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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 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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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 “” in the URL bar, the browser adds “http://” to it and then sends an HTTP request to servers requesting whatever it is they have for users at the “” 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 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 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.


  • 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.