A proxy, in the simplest of terms, is a connection or corridor between you and the internet. It merely acts as a middle man to allow you to browse whatever you want to.
For instance, if you are using a proxy server, when you are interacting with an internet address, you are basically working with the said proxy server. This, in turn, then interacts with the internet address or website to complete the process. Apart from that, there are several security requirements and functionalities involved in using proxy servers.
So, why do we need a proxy server at all? Why can’t we work directly with the website through our internet service provider? The fact of the matter is the proxies provide a layer of protection to keep the IP addresses secure. This could act as a firewall or a web filter. It comes in especially handy when you intend to carry out web scraping ideas on the site.
Data Center Proxies and Residential Proxies
Datacenter proxies basically are not related or associated with any internet service provider. This is a private proxy that is provided by a secondary proxy corporation. The advantage here is that this proxy maintains cent percent anonymity and privacy of the users. Private IP authentication is the primary feature here.
More often than not, the users buy these data center proxies in bulk and so that you have an entire range of IP addresses to work with. Fast response times are another benefit for the data center proxies. It can also mask your location to give you a free internet browsing environment.
Residential proxies, on the other hand, differ from the data center proxies in the sense that internet service providers provide them. This, as the name suggests, is specific to a particular location. So, why opt for residential proxies? Principally, these are provided by an ISP. This indicates to the website that this is an authentic proxy and thus is never blocked by the addresses. This ensures complete anonymity. Data scraping and data harvesting are popular activities with residential proxies.
Proxies can also be classified as shared or dedicated as well. This classification is slightly different from the previous kind. But, the idea is simple. Multiple users generally use shared proxies all at the same time. More often than not, these can deal with most online tasks requiring a masked IP address.
However, these also can be a little slow owing to the heavy usage simultaneously. On the other hand, we have private proxies that are dedicated to a particular user alone. Using a dedicated proxy means you derive all the benefits from it. This would include high speed, quick response times, high levels of anonymity, and the likes.
As compared to the shared counterpart, these are a little more expensive but can tackle browsing activities of higher complexity.
To balance efficiency and the costs involved, shared proxies might be one of the most convenient options here. Not only do they mask the identity of the IP address well, but they also come at pretty low prices. Along with that, they provide optimized speed levels for internet browsing. If the information provided wasn’t enough check out oxylabs blog – they talk about so much more than just shared proxies.
Considering that your requirement is mainly for normal browsing activities on the internet, shared proxies provide sufficient efficiency.
As compared to private proxies, shared proxies do not drill a hole in your pockets!
Shared proxies find their applications in web scraping. They can work with a number of different scraping technologies to extract large volumes of information without being blocked by the target website. The sites will not be able to figure out or point at one user. Hence, multiple scraping activities, especially in a business environment, can be accomplished with web scraping.
Although shared proxies are great and all, they have their own limitations too:
Since a shared proxy is a shared resource between various users, there are privacy concerns associated with their usage. Further, the freely available shared proxies can also hoodwink you to unsafe websites, thus adding to your trouble.
As a lot of users tend to use a shared proxy at the same time, this degrades their performance. It might take hours to scrape a single page, thus interfering with your productivity.
Use Cases of Shared Proxies
Shared proxies can be used in multiple ways on the internet. For instance, they find their applications in scraping basic information or prices from an online portal. One example would be extracting flight prices from a website.
Another suitable example would be ad verification using shared proxies. These can effectively compare ads displayed in different countries to get the best results. This could be a good test to understand the authenticity of ads and distinguishing them from the fake ads.
For a typical business environment, shared proxies are pretty sufficient to conduct its internet operations. However, if you are looking to get into more complex web scraping methods, then shared proxies do have their limits. They might slow down your internet connectivity, and also leak your confidential data such as the IP address to the attackers. This is when private proxies get the brownie points and meet the requirements securely and swiftly.