With the many types of proxy servers available, it’s easy to get confused. Importantly, each of the various types is ideal for a particular purpose. This, therefore, implies that you can’t just choose a random type and expect it to perform at optimum if that’s not the task for which it’s suited.
Additionally, some proxies are disadvantageous for certain applications. For instance, you can’t use a shared proxy to carry out sensitive tasks because, for one, you’ll be susceptible to attacks, given that you’re sharing an IP address. Secondly, it’s easier for the IP address you’re using to get blocked because of another user’s activities. Similarly, you can’t use a rotating proxy to open a social media account because the social media platform will block your account. In the same vein, you can’t use a static proxy for web scraping.
In short, knowledge is king. And this article is intended to provide just that – the knowledge you need to guide your choice of a proxy server. You can figure out what a proxy is here.
What is a Proxy?
Firstly, though, what is a proxy? A proxy, also referred to as a proxy server, acts as an intermediary through which all your web requests pass. It assigns the web requests a new unique IP address before connecting them to the website you had typed on your browser. There are various types of proxy servers from which you can choose.
Types and Applications of Proxy Servers
Datacenter proxies assign virtual IP addresses that belong to actual data centers but which the datacenter computers generate. Therefore, a datacenter proxy routes your web requests through a server located in a physical data center.
Datacenter proxies are fast and accommodate huge traffic volumes. Also, they’re quite affordable. These reasons make them ideal for large-scale web scraping. They can also offer email protection but aren’t that effective.
Residential proxies assign their users residential IP addresses that are owned by internet service providers (ISPs). In this regard, a residential proxy routes your internet traffic through an existing mobile phone or laptop – that’s connected to the ISP whose IP address the residential proxy will have assigned you.
Residential proxies are perfect for email protection, ad verification, SEO monitoring, and scraping hotel and travel prices (aggregation). However, residential proxies are expensive because of the scarcity of residential IP addresses.
Rotating proxies are those that assign new IP addresses regularly. There are two types of rotating proxies:
- Those that use rotating IP address sessions: in this type, every web request is assigned its unique IP address.
- Those that use sticky IP address sessions: this type assigns a new IP address after the expiry of, say, 10, 20, or 30 minutes.
Rotating proxies are perfect for web scraping.
Transparent proxies don’t make it obvious that a user’s traffic is being routed through an intermediary. They make the experience of using them identical to a situation wherein they aren’t in the picture. As such, they don’t modify either the request or responses. They even pass the real IP address to the web server.
Transparent proxies are suitable for situations that require web filtering, e.g., in schools, public libraries, and companies.
Anonymous proxies hide a user’s location and IP address before passing the web requests. As such, they mask the user’s information, thereby providing the desired level of anonymity.
Anonymous proxies are ideal for individuals or companies that need their identity protected while using the internet.
High Anonymity Proxies
As the name suggests, high anonymity proxies take anonymity a notch higher. They hide the user’s information (location, network, ISP, and IP address) in addition to not identifying themselves to the web servers as proxy servers.
They’re used when anonymity is a priority. For instance, when an employee doesn’t want the company to know their activities.
A distorting proxy distorts its IP address, by changing it to a wrong one, whenever it accesses a website – it falsifies its identity to a website. Still, it identifies itself as a proxy.
As such, if you need to hide your identity and that of your proxy server, distorting proxies are the go-to option.
In shared proxies, multiple users use the same IP address, essentially sharing a single server. For this reason, shared proxies are relatively slow and make a user susceptible to hacking.
Nonetheless, by virtue of being cheap, shared proxies are ideal for people who may not have a huge budget but still want anonymity while using the internet.
Dedicated or Private Proxies
In this type of proxies, every user is assigned a unique IP address, meaning everyone uses a different server. Private proxies are ideal for people who need online anonymity.
Achieving the desired anonymity, privacy, and success in web scraping and ad verification depends on your knowledge of what a proxy is, the types of proxies, and each type’s applications/uses.