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What is a Proxy List?

A proxy list is generally an extensive list of public HTTP/HTTPS/SOCKS proxy servers that are not password protected. Most often HTTP/HTTPS and SOCKS4/SOCKS5 proxies are kept in separate lists, and those lists must be tested with a proxy checker frequently. For many years it was hard to find proxies and they could really only be found by doing port scanning and other not-so-legal things, so owners of lists would usually keep them private and only share them for a good price. But recently, especially in the last decade, people have begun sharing proxy lists because there are so many more open proxies on the internet, you can find thousands of public proxy lists just by searching Google.

However, there are also premium paid lists of public proxies available online that will have open proxies that many other free lists will not include. These are often filled with proxy servers found some-what recently via port scanning or by other means such as the installation of freeware/malware on computers. Free lists easily found with Google, on the other hand, are generally just old proxies scraped from older proxy lists on Google search results and tested with a proxy checker before being uploaded as a new list. You can see why free proxy lists are often very stale and contain many dead or unstable public proxies. Premium public proxy lists are often far superior and will have much better proxy success rates. Check out Proxy-List.org to see a site selling access to a tested public proxy list.

If you are totally lost or just want to learn more about proxies go here. If you are not interested in public/open proxies and would like premium private proxies, check out any of the Proxy Providers listed on this site or use the Compare Pages to find just what you need!

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How to Use Proxies

Proxies seem pretty complicated but in reality they are simple to use. Most major web-browsers support the use of a proxy, as well as many other internet-based applications from internet-messaging apps to BitTorrent apps. There are even applications known as “proxifiers” that will allow you to use a proxy with software that doesn’t support proxies natively. Most software that has native proxy support will only support the use of one proxy at a time, however, there are also proxifier apps that allow you to use whole lists of proxies by either alternating use of the different proxies or by using different proxies for certain software applications.

First off, if you don’t know what a proxy is then you should probably read this article. But, to put it simply, a proxy server is just a remote computer that allows you to route certain internet traffic of yours through it. Proxies are different from VPNs because they only put specific software behind a proxy and not your whole computer, plus proxies have far less security and encryption – you can learn more about Proxies versus VPNs on this page. Generally, a proxy will be an IP address folowed by a colon with a port number and will look like this 123.123.123.123:8080 but with different numbers.

How To Use Proxies and Proxy Lists

What is a Proxy List?

Generally users of proxies use more than just one proxy, at least for free public proxy users this is true. Free public proxies are often unstable and could be up one minute and down the next minute. To thwart this, most free proxy users keep a list of their favorite free proxies on hand and then scan the proxy list with a “proxy checker” to find the ones currently working when they need a proxy.

However, in the last decade the use of proxies has grown enough that providers of private proxies offering premium proxies for rent have become more numerous and cheap. Most private proxy providers sell shared and dedicated proxies in packages of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and even higher. But there are also public proxy providers that sell lists of public proxies that are already checked and working, some lists contain over 5000 proxies!

Set Web-Browsers to Use a Proxy

The most common reason people use proxies is for web-browsing, and the most common way to use a proxy for your web-browser is by opening the browser’s settings and entering the proxy in the connection/proxy settings. When a web-browser is set to use a proxy all outgoing connections to websites through that browser will be routed through the proxy, effectively changing your IP address as far as those websites are concerned.

Chrome & IE Proxy Settings:
(Opens Native Windows/Mac Proxy Settings)

ChromeIEProxySettings-GetFastProxy
Chrome/IE – Native Windows Proxy Settings

Firefox Proxy Settings:

FirefoxProxySettings-GetFastProxy
Firefox Proxy Settings

For detailed instructions on how to set a proxy in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer check out the guides on the Proxy Resources page.

Set Non-Browser Apps to Use a Proxy

Other common programs that people use proxies for are IM apps like Skype and Telegram as well as BitTorrent apps like uTorrent an qBittorrent. There are lots of other applications that allow the use of proxies, not just on Windows but also Mac, iOS, Android, and of course Linux. If you have an app that does something on the internet then check the apps settings, chances are it may have native proxy support. The only exception here would be media-streaming apps, generally they frown upon the use of proxies and VPNs for concealing IP addresses so you generally won’t find proxy support features on streaming apps.

Skype Proxy Settings:

SkypeProxySettings-GetFastProxy
Skype Proxy Settings

Telegram Proxy Settings:

TelegramProxySettings-GetFastProxy
Telegram Proxy Settings

uTorrent Proxy Settings:

uTorrentProxySettings-GetFastProxy
uTorrent Proxy Settings

qBittorrent Proxy Settings:

qBittorrentProxySettings-GetFastProxy
qBittorrent Proxy Settings

Use a Proxifier for Total Proxy Control

Proxifiers are a great way to put software behind a proxy that doesn’t normally support proxies. Proxifiers are also great when using proxies for multiple programs and you don’t want the hassle of managing proxies through each program’s native proxy settings, which can be tedious. There are many proxifiers new and old, free and paid, and a good list of tem can be found at this wiki. The most popular ones are outlined below.

Proxifier

Proxifier has been around since 2004 and is one of the most used premium proxifiers for Windows and Mac, and they also have a portable version now as well. It has a built-in proxy checker, can proxify any program’s executable files, and supports chaining proxies together for extra security. Although Proxifier does not support proxy lists, it’s still one of the most used programs for using proxies with programs that do not support proxies natively. Proxifier costs $39.95 for a single license.

Elite Proxy Switcher Professional

Elite Proxy Switcher is a slightly different beast when it comes to proxifiers. It generally just works for Chrome/Firefox/IE browsers but it’s main feature is the ability to use proxy lists and auto-switch the proxy browsers are using on a timed interval between 1-999999 seconds. Along with the powerful built-in proxy checker, this auto-switching proxifier is very useful for all kinds of situations. There is a free version without certain proxy-checking features called Elite Proxy Switcher Free and a paid version for $39.95 called Elite Proxy Switcher Professional.

ProxyCap

ProxyCap is another long-time premium proxifier for Windows, Mac, and now Windows Mobile. ProxyCap has a built-in proxy checker and is probably the most well-versed proxifier of the bunch. It is able to handle all the major proxy protocols as well as being one of the only proxifiers to support HTTP GET and the only major proxifier to support SSH1 and SSH2 connections. ProxyCap costs $30.00 for a single license.

SocksCap64

SocksCap64 is a free Windows proxifier inspired by an older program named SocksCap that is now defunct. SocksCap64 supports all the major proxy protocols and has lots of other neat features not even found in some premium proxifiers. Visit the SocksCap64 website.

FreeCap and WideCap

FreeCap and WideCap are both free Windows proxifiers created by the same developer but no longer updated or maintained. Because they both still function and are free, they are still heavily used. Visit the FreeCap and WideCap websites.

Postern

Postern is the most popular free Android proxifier, it supports SOCKS5 and HTTP/HTTPS proxies. Visit Google Play Store for Postern.

How to Use Proxies: Conclusion

Using proxies is not that hard and doesn’t have to be tedious. Once you know what you are doing, and have the right tools at your disposal, proxies are a breeze.

Get scraping some free proxies off the web to try out, and when that no longer cuts it come back to GetFastProxy and find the best premium private proxies for your needs!

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The Three Proxy Anonymity Levels.

Almost every proxy software application and proxy list provider categorizes proxies into three different categories that depend on the anonymity level achieved by the proxy. Generally the proxy anonymity levels are descending from level 3 to 1. Proxy Servers in the Level 1 category provide the best possible level of anonymity that a proxy can have, and proxy servers in the Level 3 category provide the lowest amount of anonymity – none. Often these levels are named Transparent, Anonymous, and Elite/High-Anonymous from Level 3 to 1. Another variation of the naming scheme is Transparent, Distorting, and Anonymous.

They way proxy servers work is by taking a client’s request and forwarding to the remote server, and then forwarding the remote server’s response back to the client. While a proxy server is acting as middle-man and forwarding HTTP Requests between a client and another web-server, it may or may not be adding extra information to the request HTTP Headers that the target server is receiving. Depending on exactly what information the proxy server is including in it’s requests determines the level of the proxy anonymity. (Learn more about proxy servers and how a proxy works here.)

Transparent, Anonymous/Distorting, and Elite/High-Anonymous Proxies.

It’s worth noting here that some HTTP header fields are standard while some are not. Some HTTP header fields were created and meant to be used by certain organizations and companies, such as X-Forwarded-For HTTP header field that was introduced by Squid proxy server software. This will be mentioned again later!

Level 3 – Transparent Proxies

Transparent Proxies are Level 3 proxies that forward information detailing the use of a proxy and the client’s IP address, therefore they provide zero anonymity when used. Transparent proxies usually have the HTTP_VIA = header that may or may not expose a client’s real IP, a REMOTE_ADDR = header that also may or may not expose a client’s real IP, and most importantly an HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR = header that will definitely expose a client’s real IP address.

However, Transparent proxies are not completely useless. Just because they identify as a proxy and include a client’s IP address does not mean the server receiving the requests will look or care, so if using these proxies to get around a geo-block or ip-block then it may still work if the receiving server is not that strict. Plus, depending on the location of the transparent proxy server and the requested server, a transparent proxy acts similar to a caching proxy and can improve stability and speeds.

Level 2 – Anonymous/Distorting Proxies

Anonymous/Distorting Proxies in the Level 2 category, on the other hand, do provide a certain level of anonymity by only forwarding certain information that reveals itself as a proxy while not revealing the client’s IP address. For a proxy to be considered Anonymous, or distorting, an HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR = header or similar variation will be present that servers interpret as a proxy. However, there should not be the presence of an HTTP_VIA = header or any other header that reveals a client’s true IP Address, and a distorting proxy may even show a fake/bogus IP address. If any header includes a client’s real IP then the proxy is considered a level 3 Transparent Proxy, even if the header is custom and not used by many web servers.

Level 1 – Elite/High-Anonymous Proxies

Elite/High-Anonymous Proxies are the best type of proxies for providing a high level of anonymity. High-Anonymous, or Elite Proxies, do not reveal a client’s IP address through any HTTP headers and do not identify themselves as even being proxies. The only way a remote server can detect your true IP Address through an Elite/High-Anonymous proxy is to use a script on a web page to check your IP using JavaScript or Flash, which is why most proxy anonymity checking websites warn users to turn off Flash and JavaScript.

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What’s the Difference Between HTTP Proxies and SOCKS Proxies?

There are only two types of proxy protocols – HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) proxies and SOCKS (Secure Socket) proxies. Although they are similar in that they both route internet traffic through a remote server, they operate very differently from each other and because of that also have very different uses.

If you’re currently looking to buy proxies online, or have been using proxies from websites that provide them for free, you have no doubt noticed most proxy providers have HTTP or HTTPS Proxies and only a select few have SOCKS proxies. So what is the difference, and does it matter?

If all this HTTP and SOCKS talk is already too confusing, click here to learn more about what a proxy server actually does. Otherwise, continue reading below to have HTTP vs SOCKS proxies explained!

Understanding the HTTP Protocol and HTTP Requests

The industry standard for proxies is the HTTP protocol – that’s because the entire internet runs on the HTTP protocol and why every URL of a website begins with “http://” (even if modern web-browsers add that part for you these days). You see the HTTP protocol every day and probably just don’t notice it, or you even block it out completely because it’s second-nature by now.

The HTTP Protocol functionality works via a request-response basis on a client-server setup. Generally, the “client” in this scenario is a web-browser that sends out a request for information to a remote server. The client sends the “HTTP request” as a URL (Uniform Resource Locator). The “server” in this example will generally be a computer running a website-serving application known as a web-server, or some other web-based application. When the server receives the HTTP request from the client, it will send back whatever resources the client requested, which could be anything from an image, a document, or even a web page.

So when you open up a browser like Chrome and type in “google.com” in the URL bar, the browser adds “http://” to it and then sends an HTTP request to http://google.com servers requesting whatever it is they have for users at the “google.com” location, which is a web page. The HTTP protocol is how you are requesting the information, and the HTTP protocol is how it’s being sent back to you.

How HTTP and SOCKS Proxies Function Differently

How HTTP Proxies Function

HTTP Proxies were specifically designed with the HTTP protocol meant as their means of operation. HTTP Proxies were made to be used over the HTTP protocol to request and receive information within it’s limits while using the same network ports that the HTTP protocol uses.

Because of this, HTTP proxies are the most prevalent of the two kinds of proxies and are most often the kind people use.

How SOCKS Proxies Function

SOCKS proxies function differently than HTTP proxies, some refer to SOCKS proxies as operating on a “lower level”. Since HTTP were designed with the HTTP Protocol in mind, they are tailored to work with it, and only it. However, SOCKS proxies can work over any network protocol on any network port.

Basically, this means SOCKS proxies are more versatile and can be used by various applications.

HTTP Proxy Security Vs. SOCKS Proxy Security

HTTP Proxy Security Overview

Generally speaking, HTTP proxies are not as secure as SOCKS proxies. It doesn’t matter if the HTTP Proxy is public, private, dedicate, or shared – All HTTP Proxies are less secure than a SOCKS proxy.

Because HTTP Proxies are designed to operate on HTTP protocol connections, the “smarter” HTTP proxy server can see and understand any traffic being sent through it. Therefore, HTTP proxies are only as secure and private as the operator of the server wants them to be. An HTTP proxy provider could, potentially, track everything you do through their proxy server and submit logs to law enforcement or other government agencies.

However, and this is a big “however”, there is a thing called HTTPS proxies and the “S” stands for “Secure”. HTTPS proxies use the CONNECT method to make secure tunnels between a client and server.

SOCKS Proxy Security Overview

SOCKS proxies, on the other hand, being “dumb”, low-level, proxies can not interpret or even understand the data moving to or from the client and server.

Technically, SOCKS proxies make secure tunnels like HTTPS proxies, but SOCKS proxy tunnels are TCP/IP based and are just established via the proxy rather than operating through it. Instead of the proxy acting as a middle-man, the way HTTP proxies behave, SOCKS proxies make direct connections using a “handshake” for permission to open the secure tunnel.

SOCKS proxies come in two variations – SOCKS version 4 and SOCKS version 5. SOCKS5 is newer and has added support for UDP traffic and extra security, but for most uses a SOCKS4 will do fine.

Conclusion of HTTP Proxy and SOCKS Proxy Differences

Since SOCKS proxies and HTTP proxies run on the same kind of hardware, for the most part they have the same speeds and stability as each other. The main factor in both HTTP and SOCKS Proxy performance depends on who is hosting them, what kind of hardware they are running on, and how much bandwidth they have. If a crappy proxy provider hosts their HTTP proxies on mediocre servers with low bandwidth, chances are their SOCKS proxies will suck too. If a proxy provider is serious, their servers will be in high-tech data-centers with at least 100Mb to 1GB+ connections, and your HTTP/SOCKS proxy speeds and stability will only be hindered by how many people you are sharing proxy servers with.

There are two flavors of proxies sold online – shared and dedicated. Shared Proxies are proxies that are accessible by multiple users that the proxy provider is selling to, and Dedicated proxies are accessible by only one user. If you need constantly high-performing proxies, go with dedicated proxies. If you are using proxies to access websites and services that like to ban IP addresses that are abusive, go with dedicated proxies. If you just need to make lots of connections from different IP addresses, performance doesn’t really matter, and it’s okay if some IPs get blocked – then shared proxies are definitely the way to go. (Learn more about shared and dedicated proxies here.)

As for when to use HTTP proxies versus SOCKS proxies, it really depends on what the proxy is being used for. If you are using proxies in a web-browser to access websites, then HTTP proxies are right for you. If you are using proxies for applications other than web-browsers to access things on the web that aren’t websites, like game servers or torrenting, then SOCKS proxies are generally what you will need to use.

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What’s the Difference Between Shared and Dedicated Proxies?

To understand the differences between a shared proxy and a dedicated proxy, it must be clear what a proxy actually is. It will suffice to say that a proxy is basically a computer that allows other computers to make relayed, or indirect, network connections to other computers without a direct connection between the two. When a proxy client connects to a proxy server, it requests a connection, information, a file, or another resource, that is available on a different server. The proxy server then provides the client-requested resource by either connecting to the specified website, server, or even by serving it directly from a previously collected cache.

So – What Exactly is the Difference Between Shared and Dedicated Proxies?

What is a Shared Proxy?

Shared proxies are proxies that are shared by many people/customers all using the same IP address.

Shared Proxy PROs
  • The main advantage of shared proxies is a lower price. (Because the total cost of upkeep/maintenance is spread between many other proxy server clients, the proxy provider will sell them cheaper.)
Shared Proxy CONs
  • One disadvantage to shared proxies is the slow speed during peak hours and with popular websites… (Since most people generally use the internet and access the same websites around the same time, they will naturally be slowed down because of use.)
  • The main disadvantage of shared proxies is the higher possibility of an IP address being blacklisted by Google or some other site. (Getting blacklisted can happen because you or another shared proxy user using the same IP address have been abusive or malicious.)

What is a Dedicated Proxy?

A Dedicated proxy is a dedicated proxy and IP Address that is exclusive to one person/customer.

Dedicated Proxy PROs
  • The main advantage of a dedicated proxy is having the IP address and service all to yourself.
  • Speeds will always be consistently fast because there is only one user using the proxy at a time.
  • Dedicated proxies will last far longer, considering there will be no abusive behavior going on without the user’s knowledge.
  • Dedicated proxies protect your privacy and computer by concealing your IP address from everyone. (Without knowing your real IP address, it is much harder for a hacker to get access or install malicious software on your computer.)
Dedicated Proxy CONs
  • Price – Dedicated proxies can be 2-10x more expensive than shared proxies!

How to Choose Between Shared or Dedicated Proxies

Most Private Proxies being offered by reputable providers, whether Shared or Dedicated, will be high-anonymous so your personal information and location are never revealed.

Some proxy providers sell revolving lists that can be downloaded, or refreshed, weekly or monthly. Other proxy providers give customers a set of proxies and only change them as needed or when requested, customers may even be limited on how often they can have their proxies/IP changed. This is something to consider when choosing between dedicated or shared proxies.

That being said, the pricing of shared proxies versus dedicated proxies varies considerably and thus usually becomes the deciding factor for most people. However, it’s certain that dedicated proxies will always be more expensive than shared proxies. You pay for reliability and speed with dedicated proxies – with shared proxies you pay for quantity, not quality.

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What’s the Difference Between a Proxy and a VPN?

While so many security and anonymous-browsing services are being offered online it can be a pain to figure out which proxy or VPN option to choose, and which benefits each would provide. Proxies and VPNs will both re-route a user’s internet usage and effectively conceal their IP address, but proxies and VPNs actually function very differently from each other.

The usual reasons for using a VPN or Proxy is to hide the user’s information/identity from ISPs and their government for security and privacy reason, or in order to bypass a geographical limitation enforced by IP address. Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora are good examples of websites that can’t be used by many countries outside of the United States.

Although a proxy and VPN can both perform this very similar function of changing a user’s IP address, the actual processes involved for each are very different which makes them both have different uses and limitations. Hopefully this article will clear up the questions most people end up asking when trying to decide on a Proxy or VPN which are “what is the difference between a proxy and VPN?”, and more specifically, “Should I use an full featured VPN or will a simpler Proxy do the trick?”.

What is the Difference Between a Proxy and a VPN Service?

What is a Proxy?

Think of a proxy as relay that your web browser, or another specific program, routes it’s internet traffic through. While accessing the internet through a proxy the user’s security, anonymity, and even speed can be enhanced along with the bonus ability to choose a desired geographic location. However, the main problem with beginners and proxies is having to learn how to set up a computer’s programs and browsers to use the proxies.

Proxies are program-based and internet traffic is only sent through them by programs and web-browsers specifically setup to use their settings. Proxy server settings are usually input directly in your web-browser, or web-related program, no matter if you are using Firefox, IE/Edge, Chrome, Safari, or some other web browser/program. Some older browsers and programs may not have a proxy server option, though.

Some good news to keep in mind is that most serious proxy providers have started offering tools for Windows, Linux, Mac, and even Android and iOS that will automatically configure certain web-browsers to use their proxy servers. Also, premium software and browser plugins can also be found and bought that will allow a user automatically send traffic from any program through multiple proxies – often times from a simple list of proxies.

Proxy PROs

  • Proxies are Cheap and easily found for free.
  • Proxies will hide your IP from simple tests/logging and are good for using some geo restricted websites and services
  • SOCKS proxies can handle any kind of internet traffic (including torrents).
  • HTTPS (SSL) proxies are roughly equal to 128-bit encryption.

Proxy CONs

  • HTTP/HTTPS Proxies are generally only useful for accessing websites.
  • Sneaky use of JS, Flash, and other scripts allow websites to detect true IP even with some proxies.
  • HTTP/SOCKS proxy traffic is not encrypted -ISP and government can monitor what users do. HTTPS (SSL) proxies cannot be monitors but IP addresses can be logged.
  • SOCKS proxies are slower than HTTP proxies.
  • Each web browser/software must be configured individually to use the proxy servers.

What is VPN?

A VPN, also known as a Virtual Private Network, service provider encrypts all of your computer or network’s traffic, skipping over your ISP’s servers and routing all traffic directly to the VPN server with high enough encryption that even most governments would be kept out from snooping. Think of a VPN as a long imaginary ethernet cord that your computer or router connects directly to the VPN server with for internet use.

A VPN works with all internet-based services and programs. Everything the machines connected to the VPN do over the internet will be routed directly through the VPN Server, so as long as you trust your VPN provider then you can consider your privacy and information 100% safe!

Most VPN Providers have proprietary or open-source software for Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS that will allow for seamlessly using their VPN Servers. Unlike proxies, there are no fancy premium software or plugins that you would ever need to enjoy the full benefits. However, if wanting to put your whole network behind a VPN, you would have to invest in a VPN Router or possibly consider flashing your current router to DD-WRT/Tomato to gain the ability if able.

VPN PROs

  • VPN Internet activity cannot be spied on by ISPs or governments.
  • VPNs have high levels of 128-bit to 2048-bit encryption.
  • All VPN internet activity masked once VPN set up on device or router.
  • Some VPNs offer some kind of proxy service to go with their regular VPN service.

VPN CONs

  • VPNs are more expensive than proxies and rarely free.
  • VPNs can be a bit slow during peak usage times of day.
  • If VPN provider keeps logs then these may be obtained by the authorities.

Proxy versus VPN Conclusion

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of VPN and Proxy services to choose from.

A VPN is pretty much superior in all ways to proxies when it comes to security and anonymity. VPNs provide vastly greater encryption and can do a much better job protecting a user’s entire internet activity and usage. If staying anonymous and secure when you browse online, shop, or use other services – a VPN is the way to go.

While proxies with HTTPS encryption can provide a decent amount of security and privacy, a proxy is generally the better choice when a user has multiple programs or browsers that need to have different IP addresses and/or geo-locations all at the same time. Most proxy users are web-scraping, game-botting, and users trying to get around geo-location limits.

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What’s the Difference Between Public and Private Proxies?

Proxy Servers are intermediaries, or middle-men, that are used by people and companies when browsing or working on the internet. Simply speaking, a proxy behaves like a buffer in between the internet and your computer. Proxy Servers allow anonymous usage of the web and can hide the IP address of its user.

An anonymous proxy also helps protect and conceal your location while web-browsing shopping, playing games, and even working online. If blocked from playing specific games or using certain websites because of geographical location, a proxy server can help get around those limitations.

When considering using a proxy, users should know the main differences of proxies and choose from them depending on the intended use, level of anonymity desired, and allowed budget.

Public and private proxies differ in many ways – Here is what needs to be understood when deciding to use proxies:

Differences Between Public and Private Proxies

Summary of a Public Proxy
A public proxy is a proxy that can be connected to freely by multiple people and computers, instead of just a single user or client. Public proxies generally have no username and password authentication. However, there are public proxies that do have username and password authentication but the username and password is made to be easily obtainable to the public, therefore it is still a public proxy.

Sometimes public proxies are hosted by companies and people out of the goodness of their hearts. More often, public proxies are up and running because of a network misconfiguration or because of malware that users do not even know their machines have been infected with! Because of this, security cannot be guaranteed with public proxy servers; although public proxy servers can do a great job of hiding IP addresses, the proxy servers themselves may be logging online activity and information for their own use.

Public Proxy PROs:
  • Public Proxies are usually free!
  • Public Proxy lists can easily be found on the internet.
  • Public Proxies can be found at locations all over the world.
  • Public Proxies are good when you only need them once, or for a short time.
Public Proxy CONs:
  • Public Proxies are usually slow.
  • Public Proxies are unstable and can go down at any time.
  • Public Proxies are often blocked by major websites like Google.
  • Public Proxies can be less secure/anonymous depending how they are set up.
  • Public Proxies can be unsafe if the server is logging its clients information for malicious intent

Summary of a Private Proxy
A Private Proxy is a proxy that can be connected to only by one user or client. Private Proxies usually have either username/password authentication or are authenticated using the IP Address of the user/client trying to access the proxy.

Private proxies hide IP addresses and deliver fully anonymous surfing on the internet. It is important to remember that web users leave a digital footprint in the form of IP addresses when using the web. This means that almost anyone with a bit of network-know-how can see what a user has been doing online, including hackers and spammers. Using a private proxy server almost guarantees a user’s IP address will be invisible. Plus, most private proxy providers do not log traffic or information and only keep short logs of client IP Addresses in the case of a crime.

Private Proxy PROs:
  • Private Proxies are usually fast!
  • Private Proxies are generally stable.
  • Private Proxies are the most safe and secure proxies.
  • Private Proxies have less chance of being banned by websites.
Private Proxy CONs:
  • Private Proxies almost always cost money.
  • Private Proxies are a bit harder to find in certain countries/locations.

Choosing Between Public and Private Proxies

Prоtесtіng privacy and реrѕоnаl іnfоrmаtіоn should always be of the highest priority. With the use of a рrоxу’s IP аddrеѕѕ instead of your actual IP аddrеѕѕ users are capable of connecting to other websites and servers without revealing any personal information. Public proxies are usually free of charge, but is anything really free in this world? Should personal information be trusted with publicly accessible and highly visible public proxies? Probably not.

If peace of mind is the goal, a private proxy should be used to safely and anonymously be on the World Wide Web.

Note: People often refer to public proxies as “shared proxies”, but this is only partially correct – A Shared Proxy usually refers to a Private Proxy that is shared by a select few users/clients.
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What Exactly is a Proxy, or Proxy Server?

What is a Proxy?

A proxy, also called a proxy server, is simply another computer which acts as a hub that internet based requests are processed through. By linking through these kinds of servers, your computer transmits your requests to the proxy server first, which then processes your request and returns whatever reply your request was asking for. In doing this, a proxy functions as a middle-man between your local-home computer and the rest of the computers on the internet. Proxies are used with multiple objectives in mine such as accessing IP address blocked web-services, getting past geographic restrictions, as well as allow anonymity whenever surfing the web.

Here is Wikipedia’s definition of a “Proxy Server”:

In computer networks, a proxy server is a server (a computer system or an application) that acts as an intermediary for requests from clients seeking resources from other servers. A client connects to the proxy server, requesting some service, such as a file, connection, web page, or other resource available from a different server and the proxy server evaluates the request as a way to simplify and control its complexity. Proxies were invented to add structure and encapsulation to distributed systems. Today, most proxies are web proxies, facilitating access to content on the World Wide Web and providing anonymity.

What-Exactly-is-a-Proxy-GetFastProxy
What Exactly is a Proxy Image

Why Use a Proxy Server?

If you want to browse the web anonymously, then proxies can provide you with a way to conceal your local IP address from the remainder of the web. By connecting to the web through proxies, the home IP address of your computer will never be shown and the IP address of the proxy will be displayed instead. This will ensure that you get additional safety than if you had been just connecting straight to websites and services on the internet. There are a vast amount of proxy providers that can give you an awesome proxy service. There are some proxies which are free and some that charge money, the choice is up to you, but it’s common knowledge that the premium paid proxies are more stable, faster and more secure.

The Two Different Proxy Protocols:

HTTP(S) Proxies

HTTP Proxies are the most common proxy, and they operate on the HTTP Protocol. Because HTTP Proxies operate on the HTTP protocol and can understand the data being transferred through them, they are considered “High-Level” or “Smart” proxies. HTTP Proxies with the CONNECT ability which allows them to establish secure tunnels are referred to as HTTPS Proxies.

SOCKS4/5 Proxies

SOCKS Proxies are the older and less common proxy protocol. SOCKS proxies are TCP/IP based and therefore can not understand the data being passed through them, and are therefore called “Dumb” or “Low-Level” proxies. There are two versions of SOCKS proxies, SOCKS4 version and SOCKS5 version. SOCKS4 is the older of the two versions, SOCKS5 is newer and has more security features.

To learn more about the different proxy protocols, click here.

Here are the Four Main Types of Proxies:

Transparent Proxies

This kind of proxy reveals itself as a proxy server and also makes the original IP address apparent via the http headers. These are usually utilized for their ability to cache data and do not effectively give any anonymity to those who use them. Although, the use of a transparent proxy will bypass simple IP bans. They are called transparent because your IP address is transparent.

Anonymous Proxies

This type of proxy reveals itself as a proxy server, but does not make the user’s original IP address available. This type of proxy server is detectable, but provides decent anonymity for most people.

Distorting Proxies

This kind of proxy reveals itself as a proxy server, but reveals a bogus originating IP address apparent via the http headers. They are generally considered the same level of anonymity as an Anonymous proxy.

Elite/High-Anonymous Proxies

This kind of proxy does not proclaim itself as a proxy server and does not make available the originating IP address.

To learn more about the different levels of proxy anonymity, click here.

What a Proxy is, TLDR

So, in closing, a proxy is just another computer that your internet traffic is tunneled through. By sending your internet through a tunnel to another computer, the IP address of the proxy server is what websites will see instead of your real home IP address. There are different levels of “being anonymous” that proxies can provide, and some applications and software might need a different type of proxy than the one used for browsing websites. 👍