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Scraping TikTok and Instagram with Solid Datacenter Proxies

Greg Bizup
Jul 11, 2023

datacenter proxy servers

Should I use residential or datacenter proxies for web scraping?

If you are a small business who needs to scrape TikTok, Instagram, or other social media, you have probably heard the mantra that you need residential proxies. While they are a powerful solution for hiding your automated activities and location, the cost of going residential may prohibit small businesses and freelancers from taking that step.

If you are one of these small businesses who is reluctant to make that purchase, I have good news for you. Depending on your use-case, a solid datacenter proxy can get the job done.

Many cases exist where you need to go residential, but you should run tests and investigate your own use case before diving in. Do your research and figure out what works best for you before shelling out your hard-earned cash.

Our experience using datacenter proxies to scrape social media

As a social media scraping service, Toughdata has been through its fair share of proxy providers and types. We were continually let down by various providers until we discovered the unstoppable datacenter proxies of Bright Data. Their quality and reliability is simply unmatched.

To demonstrate just how effective their datacenter proxies are, I sent 100 automated HTTP requests to Instragram and TikTok to see how many would get through with a 200 status code and no CAPTCHA.

You can recreate this experiment using the code on our GitHub. Here are the results:

Site # successful requests # Captchas raised
TikTok 94 0
Instagram 100 0

94 out of 100 requests got through to TikTok, and 100 out of 100 got through to Instagram without showing a CAPTCHA. A very high success rate, considering TikTok and Instagram are notoriously difficult to scrape. As an additional credit, these requests were made sent concurrently - meaning you can get high success rates even while slamming the server with requests.

What are residential proxies for?

Websites often check whether a user has a residential IP or not in order to counter bots and automation. In cases such as these, you may need them to perform your marketing automation activities. They are also useful for accessing geo-restricted content where online services are restricted based on the user's location.

While residential proxies have their advantages, the cost can be prohibitive to freelancers and small businesses, and obtaining a large pool can be challenging and costly.

Advantages of using datacenter proxies

Using datacenter proxy service offers several advantages in the realm of web scraping. First, they are readily available and more affordable compared to residential proxies. With a wide range of providers, acquiring a large proxy pool for scraping tasks becomes more accessible. Additionally, they often provide faster connection speeds, enabling efficient data retrieval and scraping activities. They also offer a higher level of reliability as they are not dependent on residential networks. Datacenter proxies can be an excellent choice for scraping TikTok and other websites, especially when combined with effective mitigation techniques and IP rotation strategies. Just make sure you get the right provider for the job and you're all set.

When are datacenter proxies the better option?

There is no cut and dry answer to this question, and you should run your own tests to fine tune your processes. If you need to perform automation involving clicks and interactions, you will most likely need residential. However if you are simply doing page-by-page web scraping using HTTP requests, or are making calls to a backend API, a good datacenter proxy should be sufficient. Test out your use-case with both and see what works for you.