/ python

Create a rotating proxy crawler in Python 3

One day, a friend of mine was crawling a website (let's be honest: everybody crawls someone other) but, of course, he was banned a lot of times and he had to start tor or find some other system.
After some research, find a complete rotating proxy system in Python was impossible, so I created my own and I want to share it with you.

The crawler will follow this flow:

1. At the very beginning, it retrieves a list of valid HTTPS proxies from sslproxies.org;
-- 1.1. With BeautifulSoup, it scan the table and obtain the values.
-- 1.2. With the Python module "Fake-useragent", it simulates a user agent to simulate a real request.
2. It does its stuff and calls (in this case, we use a range from 1 to 100 to test it);
3. Every 10 requests (you can of course increment this value), he changes proxy.
4. If the proxy is broken, it deletes it from our list and catch another one.

Prerequisites

Our code will be compatible with Python 3.x, so make sure you have it installed.
We are going to use also two external modules:

  • BeautifulSoup, to scrape the source. Install it with pip3 install beautifulsoup4
  • Fake-useragent to retrieve a random User Agent, in order to simulate a "real" request. Install it with pip3 install fake-useragent. Note: This is optional. You can replace it an "hard coded" and fixed string, it doesn't matter.

Coding an hot damn script

The first part of every language is the "inclusion" section, so we are going to include our needed libraries.

from urllib.request import Request, urlopen
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
from fake_useragent import UserAgent
import random

Now we generate a random user agent and initialize an empty list where we'll put our proxies.

ua = UserAgent() # From here we generate a random user agent
proxies = [] # Will contain proxies [ip, port]

Since we like a structure where the most important code is at the top and the other small functions at the bottom (and in Python this is "not possible"), our code will be in a method called main which will be recalled at the end, like this:

# Main function
def main():
    # Our code here

if __name__ == '__main__':
  main()

Retrieve proxies

Because we want a rotating proxy system, we need to retrieve them from the beginning and we'll achieve that scraping the site sslproxies.org with BeautifulSoup (BS from now), the most famous scraping library.

Inside our main function, we initialize a new Request, attach a User Agent to it and retrieve it contents.

# Retrieve latest proxies
proxies_req = Request('https://www.sslproxies.org/')
proxies_req.add_header('User-Agent', ua.random)
proxies_doc = urlopen(proxies_req).read().decode('utf8')

Now creating a new BS instance, we scan all the rows contained in the main table.

soup = BeautifulSoup(proxies_doc, 'html.parser')
proxies_table = soup.find(id='proxylisttable')

# Save proxies in the array
for row in proxies_table.tbody.find_all('tr'):
  proxies.append({
    'ip':   row.find_all('td')[0].string,
    'port': row.find_all('td')[1].string
  })

With proxies.append, we save a new dict with the keys ip and port.
At this point all we have to do is to get a random proxy from our list. Since we need this many times, we'll put the code inside a function called random_proxy, right before the line if __name__ == '__main__':

# Retrieve a random index proxy (we need the index to delete it if not working)
def random_proxy():
  return random.randint(0, len(proxies) - 1)

Note that we return the key and not the value of the proxy: why this? Because if a proxy fails, we want to remove it from the list, so we won't catch it again.

Request, request, request

For testing purposes, we'll make 100 requests to icanhazip.com which will return our current IP (proxied, of course).
Using the random_proxy method written above, we retrieve a proxy and then attach it to our request and every 10 requests we change IP.

proxy_index = random_proxy()
proxy = proxies[proxy_index]
  
for n in range(1, 100):
    req = Request('http://icanhazip.com')
    req.set_proxy(proxy['ip'] + ':' + proxy['port'], 'http')

    # Every 10 requests, generate a new proxy
    if n % 10 == 0:
      proxy_index = random_proxy()
      proxy = proxies[proxy_index]

Now with a try/catch we intercept broken proxies and delete them from our list and notice the user, or, if the request has been successful, we print what IP icanhazip see.

# Make the call
    try:
      my_ip = urlopen(req).read().decode('utf8')
      print('#' + str(n) + ': ' + my_ip)
    except: # If error, delete this proxy and find another one
      del proxies[proxy_index]
      print('Proxy ' + proxy['ip'] + ':' + proxy['port'] + ' deleted.')
      proxy_index = random_proxy()
      proxy = proxies[proxy_index]

Save the file (in my case scrape_me.py, just a tribute to "Rape me" of Nirvana) and execute it.
You'll see something like this:

python-rotating-proxy-example

Code

This is the full code or, if you want, you can see it in this Github repository.

from urllib.request import Request, urlopen
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
from fake_useragent import UserAgent
import random

ua = UserAgent() # From here we generate a random user agent
proxies = [] # Will contain proxies [ip, port]

# Main function
def main():
  # Retrieve latest proxies
  proxies_req = Request('https://www.sslproxies.org/')
  proxies_req.add_header('User-Agent', ua.random)
  proxies_doc = urlopen(proxies_req).read().decode('utf8')

  soup = BeautifulSoup(proxies_doc, 'html.parser')
  proxies_table = soup.find(id='proxylisttable')

  # Save proxies in the array
  for row in proxies_table.tbody.find_all('tr'):
    proxies.append({
      'ip':   row.find_all('td')[0].string,
      'port': row.find_all('td')[1].string
    })

  # Choose a random proxy
  proxy_index = random_proxy()
  proxy = proxies[proxy_index]

  for n in range(1, 100):
    req = Request('http://icanhazip.com')
    req.set_proxy(proxy['ip'] + ':' + proxy['port'], 'http')

    # Every 10 requests, generate a new proxy
    if n % 10 == 0:
      proxy_index = random_proxy()
      proxy = proxies[proxy_index]

    # Make the call
    try:
      my_ip = urlopen(req).read().decode('utf8')
      print('#' + str(n) + ': ' + my_ip)
    except: # If error, delete this proxy and find another one
      del proxies[proxy_index]
      print('Proxy ' + proxy['ip'] + ':' + proxy['port'] + ' deleted.')
      proxy_index = random_proxy()
      proxy = proxies[proxy_index]

# Retrieve a random index proxy (we need the index to delete it if not working)
def random_proxy():
  return random.randint(0, len(proxies) - 1)

if __name__ == '__main__':
  main()
Danilo Polani

Danilo Polani

Software Engineer and dreamer in startups. Go, Python, Laravel, Ionic, AngularJS, VueJS, NodeJS, JavaScript, Elasticsearch, Redis.

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