a web scraping provider which offers both proxies (opens in new tab) and the infrastructure you need to use them: a headless browsing service, custom API and support in getting them set up.
The company offers 50,000 data center and 2,000,000 residential proxies across 17 countries: Brazil, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, UAE and USA.
- Interested in ScrapingANT? Check out the website here (opens in new tab)
It's not exactly powerful, but it's enough to get you started on simple projects. The API is easy to understand, too: check the website (opens in new tab) for the lowdown on how it all works.
The Enthusiast plan (opens in new tab) upgrades you to Standard support and 100,000 credits for $19 a month.
Opting for the Startup plan (opens in new tab) gets you priority email support, 'expert assistance' and 500,000 credits for $49 a month. And the industrial-strength Business plan (opens in new tab) provides a dedicated manager, expert guidance and 3,000,000 API credits for $249 a month. Which looks like a big jump, but if the 'expert guidance' can help get your project working more quickly, it could be worth the price.
Aside from its own services, ScrapingANT also has a Free Proxies page (opens in new tab) on its site where it lists free HTTP, HTTPS and SOCKS proxies. There were 45 servers on the list at review time, across various countries. We didn't test these, but the company says they are checked 'every few minutes', perhaps making this a useful resource for anyone on a budget.
API credits usage
ScrapingANT charges a different number of API credits for each of its four request types.
Sending your request via a residential proxy lifts the price to a 50 credits. And if only the best will do, using both a headless browser and residential proxy costs 250 credits.
Translating that, the free plan gets you from 10,000 simple datacenter requests to only 40 headless browser and residential proxy actions a month.
Paying $19 for the Startup plan delivers 100,000 data center requests ($0.019 each), 400 headless browser and residential proxy requests ($0.0475 each) or your preferred combination of the two.
If you need even more residential proxy action, upgrading cuts the cost still further. The top-of-the-range business plan may cost $249 a month, but it gives you 12,000 headless browser requests for only $0.021 each.
ScrapingANT allows users to sign in with their GitHub or Google accounts, or by handing over an email address and choosing a password. We weren't asked for company, billing or any other information.
As you customize the various options, the dashboard generates the cURL, Python or Node.js code you need to retrieve the results.
Alternatively, if you're new to scraping (or ScrapingANT) and not completely clear on what you're doing, you can execute the request and immediately see any results in your browser. That's extremely useful for testing, although keep in mind the free plan's strict data limits. If you're just experimenting with various options, trying this and that to see what happens, you might use the bulk of your monthly allowance in a single session.
ScrapingANT still deserves plenty of credit for providing any kind of free plan, of course, and that's just part of the help it provides. Its blog (opens in new tab) includes some genuinely useful primers on various web scraping topics, from avoiding IP limits and downloading images with NodeJS, to advice on using Puppeteer and recommendations for a couple of free proxy scraping tools.
If you're an experienced user, you know precisely what you're doing, and you're really just after a powerful API and an infrastructure that can handle millions of requests every month, this won't make very much difference.
But if you're new to the web scraping business, ScrapingANT's free plan and resources could be just what you need to point you in the right direction.
ScrapingANT doesn't offer the features, the power or control of the big proxy providers, but its ease of use, simple API and free options make it worth a look for newbies and small-scale personal projects.
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