A reputable proxy server guarantees your security, privacy, and anonymity whenever you are browsing the web. And while the market is full of proxy service providers who claim to offer these three benefits, not all deliver on this promise, perhaps because they are unreliable or their services do not meet your needs. Here are some key aspects when choosing a Proxy Service.
The proxy service provider’s unreliability and failure could stem from many areas that we’ll highlight later. But first, let’s start with the basics.
Table of Contents
What is a Proxy?
A proxy, also known as a proxy server, works as somewhat of a go-between, connecting your computer to the internet. While your computer can communicate directly with web servers by making and receiving requests, this arrangement may not be ideal for your particular use-case. For instance, you may require anonymity, which is not possible with direct communication.
This is where Choosing a Proxy Service as go-betweens come in. Proxies function as intermediaries between your computer and web servers. They route all the internet traffic and web requests from the former through themselves before directing them to the target website. While routing the web requests, the proxies also assign a new IP address – depending on the type of proxy, each web request can receive a unique IP address – thereby hiding your computer’s IP address. This process promotes anonymity, security, and privacy. However, as stated earlier, not all types of proxies guarantee these three elements. Read on to find out more.
Uses of Proxy Servers
As intermediaries that assign new IP addresses, proxy servers are used for the following activities:
- Web scraping
- Access geo-restricted content.
- Distribute network traffic, thereby preventing Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
- Control access to specific websites.
- Hide users’ real IP addresses, thereby promoting privacy.
What to Look for When Choosing a Proxy Service Provider
Your selected proxy server’s success regarding the application you’re using it for depends on the proxy service provider’s reliability. If the provider’s services tick the following boxes, then reliability is guaranteed.
1. Paid Service
Free proxy servers may entice you because you get to save a certain amount of money. However, it would be best if you stayed away from the temptation because free proxies are insecure, unreliable, and security is not guaranteed. For one, they work by sharing the same IP address among many users. Thus, a user with the technical know-how might easily hack your computer. As if that’s not enough, sharing an IP address with others means you also share the bandwidth, which leads to slow connections or server overload, hence unreliability.
Paid proxies are your best bet, but at the same time, you should also check the pricing. Some providers claim to offer dedicated proxies cheaply. If you come across such, be sure to establish whether the IP addresses are shared or allocated to a single user at a time.
Moreover, the pricing for different types of proxies varies. Be sure to be on the lookout for providers who offer their services at a blanket fee regardless of the type you want to use. More often than not, the advertised service is not what they deliver.
2. IP Network Pool
A good proxy service (e.g., Oxylabs stands as one of the best in the market) provider should have a vast network of IP addresses spread across different locations worldwide. With such a provider, you can target country-based or city-based content.
However, while a provider may have a vast network, some proxy service providers do not allow users to pick the proxy’s location. Instead, they assign indiscriminately. It would help if you also kept an eye on such.
3. For what purpose do you intend to use the proxy?
Some proxy service providers are ideal for some applications but not others. For instance, if you intend to use the proxy server to access geo-blocked content, choosing a service provider with a wide IP network would be the best option.
Alternatively, if you’re using a scalper/retail bot, choosing a proxy service provider that guarantees speed and anonymity ensures that your scalping experience is smooth.
4. Available documentation and support
A good proxy service provider caters to both beginners’ and experienced users’ needs. Thus, the provider should provide clear instructions on how to use their service. They should also be readily available to provide customer support whenever needed.
5. Use Legitimate Providers or Businesses
The internet is awash with scammers and unscrupulous users with malicious intentions. Thus, to ensure you do not fall prey to their antics, choose reputable and legitimate providers. Avoid dealing with individual internet users. One way to achieve this is by reading reviews that offer detailed insights into various proxy service providers.
Using a reputable and reliable proxy service provider is the surest way of meeting your goals and objectives. With this information, you should be halfway there, with the remaining part being choosing a service provider that ticks all these five boxes.