Should You Use Puppeteer or Selenium for Proxies?
Let us focus on some of the similarities between Puppeteer and Selenium. The two are open-source automation solutions that help to handle mundane and repetitive tasks efficiently. You write some conditional statements and specify the actions you want the code to take when those conditions are fulfilled. Apart from data gathering, they are also used for quality assurance and end-to-end testing of software.
The rest of this article discusses the meaning and main features of proxies. In the same breath, we will highlight the major differences between Puppeteer and Selenium. The article will end with powerful use cases that combine both with proxies.
What Are Proxies?
Proxies are intermediaries between your computer and the target server. When you place a web page request, the proxy server intercepts the request, which then masks your IP address before forwarding that request to the target. The proxy will also receive the response from the server on your behalf before forwarding this to you.
Automation with Selenium or Puppeteer without proxies is like shopping at Walmart without picking up a cart. Although you might be able to pick up a few items, when you need more items and run out of hands, you will need to reach out for a cart. Using a selenium and puppeteer proxy gives you a better fighting chance against geo-blocking, IP ban, and the menace of CAPTCHAs.
Main Features Of A Proxy
- Keeps you anonymous on the internet
- The Proxy server has its dedicated IP address
- Enhances security
- It helps deliver geo-targeted adverts
- Helps filter encrypted data
Differences Between Selenium and Puppeteer
Although they share some similarities, some of the differences include the following:
- Complexity: Puppeteer is relatively easier to install and run. A simple npm install command is all it takes. On the other hand, Selenium is more complex. This is because it supports multiple languages, browsers, and platforms which can make integration more difficult.
- Source: Puppeteer was written by a group of developers at Google, while Thoughtworks developed Selenium.
- Selenium Grid: This feature allows the running of the same lines of code on different browser instances on the same machine. This helps to reduce the time latency of delivering results.
- Measuring performances: Puppeteer can be used to estimate how long it will take for a website to load.
- Recording: You can record your operation using the inbuilt Selenium IDE. This is not possible on Puppeteer.
- Execution Speed: Puppeteer generates faster response when you require only a single browser instance because it was designed to manage the Chrome browser directly.
- Cross-platform support: Selenium can be used on different platforms.
- Community support: Because of its wider adoption and cross-platform support, Selenium has better community support.
Some Possible Use Cases Of Selenium and Puppeteer proxy
- Market research: Adding proxies to the mix will ensure you bypass geo-restrictions, CPATCHAs, and IP blocks.
- Price Monitoring: Keeping abreast of the fluctuations in products’ prices helps you price your items at the correct market value.
- Review Monitoring: This singular act will help improve your search engine ranking and brand’s e-reputation and get you closer to your marketing goals.
- Monitor website changes: These two tools, in combination with proxies, can be used to take a snapshot of your competitors’ websites. You can then compare these snapshots to newly scraped data to stay on recent changes as they are happening.
Two sides to the same coin, although one is more complex and robust. Selenium and Puppeteer were developed to test applications and perform quality assurance by manipulating browsers. This has found a home in data gathering, simplifying the process into API calls and reducing the writing of low-level codes. Adding a layer of proxies onto these two will allow your company to get more data scraping done without bothering about IP blocks, CAPTCHAs, and geo-location bans.