Web proxies are popular tools used to protect private information when surfing the web. They hide your geographic location and the IP address of your computer, making it difficult for websites and scammers to track your browsing activity. They do this by serving as intermediaries between your computer and the rest of the public web.
Think of the proxy like a middleman in a transaction. Instead of communicating directly with the website or server you’re attempting to connect to your computer instead says what it wants to a proxy. The proxy then connects to the website, retrieves the information you’re looking for, and returns the results to you.
The different kinds of web proxies
Though finding a web proxy is a simple matter of searching Google (News - Alert), you might find yourself faced with a wall of options that can be daunting to sift through. This is a quick rundown of the different kinds of web proxies and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Stay away from free proxies!
Unless you’re only looking to get around a geographical restriction to gain access to something you’re reading, you shouldn’t use free proxies. Remember, you’re sending your private information through their servers, and you have no idea who’s reading it. If you’re thinking of logging into your private social media or sending sensitive data, think twice about using a free proxy service to do it.
Datacenter proxies are what people usually mean when they talk about proxies. These are artificially-created IP addresses that live in datacenters. There can be thousands of different IP addresses within the same sub-network. They’re cheap, fast, and they’re plentiful. However, since they’re all still tied to a shared physical location, there’s always that risk of someone getting entire swathes of IP addresses banned (including the one you’re using).
Residential proxies are individual IP addresses assigned by an ISP. Unlike datacenter proxies, which are virtual addresses within a sub-network of a single datacenter location, each residential proxy is an actual physical location in the world. Residential proxies are hard to acquire, so any residential proxy servers are likely to charge you an arm and a leg for their service. The upside is that since they’re tied to a physical address and an official ISP, websites typically are more lenient with the kinds of activities they’ll allow from them.
A dedicated proxy, as its name implies, is a proxy address that is assigned to a single user at a time. They’re the opposite of public proxies where thousands of users might share a single IP address at any given moment. These are much more secure than public proxies but only really good for personal use. If you’re thinking of performing automated activities through a web proxy, you might want to reconsider.
Rotating proxy servers
Rotating proxy servers keep you anonymous by changing your IP address at random. These are great for web scraping and automated bots since the constantly changing IP address makes it hard for websites to detect any suspicious activity. One of our sources about rotating proxy servers - https://proxyway.com/.
What are proxies used for?
Proxies have many purposes beyond home computer security. Proxies are useful for a million different things, from getting around access restrictions to digital marketing. Here are just a few of the ways people are using web proxies:
Web proxies and web scraping for market analysis, price comparison, and sentiment analysis
Businesses are using web scraping to perform all sorts of tasks, from analyzing buyer sentiment across social media to comparing prices across different markets. However, all that data becomes pointless the moment it is out-of-date. To ensure their information is always relevant, these businesses have their web scraping tools checking and re-checking data round the clock.
Websites don’t like all this extra traffic, however, and often ban addresses with excessive activity. To ensure their web scrapers can continue to do their work unhindered, businesses pair them with proxies. Since these scrapers are accessing these websites through multiple different proxies, the websites have no idea they’re all coming from a single source.
Social media marketing and web proxies
Modern marketing has become highly automated and digitized. With social media bots, you can influence the conversation around your product and interact directly with your consumers. Social media bots are tied to individual social media accounts and are designed to behave and interact just like a real person would. They create a buzz by liking posts and directing discussion toward a brand or product. Many businesses have social media bots numbering from the low hundreds to several thousand, each running their own social media account and silently influencing brand discussion on the internet.
Many social media platforms don’t allow for multiple accounts under a single name or from a single location. They track your IP address and general location and will block any computer that is suspiciously tied to too many accounts. To circumvent this rule, businesses use rotating proxies that automatically assign a unique address for each bot. Usually, these rotating proxies will switch proxies every few minutes, or with every web request, the bot sends. You can found more information about proxy using on social media marketing https://bitrebels.com/social/social-media-sites-incentives/.
Proxies for saving bandwidth and faster browsing
Due to the nature of proxies as an intermediary between your computer and the internet, they’re often associated with slow or unstable connections. This is true for most free proxies – that’s one of the reasons why you should avoid them! However, many professional proxy services have unique data compression and web caching technology that makes web browsing even faster!
These work by storing a copy of every web page its users access in a cache. When another user tries to access that page, the server checks if there’s been a recent change in its content. If not, then it simply serves you the cached version, saving you from having to download all the materials again.
Getting around internet restrictions to access blocked content
We’ve talked about how proxies can hide your computer information from the websites you’re accessing, but did you know that the websites you’re visiting are hidden from your ISP? Your ISP can only see that you’re connecting to a proxy address, but they have no idea what sites that proxy is fetching for you.
This is the most common use for proxies – getting around internet restrictions. Many countries throughout the world have limited or censored the internet. In countries like Indonesia, more than 70,000 websites are blocked by the local government. Users can get around these restrictions through the use of a proxy.
Hoarding limited-edition products and manipulating online polls
Web proxies are also used for personal gain, and many of the kinds of activities that require a proxy could be considered shady or outright malicious.
Some online sales sell limited numbers of special items in flash sales and promotions. They often limit these sales to one per customer, but with a proxy, you can connect from multiple addresses and get around this limit.
Online polls can also be manipulated in this way. Users hoping to influence the results of these polls will often connect from multiple devices, and numerous proxy addresses then cast their votes. Then they switch IP addresses – rinse and repeat.
Web proxies act as the middleman in all your transactions on the internet. Your computer tells the proxy what data it wants, then the proxy communicates with the server and fetches that data for you. The server never knows that you were the one who sent the original request.
There are many different kinds of proxy servers, but the best option for personal use would be a dedicated residential proxy. Dedicated proxies give each user their unique proxy address, and no other user can use it while you’re still online. Residential proxies don’t share a sub-network, so if one gets banned, it doesn’t affect any other addresses in the proxy network.
If you’re looking to do some heavy-duty automation that requires web proxies, rotating dedicated residential proxies are the way to go. Other than the benefits of dedicated residential proxies mentioned above, rotating proxies also change your IP address constantly, making it very difficult for websites to track your activities.