Personal locks and regional bans are not scary for those who know what a proxy is and how to use them correctly. Proxy servers help hide the real user data by connecting through a different unique IP address. This tool can be useful not only for hiding the IP and geolocation of a computer but also for many other tasks: saving traffic, protecting against network attacks, restricting access to a corporate network.
Below we will take a closer look at what a proxy is, what it is for, and where you can get it. We will also answer several additional questions: how to find the address and port of the proxy server, how proxies work, etc.
Let's start with the basics of proxy servers: technologies, advantages, applications.
Each computer has a unique IP address. It is used to identify users. The IP address provides information on the country, region, internet service provider, and computer. Proxy servers also have their unique IP. It is through it that the connection to the network will be carried out if the proxy is connected to the computer.
A proxy server is an intermediary link between the user's computer and the visited sites. In simple terms, a proxy is a remote intermediary computer through which a user from anywhere in the world can connect to the Internet. It broadcasts every request of a connected PC to the network and sends back the received responses.
To work through a proxy server, you need to make specific settings in the browser, system parameters, or in a particular program (proxifier). If you set up a mediation server in a browser, then only that mediation will use an anonymous connection. When a proxy is connected through the system settings, it will be active for all network connections. Well, the proxy will allow you to customize the work of the mediation server advanced
Why proxy servers are popular:
For enterprises, proxy servers are preferred, even when compared to hardware routers with NAT (for network address translation). The key benefits of a proxy for this target audience lie in providing more control over the Internet and the ability to filter content.
Proxy servers are used by both ordinary users for anonymous web surfing and all kinds of webmasters:
The main use of proxy servers is to hide the valid IP address. With them, you can secretly scrape data without the risk of blocking, promote several accounts on social networks, and solve other more complex tasks. Also, proxies are used in companies for additional protection and restricting access to employees.
This may be required for different purposes:
There are two types of proxy servers: paid and free. Let's take a closer look at how much they differ from each other in terms of technical stuffing.
Anyone can use public proxy servers. To connect free servers, you only need their data (IP and port), as well as knowledge of how to register a proxy.
Pros of free proxies:
Cons of free proxies:
This type of proxy is much more reliable than its free counterpart, but you will have to pay rent to service providers for using it.
Pros of paid proxies:
Cons of paid proxies:
We figured out that free proxies are suitable only for solving simple basic tasks, and for severe anonymous work on the network, it is better to use paid servers. Now let's move on to the main types into which proxy servers are divided.
They are classified according to three parameters: protocol (CGI, HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS), Internet protocol version (IPV4 / IPV6), and access restriction (private, shared). Let's take a closer look at each of the types.
There are four most common proxy protocols: CGI, HTTP, HTTPS, and SOCKS (4, 5).
CGIs are web proxies that look like a regular web page at first glance. The main difference between CGI proxies and other types is that they do not have an open port. They do not need to be entered anywhere. CGI proxies are a kind of web application loaded in a browser from a remote server.
Using a CGI proxy resembles the procedure for searching in search engines. Only in this case, you need to go to the site with a web proxy, enter the URL of the desired web resource in the special line and press the start button. This will enable the anonymous connection to be activated but only work within the open tab.
CGI proxies are also called anonymizers. They do not require any settings, so they are convenient for surfing the web.
An HTTP proxy server allows you to work on the Internet using the HTTP protocol. Supports data caching. It is the most common one.
HTTP proxies come in different levels of anonymity: transparent, anonymous, distorting, elite (genuinely anonymous). They are more suitable for full viewing and use of the content on sites than CGI.
If you connect an HTTP proxy in the operating system settings, then it will be used for connections through all browsers on your computer. At any time it can be deactivated with a couple of clicks.
This type of proxy server differs from HTTP proxy in only one point - support for SSL encryption. Due to this, when using it, you can view protected sites, the address of which begins with "https".
SOCKS proxies are commonly used when proxy server configuration is required for individual applications. It makes it possible to run programs with Internet access through a proxy, which initially did not have such an opportunity. This type of proxy supports additional data transfer protocols and can handle any traffic.
SOCKS5 differs from SOCKS4 in that it supports the UDP network protocol and can be used with strong authentication schemes. SOCKS5 also supports IPV6 (modern network addressing).
To connect through a different IP address for visiting a specific site, CGI proxies are suitable. A more simplified version of web surfing is to configure an HTTP proxy on your computer or browser. If you need to visit sites with a secure connection, you will need an HTTPS proxy.
For serious work on the Internet, it is better to use a SOCKS proxy. The most advanced version is SOCKS5. They can be used to bypass the blocking of Telegram, Netflix, and anonymously visit any other online sites. By connecting a SOCKS5 proxy to your PC, it will be more difficult to determine your real IP address.
Another option for separating proxy servers is Internet protocols. There are IPv4 proxies and IPv6. What is the difference between them is described below.
This is a new version of the Internet Protocol, where the space for creating addresses has been increased by four times. Proxies of the same name do not use an address mask, which is used to separate the network address from the host address. IPv6 uses a 128-bit address space. This type of address will last for several more decades, while IPv4 is already running out. The total number of IPv6 addresses is two to the power of 128.
An example of an IPv6 proxy: 2001: 0GE8: AA20: 0002: 0000: 0000: 0000: 00FB
This is an old Internet protocol that still uses an address mask. IPv4 uses a 32-bit space of 4 bytes. There are approximately 4.3 billion IPs of this type in the world.
An example of an IPv4 proxy: 188.8.131.52.
There are many differences between the two Internet protocols that can be understood with a little technical understanding. Let's try to explain some points in simple, understandable language.
IPv4 proxies support all web resources, but through an IPv6 proxy, it will be possible to connect only to a limited number of sites that support the new standard.
IPv6 is more secure due to encryption and authentication. They are more suitable for secure networking because IPv4 was not originally designed for security.
Also, IPv6 has a feature that allows you to find "neighbors". Due to it, devices and routers will be able to discover each other and exchange data.
According to this criterion, proxies are of two types: private and shared. They perform the same functions but still differ greatly in reliability and safety for the user.
Private proxies are issued for personal use to one person. They can also be used by a limited number of users who have access by IP (or those who know the password and login from the proxy server).
Compared to shared proxies, private servers are fast and stable. They will not overload due to massive use and also eliminate the possibility of blocking due to a server neighbor.
You can purchase private proxies from vendor companies on the Internet that provide this type of server for rent.
Shared proxies can be found on the Internet for free. Lists with them are put up for free access by thousands of sites on the worldwide network. They are collected by scanning the ranges of IP addresses among open standard proxy ports and previously private servers that were made public. As a rule, these Internet databases contain outdated lists of servers, among which 5-10% are actually working.
Public proxies are the same as shared proxies. Various proxy providers on the Internet call public servers both shared and public. Be aware that there is no difference between the two.
The fewer people use a proxy server, the less the load on it. It is better for the user when only he has access to a specific proxy because this will allow him to work on the network at maximum speed. From this point of view, unambiguously personal proxies are better than shared.
Another underwater stone with the public proxy is the risk of blocking an IP address because of another user. If someone who used your proxy server is blocked in a certain online service, then access to this site will be closed to you when you activate the same proxy.
You do not need to pay for using most public (shared) proxies. They are freely available on the Internet. There are special online services that select shared proxies with good characteristics that are still working. When searching through these web resources, you can take advantage of selected public servers for a small commission.
Private proxies are more expensive than public ones because they are more secure, faster, and more reliable due to the fact that they are used by only one user. In fact, only they are able to solve the problem for which most people connect a proxy to their computer or smartphone - to provide maximum anonymity when visiting any or certain sites.
On the website of proxy providers, you can choose the most suitable private server specifically for your task: web-scraping, SMM, bypassing blocking on streaming services, botting in computer games, etc.
According to the degree of anonymity, four types of proxy servers can be noted: transparent, distorting, anonymous, and elite. Each of them will be discussed in detail below.
The worst in terms of anonymity are transparent proxies. When using such proxy servers, the connection will pass through their IP-address, however, your actual IP address will also be displayed in the corresponding parameter line.
As you can imagine, from the point of view of data secrecy, these servers are useless. They act as a technical intermediary for traffic transmission. It makes sense to use transparent proxies only to bypass blocking by IP or ban for residents of your country.
Malicious proxies are next in terms of anonymity. They have a low degree of anonymity, as they display the wrong or only partially correct IP of the user. Their disadvantage is that even the small part of the real data about the computer that they transmit may be enough to determine the client's Internet provider.
Proxy servers with a low level of anonymity should not be used to hide your identity. They are more suitable for bypassing blocks and downloading files from file hosting services.
Anonymous proxies are one of the best in terms of data hiding. Using them, websites will not see the actual IP address of the computer, but they will know that the connection is currently going through a proxy server.
Anonymous proxies are suitable for the secret execution of most tasks on the network.
The most effective proxies for classified work are highly anonymous (elite) proxies. Using them, no one will know your real IP-address or the fact of using a proxy server. On the end node, all data will be displayed as if the connection is made directly without any intermediaries. Accordingly, elite proxies are more expensive than other types of servers.
What do proxy IP and port mean? This is the data of the IP address through which the connection to the destination server will be made. For example, this is how the data of a public proxy server from Australia looks like: 184.108.40.206:4145 (the port is indicated after the colon).
How to find out your proxy: the data of the proxy used can usually be viewed in the personal account on the supplier's website. If the necessary information was not there, ask the managers of the company where you purchased the servers on how to find your proxies.
If you are sure that the proxy server is active and successfully connected, then another way to find out its IP and port is to go to any site to determine the IP address, for example, at whoer.net. The necessary data will be automatically displayed to you immediately after you go to this site.
Also, you can specify the IP and port in the settings of your computer, browser, or proxifier, where you originally entered them.
An important factor, which largely determines the speed of a proxy server, is the distance between it and the web resource where the request is sent. Simply put, the closer the proxy used is located to the server on which the site is based, the higher the connection speed.
Also, those proxies that are issued for individual use work faster. Before buying, you can check the speed of the proxy through special online services. To do this, it will be enough to enter only the server data and the URL of the website that you are going to visit.
A well-paid proxy server rarely slows down the connection speed, and sometimes even speeds it up.
This parameter is positively influenced by four main factors:
A proxy pool is a network of servers through which connections to sites will be made. What does a proxy pool mean when scraping data and solving other serious tasks on the Internet? In this case, its significance is enormous. Limiting yourself to only one proxy when working with large projects is equivalent to using only your own IP address for this.
Using a proxy pool will reduce the likelihood of blocking and increase the number of simultaneous requests sent from one computer. Having selected a set of high-quality intermediary servers, it will be possible to distribute traffic among different proxies and quickly solve the tasks.
What are proxy networks in simple terms? This is a set of proxy servers used by one user/company to solve specific problems.
When choosing a proxy pool, you can rely on four main factors: the number of requests per hour, the target websites, the type and quality of IP addresses. Let's take a closer look at each of the points.
The more requests you need to execute per hour, the more proxy pool you need.
For example, when scraping data, a good indicator is a portion-wise rotation of 300-400 IP addresses every 2-3 hours.
It should be understood that large sites use more advanced security technologies to resist bots. In this regard, for scraping and other similar tasks on large web resources, a larger proxy pool will be required.
Also, take into account that many Russian-language sites block transitions from foreign proxies. It is better to use a mixed pool proxy, assembled from servers from different countries, including the CIS.
Also, when collecting a proxy pool, you need to take into account the type of required IP addresses:
In most cases, server proxy servers are able to successfully cope with tasks such as data scraping, SMM promotion through automated software, etc. The use of residential IP raises legal issues and problems associated with the use of people's personal networks for their own purposes.
Mobile proxies are very popular due to the fact that they imitate a real web user with a real mobile device as accurately as possible. Networks are more loyal to them and less often they are banned, so it is important to use mobile proxies in SMM, traffic arbitration, and other professional tasks.
The fourth factor in choosing the size of the proxy pool is the quality of the IP addresses. If these are data center servers, then their quality will be lower than that of residential or mobile, but the price is lower.
Speaking of quality, it is also important to understand the specifics of choosing between public, shared, and dedicated proxies. Let's consider their features:
Each of the four factors listed above affects the effectiveness of the proxy pool. If the proxy server pool is incorrectly configured, the project may fail, because the used proxies will most likely be blocked.
Choosing the right proxy servers is just the tip of the iceberg. It is much more difficult to manage them effectively.
If your goal is mass web action on an "industrial" scale, then buying a pool of IP addresses and routing site requests through them will not be enough. In the long term, proxies in use are 100% likely to be blocked and stop transmitting high-quality data.
Features of choice and settings of a proxy service through which you will manage proxy servers:
A mini-pool of 5-10 proxy servers is easy to manage, but mistakes in managing a network of 1000 servers can quickly lead to its collapse.
There are two main models of proxy pool management:
This is an economical option but at the same time the most resource-intensive one. It is suitable for those with a small budget but a lot of free time. It can also be relevant to already complete teams with suitable bandwidth, which will be able to effectively manage proxies.
This model will help you get rid of the basic problems and complexities associated with a proxy pool. This will allow you to focus on developing and configuring session management, determining the causes of blockages, adjusting bandwidth, and other strategic issues.
The first proxy found on the Internet, with a high probability, will not only not suit you in terms of technical characteristics, but it will not even work. Public servers are used by many users, so they often crash or are permanently deleted by whoever started them.
Below we will take a closer look at the selection processes, depending on why you need a proxy server.
To understand which proxy servers to choose, it is worth determining what you need proxy servers for. If they are necessary for simple tasks: simple web surfing, bypassing blocking on the site, or other need to visit a page with a different IP - publicly available free proxies will do.
For serious work on the Internet: scraping, SMM promotion, simultaneous management of several accounts on sites, and other similar tasks, you should use private types of proxies. Decide why you need proxy servers. If for professional tasks, then it is better to purchase paid personal servers.
What other points should you pay attention to when choosing private and public proxies:
You can consult your proxy provider for choosing the optimal server. It is better to entrust the selection of a proxy server for a specific task to experienced specialists.
After choosing the right mediation server, it remains to ensure that it is ready for effective use. How to check if the proxy is working:
Many proxy and online services have built-in proxy checkers that indicate the health of the proxy server.
Frequently asked questions
What is a proxy in simple terms?
A proxy server is a technical intermediary between a user's computer and the sites that he visits. It allows you to hide the user's real IP address and location, displaying their data instead. Due to this, you can bypass regional blocks, IP bans, and also solve many other professional tasks on the Internet.
What are private proxies?
These are the proxy servers that the supplier company issues to the user for individual use. They are protected by IP authorization or username and password, so strangers will not be able to connect to them.
For what purposes are proxies suitable?
What is an open access proxy server for (public/shared):
What is a private proxy server for:
To make the right choice, determine in advance, why you need a proxy server.
What protocols are supported?
There are three main protocols:
How to check if a proxy is working?
Having decided on where to get a proxy server, you can check the performance of suitable servers free through special online services. You can find them on the Internet for the corresponding search queries.
Does the proxy affect ping?
The proxy server affects the ping. When choosing a proxy, the provider usually specifies the value of this parameter, because the download speed directly depends on it. Before changing proxies, make sure the new server has a small ping. The optimal value is no higher than 30-40 ms.