Proxies are intermediaries that are used by companies and individuals when working on the internet. Basically, a proxy server acts as a buffer between you and the internet. Proxies allow for anonymous surfing of the world wide web and are able to hide the IP address of the user.
An anonymous proxy server helps protect your location, your browsing habits and your preferences while working, shopping or playing games on-line. If you find you are blocked from accessing specific websites a proxy server can also permit access to sites blocked by a firewall.
There are seemingly an endless number of proxies that can provide you with service. You can find a list of these simply by typing “Proxy List” into any search engine. Some of are free while others charge a fee. (Usually the paid proxies are “dedicated” proxies and provide a more reliable, faster and secure experience).
If you’re looking to buy a proxy, you should know that there are several types to choose from depending on your intended use, desire for anonymity and your budget. Shared and private proxies are completely different in almost every way.
Here’s what you need to know when deciding which to purchase.
Just as its name implies, a shared proxy is utilized by multiple users on the same port and potentially with the same authentication info. This means if you or your company decides to use a shared proxy, it will be accessible to potentially hundreds of people with your username:password, not just you.
Although most technology experts warn against using shared proxy servers, they do have some advantages:
- Most shared proxies inexpensive or free.
- Sharing the proxy server allows you to share in the cost of that server.
- They are useful for the rare user who requires several proxies but uses each proxy only for a few hours.
- Some public proxies can be helpful with some of SEO software that need harvest data from internet (like keyword ranking or page rank).
- They can support both an HTTP and SOCKS5 service.
- Public proxy servers can also be used with web browsers and other apps that support proxy use.
A private proxy is a dedicated IP that’s highly anonymous and nobody else will have access through your means of unique username:password or IP authentication (no proxy service access is truly dedicated since system admins / users still need to regularly log in for testing, maintenance, general use, upgrades, etc).
It delivers some serious advantages over shared or public proxies:
- A private proxy is a proxy that is used only one user.
- It hides your IP(or MAC) address while adding security and protecting your privacy.
- Private proxies deliver fully anonymous surfing on the internet. It is important to remember that you leave a digital footprint in the form of your IP address when using the web. This means that almost anyone can see you on-line, including hackers and spammers. A private proxy server can almost guarantee your IP address will be invisible.
- Higher speed since no one else is working with the same proxy.
- Ability to bypass filters and firewalls since a private proxy server can circumvent these types of blocked websites.
- Ability to unblock numerous applications and bypass numerous internet restrictions (i.e. unblock You-Tube, Facebook, Twitter at work or school where the “IT administrator” has restricted your access to these and similar sites).
- Protect privacy for minimal worry about your personal information being exposed or compromised when you make purchases or surf on the web.
- Deliver a higher level of security on internet since a private proxy provides a unique internet address.
- Avoid and block spam successfully.
Differences in Speed:
- Public Proxy: many people can be using public proxies at the same time, overloading their bandwidth and leaving you with a frustratingly slow internet experience. In other words, slow access is generally associated with free proxies because many (many) users are typically using them at any given time.
- Private Proxy: a dedicated proxy is when access is allowed to dedicated proxy servers / VPS servers through your own username:password or IP authentication. The result is reliable higher speed than a public proxy can deliver. Private proxies protect and deliver privacy with virtually no risk of having your personal information being exposed.
Differences in Security:
- Public Proxy: Free and open proxy servers have been documented to be populated with hackers and spammers. Your personal or company information, including credit card information and financial data, is dangerously exposed. A public proxy can often infiltrate your computer and gain access to passwords, credit information or even hijack your browser to attack other sites.
- Private Proxy: There is absolutely no comparison when it comes to cyber security between public and private proxies. There is always a significantly higher level of security since a private proxy provides a unique internet address with authenticated access.
Differences in Anonymity:
- Public Proxy: The majority of public proxies are run by unscrupulous sites that are vulnerable to exposing your data. Many public proxies are also transparent, meaning that instead of hiding your IP, they merely pass it on to the website you are visiting.
- Private Proxy: A private proxy server can almost guarantee your IP address will be invisible. This allows complete concealment and security when working on the internet.
Differences in Reliability:
- Public Proxy: The vast majority (if not all) publicly available free proxy servers do not require any registration or authentication. In addition, it is insanely time consuming to test free proxies. These pubic proxies either belong to someone else, or are computers that have been compromised by hackers. As a result, free and public proxies come and go and often are not even available after just a few uses. It has even occurred that this type of proxy will go off-line while you are using it.
- Private Proxy: These dedicated proxies last considerably longer because they aren’t being abused by the whole public. Only authorized users are using a private proxy.
Differences in Spam and Advertising:
- Public Proxy: Often the suppliers of free proxy sites sell your emаіl address to other advertising companies. It is commonplace that they install adware and viruses onto your computer. The result is unwanted advertisement banners as soon as you log on and connect соnnесt tо thе іntеrnеt. It also makes your technology devices susceptible to malware.
- Private Proxy: A dedicated proxy protects your computer and other personal information by disguising your IP address. This makes it virtually impossible for anyone to hack or install any type of malicious software onto your computer system.
Differences in Price:
Whether you decide to purchase public proxies or a private proxy, you should assure that the proxy can be used with any browser or application that you regularly employ.
The pricing of proxies ranges considerably. Some public proxy lists can be downloaded at no charge while private proxies may require a one-time-only or even monthly charge. However, you can almost be certain that private proxies will always be more expensive. You are paying for the reliability and speed.
It is also a good practice to research whether or not the price you are paying includes consumer support. The ability to access quick, accurate, and friendly support 24/7 is almost a necessity. Working on the internet is vital to the individual as well as the health of a corporation. You will want to know that if you have issues with the proxy which you cannot troubleshoot on your own, that you can contact a support team via phone, email or Live Chat.
- Public Proxy: These often free proxies end up not being free at all. They typically cause a multitude of problems and issues for most users. The true price a user of a free public proxy actually pays is the price of exposing their network to unknown and untrusted sources. Are rarely do public proxy sites provide help when the proxy fails or does not respond.
- Private Proxy: There is almost always a charge for a private proxy and the range of pricing is wide and varied. The most essential aspect when deciding on what site to rely on for your private proxy is its credibility and history of service. A “2016 Top Ten” comparison list of companies providing proxies along with features and pricing can be found here, but you will want to do some of your own research.
A Few Other Things You Should Know
- HTTP Proxy Servers. The HTTP protocol can only handle traffic that starts with http:// or shttp. It is therefore only useful for web surfing, HTTP proxies will, however, hide your IP from basic checks, but HTTP traffic is usually not encrypted.
- SOCKS Proxy Servers. The big advantage of SOCKS proxies that it supports any kind of internet traffic, but it is often a slower process.
Purpose and Use
Proxy servers have a variety of features and benefits which can be utilized for diverse purposes.
- If proxies are used as a caching web proxy, it can increase the speed of the web response. This is possible because a caching proxy returns response directly from its cache if the document already exists.
- They can be used to filter web page content such as blocking inappropriate or offensive web content from viewed by the users. This is a primary reason for corporations to engage in proxy servers.
- An anonymous proxy directs the user requests to a destination server, which ultimately has no knowledge of the source of the request. Only the proxy is aware of the source of the request, including the user IP address and location.
- Some proxies have been developed to localize and translate the content of a source website into the local language of the client’s computer.
- Usually, scraping is much faster with private proxies.
It also makes sense to check and test the proxy prior to using it. There are a few good proxy checkers out there that allow you to check hundreds of proxies per minute. ScrapeBox is one of the most popular with several positive reviewers from users. Just like proxies themselves, beware if the software is free as it may allow access to unwanted eyes during your proxy checks.
To Sum It Up
When you connect to the internet, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) assigns you an IP address. Whenever you surf the web, view emails, play video games or download a movie from the web, your IP address allows your activity and location to be tracked. To surf anonymously and protect your privacy, you’ll need to hide your real IP address with a proxy.
Browsing the internet through a proxy means that you are not accessing a website directly, but going through an intermediate “proxy” who relays the information back and forth between you and the destination website.
The top priority should always be рrоtесtіng уоur privacy and реrѕоnаl іnfоrmаtіоn. Using a рrоxу аddrеѕѕ rаthеr thаn your оwn IP аddrеѕѕ allows you to connect to other servers without revealing your personal information.
But there are varying degrees of defending against hackers that should be considered when using proxies. Public proxies are often free, but as we all know, nothing is really free in this world. Do you really want to trust your personal information to these public and high visible proxies?
Private proxies permit peace of mind so you can browse safely, securely and swiftly on the world wide web.