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What is a proxy? Everything you need to know

Simply put, a proxy is an intermediary between the internet user and the server.

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In networking and web traffic, proxies are becoming more and more important. Chances are, you have seen several people make shout outs to their proxy providers and wondered who they were and how they can help you too. If you are still in a bit of a dilemma about what they are, how they can help you, and it is really worth it to pay for proxies, we will provide the most important information you need. 

Definition of proxy

Simply put, a proxy is an intermediary between the internet user and the server. These intermediaries can be in the form of physical devices or artificially created IP addresses. Different types of hardware and software are used to configure proxies, creating different types of proxies. While anyone can use a free proxy, the best ones are the ones you pay for. 

Types of Proxies 

The following are the major types of proxies:

Residential Proxies: These are basically IP addresses of real, physical devices. They are considered the best proxies for most uses since they appear as normal users to all servers, making them extremely difficult to detect. They make access to data easy and straightforward. 

Datacenter Proxies: These are IP addresses that are non-physical and created at datacenters. Hundreds of these artificial IP addresses can be hosted in a single server but they will all share the IP subnetwork of the host server. They will look similar and prone to detection. 

Private Proxies: These proxies can only be used by one user at the time. The name is loosely used by many providers and there are some that refer to them as dedicated servers even though they are not. They normally require authentication before clients can access them. 

Dedicated Proxies: Describes a proxy that is not shared. They are used by one user at the time, and this eliminates the possibilities of the IP address being blocked as a result of overuse. 

Shared Proxies: These are the types of proxies that can be used by several clients at a time. They are usually the cheapest proxies as many users split the cost, read more https://proxyway.com/shared-proxies.

Public Proxies: These are the proxies that anyone can access anytime. They are normally free and considered the most unreliable of all. There are public proxies that are set up by hackers to steal important information. 

Free Proxy vs. Paid Proxy 

The argument of free proxy vs. paid proxy is one that will continue to reoccur. As mentioned earlier, there are free proxies available to anyone who cares to use. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you use paid proxies. 

Why should you pay when there are free proxies? This is basically because providers of free proxy lists online are still making money through various means that harm your browsing experience.

Dangers of Using Free Proxies 

Here are some of the dangers you will be exposed to when you use free proxies:

False Information 

According to Wired, free proxy services are not safe. In fact, there is a high risk of getting false information when you are using a free proxy. Many sites have manipulative techniques they use to provide false data to clients connecting through proxies. 

Data Leaks 

Free proxy is prone to data leaks. Since they are hardly protected, it is easy for some important information that can hurt you/your organization to leak through the unsecured network. 

Slow Loading Time 

It is a known fact that using free proxy normally results in extremely slow loading time. Since you can’t really complain about a free service, the experience can be terrible always. 

Intrusive Advertisements 

Providers of online free proxy lists mostly depend on an advert to make money. You will have no control over their crazy amount of ads. 

Some Providers Have Malicious Intents 

Some providers of free proxy lists are scammers and organizations interested in stealing your information. Some notorious government agencies use it for spying purposes too. 

Above are some of the disadvantages of using free proxies and why paying for proxies may be worth it. Proxies are super-helpful in different areas of networking and web traffic. Whatever you need it for, it is important you avoid free proxies as they come with serious dangers. 

Likewise, it is better to choose a reliable provider that offers proxies that are hard to detect or ban.  Since there is a large number of proxy providers out there, a good step while choosing the best one for you is to consider the most important purpose you want to use the proxy for (for example, web scraping), as well as the added services it offers and the amount of usage per month it offers at a given price. Ensure that your proxy provider has a wider coverage, a vast pool of proxies, and offers dedicated and fast support. By choosing a reputable provider, you can derive the best value for your money when you pay for proxies.

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