Internet Technology

How to Choose the Best Proxy Provider for Your Needs

A web proxy provider allows anonymous browsing and the ability to hide a user’s IP address. This is useful considering the number of ways in which websites and internet providers monitor browsing activity. A web proxy is the best way to stay under the radar and conceal data from hackers and third parties.

Choose the Best Proxy Provider

Residential proxies provide many benefits, including security and anonymity online, but the question is which one to select. Web proxies have become more popular, and there are many on the market to choose from. The first step is to learn about different kinds of proxies, what they do, how they work, and distinct advantages and drawbacks.

Getting to Know Proxies

A proxy is an intermediate server between the user’s PC and the internet. There are several categories of proxies, including residential and datacenter proxies. Residential proxies are issued by an internet service provider and are associated with a specific geographical location. These locations can be traced through particular IP addresses.

This is why proxies are useful in the first place–so users can mask their IP addresses. Residential proxies provide a decoy IP address that is linked to a particular location but hides the user’s actual address.

Residential proxies can either be static or rotating. Static residential proxies stay connected to a single IP address, whereas rotating residential proxies may move from one IP address to another.

Datacenter proxies are not issued by an internet service provider and are not linked to a user’s location. Datacenter proxies may seem versatile since they are not connected to addresses or ISPs.

However, the drawback to data center proxies is that websites can detect them easily because they are not associated with an ISP and tend to block them since they are often detectible as proxies.

So which proxies are the best choice? The following are some guidelines to keep in mind.

What Are You Using It for?

Those who want to bypass geo-restrictions and see unique content, such as a movie on Netflix or Hulu that is out of the reach of a user’s IP address, are familiar with VPNs.

Datacenter proxies and VPNs effectively mask the user’s IP address from websites that place restrictions on content. The user only needs to set the IP address to another region and start streaming videos or reading articles that would otherwise not be available due to copyright.

However, if the aim of disguising an IP address is to perform web scraping on websites, a residential proxy is needed. Although retrieving publicly displayed information is not against the law, websites often place red flags on visitors who perform many activities on their sites.

Web crawling, downloads, and scraping will alert the website to a large amount of activity, and the IP address could get banned.

That is why either using rotating residential IPs or several static residential proxies to handle large jobs is preferable to using a datacenter proxy or a VPN, which will disguise an IP address, but under scrutiny, maybe discernible as a proxy.

Reliable Brands and Customer Support

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous parties want to provide proxies for the wrong reasons. Many of these are free items that are meant to capture information or bombard users with advertisements. It is essential not just to use any kind of web proxy but to search for reliable brands.

GeoSurf, Luminati, and Oxylabs are examples of proxies that have a good reputation and will not misuse information. They have a large customer base and a strong reputation for customer support.

It is essential to have support, so no web activities are interrupted. Having representatives available 24-7 ensures that browsing can continue anytime without compromising security.

Geo-Location Coverage

For gaining access to geo-restricted content, it is essential to check if the web proxy will provide an IP address in the permitted area. Before purchasing a proxy service, examine carefully the selection of countries and cities covered.

Think about all of the potential places that may have content that is needed for business and personal use and select accordingly.

Cost vs. Success Rate

Free web proxies may seem tempting until the service sells data or becomes unusable because of the sheer number of ads. Similarly, very cheap web proxies may seem to provide advantages at first glance, but in the end, the savings may be illusory.

When looking at the cost of a VPN, compare it to the success rate. The cheapest VPN service has only a 10% success rate, and in real terms, it is almost ten times more expensive than a service that works nearly all of the time without fail. Paying a modest fee for a decent web proxy service is worthwhile.

Which Proxy is Best

Of the residential proxy services on the market, GeoSurf is highly rated with significant customer satisfaction, reliable features, and attentive customer service. However, they are other residential proxy services that also provide value.

Consider what the proxy will be used for, and that will provide a clue to which one is the right choice. Keep in mind that for large tasks, like web scraping, any interruption in service can delay a task, so a high-quality web proxy service is essential.

About the author

Efrat Vulfsons

Efrat Vulfsons is the Co-Founder of PR Soprano and a data-driven marketing enthusiast, parallel to her soprano opera singing career. Efrat holds a B.F.A from the Jerusalem Music Academy in Opera Performance.