What is a Proxy Service?

A proxy service is a company that owns multiple IP subnets and offers access to them on a commercial basis, in other words it leases out proxies.

The total number of IP addresses to which such a proxy service has access is called an IP pool. With the many companies that offer proxy servers, it can be difficult to find the right provider. To make the right decision, you should understand the main types of proxy services.

What types of proxy services are there?

There are different types of proxy services, which determine the level of efficiency and the cost of the service:

Services that offer free proxy lists. Here the user only needs to copy one of the IP addresses given in the corresponding list into his browser settings. The big problem here is security, because almost none of these “free servers” reliably hides the IP address of the user. In addition, many servers of this type are offline („dead Proxies“), they use the insecure HTTP procedure and process the HTML code of websites, which can lead to the spread of advertising and malware.
Services that provide access to proxies hosted by data centres. This is the most common proxy service. IP addresses of servers in data centres (or data centre hosted proxies) are popular mainly because of their speed, which allows many users to complete their tasks before they are discovered by websites.
Residential proxies. These are IP addresses of private homes, which you can use to forward your requests via the “home network”. These IP addresses are more difficult to obtain, making them considerably more expensive than data centre proxy server addresses. The use of such IPs raises legal and compliance issues because they use private networks of individuals.
Mobile proxies. These are IP addresses of private mobile devices. Obtaining IP addresses from mobile devices is quite difficult, which is why they are among the most expensive proxies. For most web scraping projects, mobile IP addresses are not required unless you want to analyse the results displayed to mobile users. These proxies pose even more complex legal and authorisation problems, as the owner of the device often does not fully recognise that you are using his GSM network.

Why would you need Proxies?

If you work in a large SEO research company where many computers use the same IP address for keyword analysis, website analysis and other SEO operations, search engines may misinterpret your repeated and relentless visits to the same web address.

This access, which is interpreted as a unusual activity, can lead to you being blacklisted by search engines, i.e. blocked. This risk can be avoided by using a proxy server.

The different purposes of using proxy servers can be divided into several groups:

  • Anonymisation: You can hide your IP address via a proxy server so that other members of the network can only see the address and location of the proxy server.
  • Filtering: Proxies can also use filters to evaluate incoming requests and thus allow only certain types of requests to pass. This is often the case in corporate networks that block certain services, such as file sharing or gaming websites.
  • Caching: Data is temporarily stored in a cache by a proxy server in order to be able to process duplicate requests faster. For example, if a client regularly requests the same document, it can be accessed directly by the proxy without having to connect to the actual target server. This often saves bandwidth and money.

In order to choose the most suitable proxy service for you, you should clearly know your destination. You can find more information about the different types of proxies in the 3rd part of our knowledge base.

Previous How Do Proxy Servers Work?
Table of Contents