Like any other service, you are bound to come across multiple service providers when choosing a proxy server. Granted, many use superlatives and various adjectives to market themselves, but, in some cases, the product speaks for itself.
So, if you are looking for a proxy service provider, how do you distinguish real from fake? How do you choose a proxy service provider? This article answers these questions quite extensively. Read on for this insight. But first, what is a proxy?
A proxy, also known as a proxy server, is an intermediary found midway (figuratively) between your computer and the internet. A proxy intercepts your computer’s communication with web servers and alters the identity of the web requests.
Naturally, to access a website, your browser sends web requests to the web server, which then sends the content requested. A proxy intercepts these web requests, hides your computer’s IP address – which is usually part of the requests – and subsequently assigns the requests a new IP address before sending them to the webserver. Simply put, the intermediary acts on your computer’s behalf, thereby adding security, privacy, and anonymity.
The fact that proxies assign a new IP address to the requests your web browser sends to web servers makes them an ideal addition to web scraping.
Web scraping is a process that entails harvesting data from websites. When extracting these data, you can opt for either the manual or automated route. The former involves copying data from a site and pasting it elsewhere, while the latter is preferred when you intend to access large volumes of data from multiple websites.
However, automated web scraping is not as smooth as it sounds. Websites have measures in place to stop scraping efforts. Web developers include anti-scraping tools, e.g., IP blocking, CAPTCHAs, log-in and sign-in requirements, and honeytraps, among others, for this very purpose. Fortunately, proxies can bypass one of these restrictions.
Because proxy servers assign your web requests a new IP address, it becomes impossible for websites to block your real IP address. In fact, rotating proxy servers – a type of proxy – assigns each web request a unique IP address. Alternatively, other rotating proxies operating on a different assignment session change the given IP address after some time. These operating principles make rotating proxies the preferred type whenever web data extraction is the objective.
With that being said, not all providers add anonymity, privacy, security, and reliability to a user’s browsing experience. For this reason, you should know beforehand what to look for in a proxy service provider so as not to fall prey to those that cannot deliver.
When looking for a reliable proxy service provider, you should answer the following questions:
Are they a legitimate business?
What is their IP network pool?
Do they offer their services for free or at a fee?
If it is a paid service, what is their pricing?
For what purpose will you use the proxy server?
Legitimate businesses are registered in various jurisdictions and must abide by the legal requirements therein. Thus, if an issue arises with their services (e.g., privacy), they are liable and compelled by law to remedy it. Simply put, with legitimate businesses, you are protected, unlike if you dealt with random people on the internet.
Your service provider must have a vast IP network pool with IP addresses from different countries. Such a pool will enable you to access content from various countries, thereby bypassing geo-restrictions. For example, essay writers at https://www.assignmentholic.co.uk/our-services/assignment/ offers over 102 million IP proxy pool, and these numbers are truly one of the largest in the market.
Indeed, a free service could be tempting, especially because you get to save a few coins. However, this comes at a cost. Free proxies are shared among many users. The resultant shared bandwidth slows down the connection speeds. As if that’s not enough, the risk of being hacked is high, and the shared IP addresses are easily blocked due to just a single user’s shortcomings. These reasons make paid proxies the better option.
According to Topbritishessays, always keep in mind that pricing varies based on the type of proxy you’re using. Residential proxies, for example, are very expensive. Also, dedicated/private proxies are costlier than shared proxies. In this regard, you should stay away from cheap dedicated proxies because there’s a high chance that they are shared proxies.
The scope of the project and exact use should guide your choice. For instance, if you intend to use a proxy to access geo-blocked content, a service provider with a wide IP network would be ideal. Alternatively, if you wish to extract data from websites, you should choose a fast proxy that changes the assigned IP address frequently.
All in all, choosing the right proxy service provider determines whether you will accomplish the task you had.