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I've been doing my browsing through a VPN hosted on Amazon.

(Due to increased governmental and recording industry snooping, I'm working on alternatives to traceable IP addresses. I'm not actually doing anything "bad" myself).

Stack Overflow is blocked and says "only API requests are accepted from this address". Is there a good reason for this? Especially as I'm using a static (elastic) IP which is tied to my user - it's not like an open proxy.

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Update .. Stackexchange sites no longer block traffic from AWS :). –  Mandar Limaye May 15 at 3:05
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2 Answers 2

Amazon cloud services are blocked from accessing anything but the API due to a good deal of abuse coming from those services - spammers, scrapers, bots that don't compress their requests and ask for all of our sites causing a good deal of load on our services.

We may re-visit this at some point in the future, but I doubt the limitation will be lifted.

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Adding a captcha would be good .. that's how whirlpool.net.au deal with the issue –  Mandar Limaye Feb 8 '13 at 8:04
    
@MandarLimaye, How does a captcha block a scraper (a scraper only reads, and doesn't do any writes at all)? –  Pacerier May 14 at 15:58
    
@Pacerier All request coming from AWS are directed to a blank page with just the captcha ... once the user solves the captcha they are redirected to the actual content. BTW .. SO sites have stopped blocking AWS requests now. –  Mandar Limaye May 15 at 3:03
    
@MandarLimaye, How do we even know the entire set of IPs belonging to AWS in the first place? –  Pacerier May 18 at 17:00
    
They publish an updated list here: forums.aws.amazon.com/ann.jspa?annID=1701 –  Mandar Limaye May 20 at 3:26
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I can't find the post where the Team discusses this, but some Amazon properties are blocked because too many people used it to automate scripts to scrape pages and other automated tasks.

A few bad eggs ruin it for everyone.

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