Proxy Servers, or Proxies, are intermediary servers that help obtain internet data on users’ behalf. It essentially acts as a gateway between users and the internet. Depending on how they are used, proxy servers can provide different levels of functionality and security.
Usually, when a device requests a website, the device reveals its IP address to the webserver to get a response containing the website data. This means each time the device visits a website, the device also submits its IP address to access the website.
Using a proxy server essentially acts as a buffer between the device and the web server. Instead of the device using its IP address, the Proxy Server uses its IP address to send the request, ensuring the actual IP address of the device stays anonymous.
Now that we’ve answered the most common question, “what are proxies”, let’s discuss further its uses, benefits, and a few provider options.
Who Uses Proxy Servers
Most organizations or companies who have access to the internet use proxies for a multitude of reasons. The most common and obvious reason for having proxy servers is security. A properly configured proxy server can help encrypt online business transactions. This ensures sensitive business information stays safe and secured without fear of malicious hacking.
Individuals who use proxies for personal use tend to use them for both security and privacy. Parents for example would set up proxies to monitor their children’s internet activity. Others use it to alter their IP address and other identifiable information. This helps protect personal data and keep internet browsing more private.
Benefits of Using Proxy Servers
There is a multitude of reasons why many choose to use proxy servers in their web browsing.
As stated earlier, the most common reason people use proxies is for security. Using proxies acts as an additional firewall between your devices and the internet. This helps mask sensitive information from hackers such as the user’s IP address.
Privacy is also another reason to make use of proxies. Proxy server configuration can provide encryption to all of the user’s data being transferred from their device to the internet and vice-versa. This ensures internet browsing is secure with a certain degree of anonymity. Since one is accessing the internet via a proxy server, activity can’t be traced to the user’s actual IP address and location.
Another good reason for using proxies is access to restricted content. Many content streaming sites, such as Netflix, contain content that is region restricted. The use of proxies allows users to bypass such restrictions and access such content.
How to Use Proxies
The easiest way for one to access proxy servers is to access the settings of your preferred web browser.
For Google Chrome:
- Open the settings of your Chrome Browser
- Click ‘Advanced’
- Select ‘System’
- Select Open Proxy Settings
- Click ‘Manual Proxy Setup’
- Check the ‘Use a Proxy Server’ Option
- Enter The Proxy Address and Port
- Click ‘Save’
For Mozilla Firefox:
- Open the settings of your Firefox Browser
- Search for ‘Network Settings’, then click ‘Settings…’
- Click on ‘Connection Settings’
- Select ‘Manual Proxy Configuration’
- Enter Proxy Details
- Click OK
Keep in mind that one must have the details of the Proxy Server to be used, such as the Proxy IP Address, as an example.
Where Do I Get Reliable Proxy Servers
Here are a few examples where one can get access to reliable, high-quality Proxy Servers and Services.
SquidProxies is a solid choice for those looking to integrate proxies into their business. SquidProxies are well known in the US for their high-quality proxies that scale reasonably with any business, from small to large scale operations. Their main attraction, so to speak, is their Private Proxies Plan. This type provides users with proxies that no other users can use. They also provide custom proxies, where users can send specific requirements for SquidProxies to fulfill. It’s also essential to note that SquidProxies only offer HTTP/HTTPs private proxies.
Another option would be OxyLabs. OxyLabs boasts a plethora of products from residential proxies to SOCK5 proxies.Due to the sheer number of features their products contain, it is easy for those who aren’t familiar with proxies to be utterly confused about how to navigate their services.
Another thing to keep note of is that Oxylab prices are a bit steeper compared to their other contemporaries. Oxylabs may not be the best choice for small-scale businesses or those who want a simple interface to weave through. However, those who are patient and require large-scale optimization for their proxies will find Oxylabs a good solution..
For Personal Use:
InstantProxies is a great choice for those looking for a reliable private proxy provider. Relatively well-known within the proxy market, InstantProxies provides quality proxies for those who are on a budget. They are also known for their straightforward interface and ease of use.
Despite their low prices, the services provided are still relatively high quality even compared to other high-end proxy providers. There are a few downsides such as the absence of a free trial or lack of support for SMTP Emailing, but otherwise is a very solid choice for those looking for an affordable proxy service alternative for personal use.
Alongside the other cheaper alternatives stands Proxy Seller, another proxy provider based in the US. One other unique feature they provide is the ability to choose from different internet protocol versions and HTTP/HTTPS/SOCKS proxies.
In terms of quality, they are pretty much on par with other proxy services and a good choice for personal use.