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What’s the Difference Between Public and Private Proxies?

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Last Updated on June 3, 2022

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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