What are Proxies and why you would want to use them?

You have always been interested in proxy servers — and who wouldn’t be. Imagine being able to collect data to improve your marketing strategies and also manage to keep your business safe from intruders. This speaks volumes of what proxies are bringing to the table.

While this is just a short introduction to proxies, I have learned a lot about them from oxylabs blog, which has a vast amount of information on anything proxy and web scraping related.

What are Proxy Servers?

In general, proxy servers allow you to establish an indirect network connection to different locations and services via your mobile phone or PC.

Proxy servers are, and always will be a subject matter amongst enthusiasts. Some are discussing online asking the question “what are proxies,” since there are different types out there. Others are busy seeking ways to maximize their benefits for their business.

As a business entity, a proxy server provides you with enhanced security, can prevent your employees from accessing questionable websites, amongst other things. There are different types of proxy servers, and a few are listed below.

Types of Proxy Servers

Residential Proxy

Residential proxy is an IP address assigned from an ISP to a homeowner. When you set up the internet in your home, your connection will be provided with an IP address. Visit a site like whatismyip.com, and you’ll have your IP address displayed like 111.22.33.444 or 11.22.33.444, other details associated will also be revealed—your location and ISP name. If you connected via a proxy, the public information would be that of the residence the IP is used at.

Data Center Proxy

A data center proxy does not belong to an ISP and can act as a “wall” between you and someone trying to access your IP via the web. The intruder will only see your data center proxy address and the associated information of the company that owns the data center. The data center proxy is a way to mask your real IP address—but it cannot replace a residential IP.

Now, let’s take it a step further into the world of proxies—to clarify the question “what are proxies.” Further information on proxies reveals they can be private, semi-private, or shared.

Kinds of Proxy Servers

Shared Proxy

A shared proxy can provide a connection to the internet for many people all at the same time. What it means is that other end users will also have access to the same proxy servers as you do. Shared proxies tend to fall short regarding overall performance, with other potential risks too, like bad neighbor effect and slow response time.

Semi-dedicated Proxy

A semi-dedicated proxy is a higher level proxy to a shared proxy. It is still shared, but only several users have access to it, offering you an improved performance when compared to a shared proxy. Still, while performance is better, it doesn’t compare to a fully private proxy.

Private Proxy

A private proxy is used by one user only, and it is also known as a dedicated proxy. Private proxy anonymizes the user while providing private IP authentication and a superior overall performance level.

Businesses use proxy service for different purposes; it could be for collecting data anonymously to gain a competitive edge or enhance security levels. Regardless of the purpose, you’ll always want a reliable proxy service for your business success.

Use Cases of a Proxy Service

Businesses are continually researching the best ways to move to the frontlines of whatever niche they find themselves in – web scraping tends to be one of the most effective methods for that. Imagine what would happen if you have some essential facts about your competitor regarding the same product that you are offering as well.

You could offer better pricing or introduce some other things to beat the competition. So that is one of the benefits of web scraping. However, to do that effectively, you will need to use a proxy.

The two main benefits of using proxies for web scraping are:

1. Hiding your IP address from your target website;

2. Beat the incoming traffic limit on the target site.

Using proxies for web scraping benefits your business in that it hides your IP. The target site will perceive the request as being from the IP address of the proxy server. Instead of banning your businesses IP for sending too many requests – it sees different IPs accessing their website, like normal traffic.

Web scraping is an essential practice to search and leverage relevant data when it comes to the market research strategy. Web scraping is also an integral part of business components as well as lead generation, brand protection, and online presence, etc.

Another use case of proxy in business is that it minimizes the chances of a data breach. You’ll get an extra layer of security for your servers; they also act as an excellent buffer.

Security officers, whistleblowers, and reporters count on proxies for protection – for their companies, clients and even sources. Whatever the research and development of your team are carrying out, proxies can add that extra protection you need.

In a highly competitive business environment, you need an undue advantage. Leveraging the benefits of proxies for business – especially for web scraping – puts you ahead of your competition, placing in your hands the opportunity to grab a more substantial portion of the market.

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