From the moment you check your phone in the morning, you start leaving behind a trail of information. That’s because each device connected to the internet has a unique IP address, just like your car has a license plate and you have a home address.
So if someone wants to track your device or location, they just need to use your IP address. The question is, how to protect your IP and your online privacy?
Using proxy servers is one of the best and easiest ways to improve your privacy and remain anonymous online. But there’s so much more to proxies than that.
Let’s explain everything you need to know about proxy servers so you can start reaping the benefits of using them ASAP.
What Are Proxies?
Proxies are intermediary servers connecting you to an online source without revealing your identity. They have their own IP addresses, so they keep yours hidden. Basically, they use another IP address to send your request to an online source and receive the response on your behalf.
This is how you can visit websites and use online services anonymously. It’s like using a mask when visiting the target websites and services so no one can see who’s behind your requests. Since IP addresses identify the user’s location, hiding yours with proxies can also keep your location anonymous.
Shielding your online identity and location with proxies can be helpful in many situations, whether you’re a private or business user. But before we go into the benefits of using a good proxy service, let’s see how they work.
How Proxies Work?
Proxies handle your online traffic on behalf of you. They sit in front of a device or network of devices, forwarding requests and receiving and delivering responses from the target servers.
They receive your web or app request, modify it, and send it to the target server using their own IP address. Likewise, they receive the web or app response and forward it to your device so you can view or access the content you want. In other words, they function as a bridge between your internet-connected device and the website or service of your interest.
Throughout the entire forwarding process, they use their own IP addresses and keep your original one hidden. The next question is, where do their IP addresses come from? Well, the source of their IP addresses determines the proxy type – residential and datacenter.
Residential proxy servers have IP addresses assigned by real internet service providers and used by real people. This is why they are considered the most secure and trusted proxies, resembling the IPs of regular human users.
Datacenter proxy servers have IP addresses sourced from data centers or cloud services. Even though this makes them easier to detect than residential proxies, it also makes them faster and cheaper.
After learning the basics of proxy servers, it’s time to discuss their benefits.
What Are the Benefits of Using Proxies?
Using reliable proxies can increase your online freedom while protecting your online privacy. This makes them useful for almost everyone, from casual internet users like gamers or streamers to companies and enterprises interested in web scraping.
Let’s delve into the most significant advantages of using a good proxy service for both individuals and businesses.
- Increased anonymity
Using a proxy service conceals your IP address and location, letting you browse the web anonymously without being tracked. This way, you can hide your browsing activities at work, at home, or on the road.
- Increased privacy and security
By using proxies or other IP addresses for your online tasks, you can rest assured that no one can track your browsing history and sensitive information. This provides your device with an extra layer of security, keeping your data safe from prying eyes.
- Access to blocked resources
Reliable proxies can help you overcome IP blocks and geo-restrictions and access any website or content online from anywhere. That’s because the target server will see your proxy’s IP address instead of your own, allowing you to appear as someone else in a different physical location.
This way, you can get around geo-restrictions and access content unavailable in your country, whether that’s a streaming, gaming, or social media platform. At the same time, you can unblock websites and services at school or work.
- Saved bandwidth and improved speeds
A reliable proxy service can help minimize latency and improve overall network speed by distributing traffic between multiple servers. It ensures no single server is overwhelmed with traffic and makes more efficient use of network resources.
The proxy server’s ability to cache popular websites will help you, your organization, or your company save bandwidth and improve the network performance.
- Support for business use cases
Proxy servers are invaluable business tools that help you work efficiently and save time and money. By concealing your IP address and allowing you to use other IP addresses from various locations, they ensure efficient web scraping, web and app testing, SEO, market research, market analysis, etc.
- Safe and efficient usage of bots
Many bots or automation tools are banned on websites such as retail online stores, social media networks, and gaming platforms. Proxies can help you hide your bot by making your requests seem to be coming from multiple real users or IPs instead of a single IP or bot.
What to Look for When Choosing Proxies?
Not all proxy services are created equal, so it’s crucial that you pay attention to several factors when choosing one.
First, consider only trusty providers that sell reliable proxies and avoid free or public proxies at all costs. That’s because free proxy servers tend to be unreliable, unsafe, and frustratingly slow.
Second, find out the proxy sourcing methods of the company you have in mind. Ethical proxy sourcing is more important than ever, and providers like IPRoyal have built entire networks this way.
Third, look for dedicated or private proxies and avoid shared ones. That’s because dedicated proxy servers are allocated to a single user at a time. In contrast, shared ones are used by who knows how many people simultaneously, resulting in a slow, unreliable, and unsafe connection.
Fourth, make sure the proxies have the features you need. Some of the best features include flexible rotation options, rotating and sticky sessions, HTTP(S) and SOCKS5 support, high uptime, fast speeds, dual authentication, non-expiring bandwidth, unlimited threads, etc.
Finally, consider your budget, as you don’t want to end up paying more for a service you can’t afford.
Proxies come with many advantages for both private and business users. From improving your online privacy and security to bypassing geo-restrictions and efficient web scraping, proxy servers have various use cases.
Just make sure they come from a trusty provider that uses ethical proxy sourcing so you can rest assured they are reliable and safe.