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General Tech

Understanding Proxies in Less Than 5 Minutes

Proxies sound complicated but they’re actually based on a very simple concept – using the internet securely and anonymously by connecting through a proxy server. Using a proxy lets you conceal your actual IP address, thereby protecting your privacy and preventing site and app limitations related to geo-locking and account linking. Of course, in today’s world of hacking and data breaches, it’s understandable that people would want the ability to browse the web anonymously and utilize multiple accounts without fear of damaging their privacy or reputation. In the following overview, we’ll cover the most popular types of proxies and how you can choose the best proxy provider:

What is a Proxy?

The word “proxy” in this context is actually referring to a proxy server, which is a web server that hosts IP addresses. When you buy proxies or pay for access to a proxy network, you’re given access to proxy server details (IP addresses) that you can enter into the proxy settings window of a browser or app to connect to the internet through that proxy. Simply put, anytime you need access to new IP addresses, proxies are the preferred solution.

Proxy Types

The performance and reliability of a proxy will depend on its type. Here are the four main types that are widely available:

1. Dedicated Proxies

Dedicated proxies are only accessed by one user at a time, which makes them more secure for long-term use. These proxies are often static (the IP address doesn’t change), so each proxy can be associated with an account or profile. These are the safest to use when you want to ensure that no other person has recently used the same IP on the same platform you’re using.

dedicated server
2. Shared Proxies

Shared proxies are cheaper (sometimes even free) but because they’re so widely used, they’re also less reliable. Although some shared proxy networks provide acceptable performance for anonymous browsing, these proxies aren’t usually recommended for serious business or marketing purposes.

3. Residential Proxies

Residential proxies provide the benefit of being IP addresses that are issued by regional Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Many sites and apps employ algorithmic filters that can recognize certain kinds of proxies. Residential proxies tend to pass through these filters because they’re legitimate ISP-provisioned IP addresses. Residential proxies are ideal for verifying geo-targeted ad content and unlocking geo-locked content (pages that are only shown to IP addresses from certain regions).

4. Data Center Proxies

Data center proxies offer excellent performance because the proxy servers are housed in state-of-the-art managed facilities with extensive bandwidth capabilities. Thus, these are some of the best proxies to use when speed and reliability are primary concerns.

How to Choose a Proxy Provider

Aside from the type of proxy, it’s also important to examine the reputation of the proxy provider. Every residential proxy server will not provide the same performance, so conducting a comparison is still a smart thing to do. Check out reviews on sites like and look for features like IP pool size, performance benchmarks, bandwidth limitations, and proven success rates on specific platforms like Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram.

Proxy servers are easy to understand when you have the facts, but do some research before you choose a provider.

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