What are “clean proxies” and do they exist

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Proxy server technology enables users to conceal their real IP addresses, bypass regional blocks, and circumvent access restrictions to various resources. Effective anonymity and privacy are typically achieved through the use of anonymous proxies that robustly conceal users' actual data. One crucial aspect of proxy anonymity is the level of data encryption, which helps classify proxies into transparent and anonymous types.

A transparent proxy is a type of server that does not hide the user’s real IP address or the fact of its use. It is commonly utilized by developers for testing websites or for redirecting requests. However, transparent proxies do not provide internet anonymity.

An anonymous or elite proxy, on the other hand, is a server that conceals both the user’s real IP address and the use of an intermediary server. These proxies are often rented from providers and are exclusively used by one user throughout the rental period.

When the rental period expires, the IP address is transferred to another buyer. This transition might occur immediately or after a “freeze” period intended to lift any restrictions or blocks incurred by the previous user's actions. However, IP addresses do not become entirely “clean” after such a period. Clean proxies refer to IP addresses that have never been used before, ensuring they are not blocked due to suspicious activities by previous users. The buyer of a clean IP address becomes its first owner. Next, let's explore whether clean proxies truly exist and what alternatives to anonymous proxies are available.

Are there “clean” IPv4 proxies?

Currently, all IPv4 proxies available for purchase have been previously utilized. There have been no “clean” IPv4 proxies since 2015, which is when ARIN, the American organization responsible for distributing IPv4 addresses, declared that their free pools of IP addresses were exhausted. This scarcity of unused IP addresses is due to the limitations inherent in their format.

IPv4 proxies use a 32-bit address format, represented by four numbers ranging from 0 to 255, separated by periods. An example of such an IP address is This format allows for the creation of 4,294,967,296 unique IP addresses. However, not all of these are available for use as proxies because they serve other essential functions, such as:

  • Private networks;
  • Multicast transmissions;
  • Identification and management of network devices.

Consequently, the actual number of addresses that can be assigned for proxy use is significantly lower than the total possible, making it impossible to find an unused proxy in this format.

Features of “clean” IPv6 proxies

IPv6 is a newer version of the Internet protocol developed to address the shortage of unique IP addresses available under IPv4. The defining characteristic of IPv6 proxies is their 128-bit address format, which includes alphanumeric values separated by colons. Clean IPv6 IP addresses are continually emerging due to the expansive address space provided by this format. Technically, every time a new local network is created or a new device connects to the Internet, it could be assigned a previously unused IP address.

An example of an IPv6 address is: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334.

While IPv6 enables the availability of clean proxies, its adoption comes with challenges, primarily due to limited compatibility with many existing web resources. Utilizing an IPv6 proxy is most beneficial when accessing major platforms and web services like Google, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Amazon Web Services, and Netflix, which have better support for the newer protocol.

As more organizations continue to adopt IPv6 to scale their online services, the list of compatible resources is expanding. However, before investing in an IPv6 proxy, it's crucial to verify that the resource you plan to interact with supports this format.

Alternatives to “clean” proxies

IP addresses can have different affiliations, leading to several types of proxies:

  • Datacenter proxy: located in private data centers;
  • ISP: owned by Internet providers and located on their servers;
  • Mobile: owned by mobile operators and located on mobile devices;
  • Residential: owned by Internet providers, but located on the PCs of real users.

In theory, each type of proxy can support both IPv4 and IPv6 formats and provide “clean” IP addresses. However, the transition of Internet providers and mobile operators to the new IPv6 format is progressing slowly. As a result, not all providers have sufficient IPv6 addresses to offer as proxies.

Currently, most IPv6 IP addresses available for purchase as proxies are located in data centers. These data center proxies often have a low trust factor, an indicator assessed by web resource security systems. Datacenter IP addresses might be blocked or require captcha solutions, even if they are “clean”, because security systems do not view their origin as reliable. Furthermore, web resources might block them based on their address range, potentially affecting even “clean” proxies if they share a range with other blocked addresses.

Given these challenges, when searching for a reliable proxy server, it is advisable to consider proxies not just for their “clean” status but for their likelihood of not being blocked and their association with real providers, even if they use the IPv4 format. These are typically mobile and residential proxies, which we will explore in more detail below.

Mobile proxies

A mobile proxy operates using a SIM card from a mobile operator and has a dynamic IP address. The architecture of mobile networks involves a limited number of IP addresses available to clients. To use these resources effectively, IP addresses are continuously redistributed among active devices—a process known as rotation. This mechanism ensures that the IP address is dynamic, being assigned to a user as long as they are within the network coverage area. When a mobile device connects to a different network, its IP address changes, and the previous one is reassigned to another user.

Due to this dynamic nature, mobile proxies cannot be “clean”. However, they are typically not subject to blocking because blocking one user could potentially block thousands of other users who might be assigned that IP address in the future. This characteristic ensures that the actions of previous IP holders do not affect subsequent users.

Additional features of mobile proxies include:

  • Tariff plans that offer unlimited traffic.
  • Two types of IP address rotation: based on link or specific time periods.
  • Access to a pool of tens of thousands of addresses from mobile operators in a specific location, within which rotation occurs.

These characteristics make mobile proxies particularly effective for tasks such as automated testing, mass account creation, traffic arbitrage, and activities related to SEO and SMM.

Residential proxies

A residential proxy server utilizes the internet connection of a real user's device, typically tied to a specific physical address, which significantly boosts its trust factor. Users of residential proxies access the internet using the IP address of a home network user, which web security systems recognize as originating from a legitimate provider, hence they typically do not block these IPs. Like mobile proxies, residential proxies are not “clean” since they are already assigned to real people, and they are dynamic. Key features of residential proxies include:

  • The use of a residential proxy is virtually undetectable because the IP address belongs to an actual user.
  • They offer extensive geographic coverage due to the nature of their distribution.
  • They allow for the setup of a proxy pool from a specific region, where IP rotation can occur.

Residential proxies are particularly valuable for applications requiring high trust levels, such as using automation software like sneaker bots.

It is also important to note that ISP proxies fall under the category of residential proxies. Compared to data center proxies, ISP proxies have a higher trust factor since they are associated with internet providers. However, the likelihood of being blocked or triggering a captcha depends on the user's activities, as these addresses are static.

In conclusion, merely being unused by others does not inherently guarantee the reliability of an IP address. Truly “clean” IP addresses are mostly IPv6, which are often located in data centers and generally have a lower trust factor, leading to potential blocks and restrictions by web security systems. Therefore, a more reliable measure of a proxy's efficacy is its affiliation and operating principle, making residential and mobile proxies robust alternatives for secure and trusted internet activities.