How to Bypass Akamai When Web Scraping?

Web scraping is a useful technique for extracting data from websites. However, many sites employ anti-scraping measures like Akamai to prevent bots. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore various methods to bypass Akamai and scrape protected sites successfully.

What is Akamai Bot Manager?

Akamai Technologies is a content delivery network (CDN) and web services provider. Their Bot Manager service detects and blocks scrapers and bots from accessing client websites. It uses sophisticated techniques like machine learning and behavioral analysis to distinguish humans from bots. Major sites like Amazon, Airbnb, eBay, etc. use Akamai to prevent scraping.

When bots are detected, Akamai will block requests and return errors like 403 Forbidden or “Access Denied.” The goal is to make scraping difficult and stop automated data extraction.

Identifying Sites Protected by Akamai

The first step is verifying if the website you want to scrape employs Akamai bot mitigation. There are a few ways to check:

1. Error Messages

When Akamai blocks a request, it typically returns errors like:

  • 403 Forbidden
  • 400 Bad Request
  • 503 Service Unavailable
  • “Access Denied”
  • “Pardon Our Interruption”

These indicate your request was flagged as a bot and blocked by Akamai.

2. IP Geolocation

Do a WHOIS lookup on the site's domain to find their name servers. Then do a geo-IP lookup on those name servers.

If they are located in Akamai's data centers, it confirms the site uses Akamai services.

3. Headers

Inspect the HTTP response headers, looking for headers like:

  • X-Akamai-Transformed
  • Akamai-Origin-Hop
  • True-Client-IP

These expose Akamai's involvement in handling the traffic.

4. DNS Records

Check the DNS records of the domain. If the NS (name server) records point to Akamai servers like:

It indicates the domain relies on Akamai's CDN and likely uses their bot defender too. There are also browser extensions like Akamai Netsession Interface that make it easier to identify pages served via Akamai.

Now that we know how to confirm Akamai is protecting a site, let's examine their specific bot detection techniques.

How Akamai Detects & Blocks Bots

Akamai Bot Manager uses an array of sophisticated techniques to analyze web traffic and detect patterns typical of bots and scrapers:

1. Geolocation

Akamai maintains a database mapping IP addresses to geographic regions and ISPs. This enables them to identify:

  • Data center traffic – Originates from cloud providers like AWS, Azure, etc which are commonly used to host bots.
  • Residential traffic – Comes from ISP IP ranges used by real households.

Traffic from data centers automatically raises suspicion while residential IP ranges are trusted as more likely to be real users.

2. Volumetric Behavior

Akamai monitors the volume and frequency of requests coming from specific IPs. Signs of bots include:

  • High overall traffic volume
  • Repeated access to many pages
  • Rapid automated clicking/scrolling
  • High failure rates

These deviate from normal human browsing patterns and set off alarms.

3. HTTP Protocol Conformance

Akamai checks whether HTTP requests strictly conform to expected browser behaviors:

  • User agent – Common browsers have recognizable user agent strings
  • Headers – Certain headers differ across clients
  • Ordering – Browsers follow specific header ordering

Any deviations fingerprints the requester as a potential bot.

4. Device Fingerprinting

By running client-side JavaScript, Akamai can extract detailed device profiles:

  • Screen size
  • CPU cores
  • Browser & OS versions
  • Fonts installed
  • Plugins/extensions

Scrapers using headless browsers instead of real Chrome/Firefox get flagged during fingerprinting.

5. TLS Handshake Analysis

Akamai examines the TLS handshake which establishes HTTPS connections:

  • Cipher suites – Different clients support different ciphers
  • TLS versions – Bots may use outdated versions
  • Extensions – Presence of non-standard extensions
  • Ordering – Sequence of steps differ slightly across clients

Any irregularities during the TLS handshake can reveal a bot.

6. Human Interaction Challenges

Akamai may present CAPTCHAs, device fingerprinting prompts, or other challenges that require human input to pass. Bots get blocked if they cannot complete these interactive challenges.

7. Behavioral Anomalies

In addition to technical signals, Akamai analyzes access patterns such as:

  • How pages are navigated
  • Usage trends over time
  • Correlations to events or content changes
  • Randomness of clicks

Unnatural navigation and usage exposes automated bots. Now that we understand how Akamai tries to identify bots, next we will explore proven techniques to evade their detection.

Bypassing Akamai's Bot Mitigation

While Akamai has extensive bot detection capabilities, their protections are not foolproof. Here are tested methods to circumvent Akamai and scrape protected sites:

Use Residential Proxies

Deploy rotating residential proxies from ISPs in each geography you want to target, such as Bright Data, Smartproxy, Proxy-Seller, and Soax. This provides IP addresses known to be assigned to real households, gaining immediate trust from Akamai's IP reputation system.

Avoid datacenter IP ranges which are easily flagged as bots. Residential proxies also mimic normal human traffic much more closely.

Automate Real Browsers

Headless browsers like Selenium and Puppeteer drive actual Chrome and Firefox browsers in Docker containers. This results in highly authentic browser fingerprints and behavior that evades Akamai's Javascript and TLS analysis techniques.

Mimic Human Patterns

Have your bots scrape slowly and randomly across days or weeks to appear more human-like. This avoids huge volumes or blazing speeds that trigger Akamai. Vary user agents, geo-targets, delays, actions like scrolling/clicking, etc to seem natural.

Use Fingerprint Spoofing

Tools like Puppeteer Stealth modify browser fingerprints (navigator, media codecs, etc) to match regular browsers closely. This overcomes small discrepancies that may get detected when running headless Chrome/Firefox.

Rotate Everything

Constantly rotate IPs, user agents, proxies, delays, geographies being accessed, and other parameters. This prevents usage patterns from becoming too suspicious.

Two-Stage Scraping

First use slow browser automation to establish credibility as a real user. Once the session appears human, switch to blazing fast headless scraping. This avoids fast bursts of traffic that would raise red flags.

Leverage Caching Proxies

Caching proxies like and Google Cache store copies of sites in the cloud. They are often white-listed by Akamai, allowing you to scrape their cached versions to extract data.

Bypassing Akamai with Smartproxy Web Scraping API

While it's possible to build scrapers that bypass Akamai manually, it requires ongoing maintenance to address their evolving detection algorithms. A more scalable solution is using a specialized web scraping API like Smartproxy. Their residential IPs and fingerprint spoofing technology let you extract data from Akamai-protected sites easily:

import smartproxy

client = smartproxy.ScraperAPI(api_key="YOUR_API_KEY")

params = {
  "url": "",
  "country": "us", 
  "asp": True, # Enable anti-scraping bypass
  "render_js": True, # Use headless Chrome 
  "proxy_pool": "residential"

data = client.get(**params)

Smartproxy handles all the complexities of proxy rotation, browser automation, and mimicking human behavior behind the scenes.

Common Challenges When Bypassing Akamai

While the above strategies are tested and proven, you may still encounter challenges:

  • Blocked at first request – Akamai is best at detecting bots at the start. Use proxies and browsers that mimic humans.
  • IP blocks – Rotate IPs frequently to distribute requests across many residential IPs. Avoid concentration.
  • Captchas – Use Captcha solving services. For ReCaptcha, leverage browser automation.
  • Behavior analysis – Randomize delays and actions. Spread traffic over days/weeks. Mimic humans.
  • Browser discrepancies – Fine tune headless browsers using stealth tools to match real browsers better.
  • Javascript dependence – For heavy JS sites, use Puppeteer/Playwright and solve challenges like 2FA/Captchas manually.
  • TTL bans – After blocks, wait a while before retrying through a different proxy and user agent.
  • Advanced fingerprinting – Analyze script outliers and tweak headless browser configurations accordingly.

With practice, you can overcome these hurdles. Next, we will cover services that simplify the process.

Leveraging Scraping Services to Bypass Akamai

While bypassing Akamai manually is possible, it requires significant development and ongoing maintenance. A more scalable solution is leveraging web scraping APIs and proxy services. These companies operate large IP pools and browser farms for automating Akamai circumvention at scale across all your scraping needs. For example:

# Using Smartproxy Web Scraping API

import smartproxy 

client = smartproxy.ScraperAPI(api_key=YOUR_KEY)

params = {
  "url": target_url,
  "country": "united states",
  "asp": True, # Enable anti-scraping evasion
  "render_js": True, # Use real browsers 
  "premium_proxies": True # Residential IPs

data = client.get(**params)

The benefits include:

  • Large proxy inventory – Over millions of residential IPs across all regions.
  • Auto IP rotation – Proxies rotate seamlessly preventing IP blocks.
  • Browser engine support – Integrated Puppeteer and Playwright browser automation.
  • Resistance plugins – Stealth and fingerprint spoofing plugins.
  • Cookies/sessions – Stateful scraping and support for logins.
  • Cloud infrastructure – No need to configure your own scraping infrastructure.
  • Easy scaling – Handle high traffic sites without maintenance overhead.
  • APIs – Simple integration with Python, JavaScript, PHP, and other languages.

So if your needs are complex, leveraging an enterprise-grade scraping service may be more optimal than building in-house Akamai circumvention capabilities.

Ethical Considerations for Scraping Akamai Sites

When bypassing platforms like Akamai to scrape protected sites, be sure to do so ethically:

  • Respect robots.txt – Avoid scraping pages blocked in the site's robots.txt file.
  • Check Terms of Service – Ensure scraping is permitted per the website's TOS.
  • Scrape responsibly – Do not overload sites with excessive traffic volumes.
  • Do not hack – Only use ordinary consumer IPs and browsers. No exploits.
  • Consider legality – Do not scrape illegal/copyrighted/private material.
  • Obtain permission – If possible, get formal approval to scrape from the website owner.
  • Consult professionals – If ever in doubt on the legality, consult qualified legal professionals.

Adhering to these ethical principles is important as you provision tools to bypass defensive measures like Akamai. Now let's answer some common questions about Akamai scraping.

FAQs About Bypassing Akamai

Is it illegal to scrape sites that use Akamai?

Generally not, as long as you respect the website's terms of service and scrape publicly available pages through legal methods. Violating terms of service or using intrusive technical exploits may be illegal, though. When in doubt, consult qualified legal counsel.

Can I scrape an Akamai customer site directly without going through their CDN?

Trying to bypass Akamai altogether directly is an intrusive approach that may be considered illegal hacking in certain jurisdictions. Abusing security loopholes also violates ethical web scraping principles.

Does Akamai only protect large sites like Amazon and eBay?

No, many small and medium-sized sites also leverage Akamai for anti-bot protections due to their affordable pricing. Always verify if a domain uses Akamai regardless of its size.

What other anti-bot services compete with Akamai?

Major competitors include Cloudflare, Imperva, Datadome, PerimeterX, Distil Networks, and others. However, the circumvention tactics for Akamai also apply to these other vendors.

Can I scrape Akamai sites if I stay under the radar?

Possibly, but this approach is unreliable long-term as Akamai is continuously improving detection abilities. Using mature proxy and browser services provides better consistency.


Akamai Bot Manager provides robust bot detection to block scrapers, but with the right methods, it can still be circumvented. Using residential proxies, stealthy browsers, and mimicking human behavior are proven techniques to bypass Akamai's protections. Or use a proxy service API for an easy turnkey solution.

Scraping responsibly while respecting sites' defenses is key. With this guide, you should now understand how to extract data from Akamai-hardened sites successfully. Let me know if you have any other questions!

John Rooney

John Rooney

John Watson Rooney, a self-taught Python developer and content creator with a focus on web scraping, APIs, and automation. I love sharing my knowledge and expertise through my YouTube channel, My channel caters to all levels of developers, from beginners looking to get started in web scraping to experienced programmers seeking to advance their skills with modern techniques. I have worked in the e-commerce sector for many years, gaining extensive real-world experience in data handling, API integrations, and project management. I am passionate about teaching others and simplifying complex concepts to make them more accessible to a wider audience. In addition to my YouTube channel, I also maintain a personal website where I share my coding projects and other related content.

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