Even though we live in the digital age of the internet, many users are still not aware of how the web works. Usually, users don’t share a single thought about how that content is being delivered online and what exactly happens when they send a request to see some content on the net. Of course, some tech-savvy users are well-aware of how the mechanisms of the internetwork and even use a proxy server to access the web without any disturbances.
Since the internet has become one of the essential things in the world today, let’s talk about the irreplaceable role of proxies in the grand scheme of digital things.
What makes proxies valuable
When an internet user goes online and sends a request to see specific content, they send a HTTP request directly to the site. The requested website returns the request back to the user, granting them access to the content they were looking for.
However, during this communication between the user and the website, their IP address and location are disclosed. Since a proxy is practically an intermediary between you and the internet, it has the power to reroute your requests and provide you with the wanted content without disclosing your IP, location, or any personal information.
Different types of proxies have different features, but their most significant strength is the many servers worldwide. It allows proxies to reach content in geo-restricted locations, bypass various website security and anti-scraping mechanisms, and so much more.
Because of such properties, proxies are vital to businesses because they provide increased online security, privacy, anonymity, HTTP header manipulation, etc.
How companies use them
Proxies are easy to use, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Businesses are very fond of proxies as they provide many great benefits – the first one would be improved security. Proxies protect companies by ensuring an additional layer of security between their servers and all external traffic.
They are an excellent security mechanism for preventing data breaches and third-party tracking. Next on the list is bypassing geo-restrictions. Since most businesses utilize web scraping mechanisms to get their hands on competitive data, that data is sometimes blocked or protected by geo-restrictions.
Proxies can hide the user’s IP, change the location, and grant them access to restricted content. Proxies also ensure much faster internet speeds and bandwidth savings by blocking ads, caching web files and pages, compressing traffic, etc.
For many e-commerce businesses, maximum uptime is the only way to get ahead of the competition curve. Proxies can balance all traffic and ensure that your servers don’t crash. Reduce downtime and slow page loading speeds by using proxies with cloud data storage and peering.
Key features to consider when looking for proxies
If you’re interested in buying proxies, you must consider some key features before you make a purchasing decision. The type of proxy is probably the most important thing to look into. Here are some of the most important things to know before you buy.
Types of proxies
There are many different types of proxies, and choosing from such a wide range may be confusing, especially for those new to proxies. Here are the main types of proxies to look into:
- Rotating proxy – provides multiple IPs, a perfect choice for web scraping.
- Dedicated proxy – reserved for only one user, provides a range of IPs and can bypass anti-scraping mechanisms.
- Residential proxy – provides a genuine, real IP, businesses use them for web crawling and data scraping.
- Datacenter proxy – an excellent choice for businesses that need unprecedented bandwidth and low latency.
- HTTP proxy – perfect for businesses that need control over HTTP requests and responses, overall traffic and content, cookie filtering, and more.
Paid vs. free
Since there are paid and free proxies at your disposal, you can always try a free solution, but you should know that there are certain risks associated with using free proxy service:
- Selling traffic
- Malware infection
- Traffic monitoring and tracking and private data collection
- Third-party advertising
On the other hand, paying for a proxy service allows you to tap into some benefits:
- Customer service
- Speed and security
- A range of different types of proxies
Free proxies aren’t that private, fast, or reliable. If you need them to bypass restrictions and scrape the web for valuable data, you won’t get what you were hoping for. Paid proxies, on the other hand, have everything you need and more.
Pricing is another thing you should pay attention to. Different proxy types vary in price and features they offer. Look for a proxy service provider with the most features that suit your business needs and the most affordable prices. Certain proxy providers also offer additional services and features, including certain free proxies. Do some research on the top-rated providers to see what your options are. For example, you can start your research by checking the oxylabs.io website.
Assess your needs
Before you decide to buy a proxy, you need to think about your needs. If you need a proxy for web scraping only, look into providers that offer rotating proxies. If you need a proxy service for ensuring faster load times and maximum uptime, datacenter proxies are the best choice.
How the dashboard looks
One of the best things about proxies is the ease of use. Modern proxies are almost fully automated and come with a user-friendly interface. You can include this feature in your search for a perfect proxy. See how the user dashboard looks. If it provides what you need, you’ve found yourself a perfect proxy.
In the internet age, proxies play a crucial role for every internet user, residential or corporate. They can help achieve different goals and provide the necessary privacy, security, and anonymity that every internet user needs today.