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Guide of Proxies

What Are The Different Types of Proxies and Their Uses—A Comprehensive Guide

Jason Grad
Proxy Network Manager
June 24, 2024

Proxy servers can greatly enhance your internet experience. They improve privacy, boost security, and expand online freedom. For businesses, they make tasks like web scraping and social media management much more efficient by avoiding detection and bans.

However, to reap these benefits, choosing the right type of proxy is crucial. While residential proxies are a popular choice, there are many other options available, each differing in IP usage, traffic handling, and anonymity.

Understanding how different proxies work is essential to picking the right one for your needs. This knowledge ensures you get the most out of your proxy service. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about residential proxies and other types of proxy servers, helping you make an informed decision!

<p><strong>Table of Contents</strong></p>

<p><a href="#understanding-proxies">Understanding Proxies</a></p>
<ul><p><a href="#IP-sourced">Types of Proxies Based on Source</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#residential-proxies">Residential Proxies</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#datacenter-proxies">Datacenter Proxies</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#isp-proxies">ISP Proxies</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#mobile-proxies">Mobile Proxies</a></p>

<p><a href="#proxy-types-based-on-service">Proxy Types Based on Service</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#public-proxies">Public Proxies</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#shared-proxies">Shared Proxies</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#private-proxies">Private Proxies</a></p>
<p><a href="#proxy-types-based-on-anonymity">Proxy Types Based on Anonymity</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#transparent-proxies">Transparent Proxies</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#anonymous-proxies">Anonymous Proxies</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#elite-proxies">Elite Proxies</a></p>

<p><a href="#proxy-types-based-on-rotation">Proxy Types Based on Rotation</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#static-proxies">Static Proxies</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#rotating-proxies">Rotating Proxies</a></p>

<p><a href="#proxy-types-based-on-protocol">Types of Proxies Based on Protocol</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#http-proxies">HTTP Proxies</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#https-proxies">HTTPS Proxies</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#socks-proxies">SOCKS Proxies</a></p>

<ul><p><a href="#socks5-proxies">SOCKS5 Proxies</a></p>

<p><a href="#choosing-the-right-proxy">Choosing The Right Proxy</a></p>

<h2 id="understanding-proxies">Understanding Proxies</h2>

Let's start with the basics: what exactly is a proxy? In simple terms, a proxy server acts as a middleman (the 'intermediary') that integrates and adapts all incoming and outgoing traffic requests and responses between you and another network, such as the Internet.

recreate a similar diagram

<h2 id="IP-sourced">Types of Proxies Based on IP Source</h3>

Proxy servers assign users with new IP addresses. These IP addresses can come from different sources, and this distinction determines the type of proxies based on the IP source. Here are the most frequent types of proxy servers based on source:

<h3 id="residential-proxies">Residential Proxies</h3>

Residential proxies are a type of proxy network that use real IP addresses from physical devices around the world. These IPs are supplied by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and are obtained when physical devices of real residential users share access to their Wi-Fi or cellular connections. Residential proxy IP addresses provide a higher level of legitimacy by mimicking the IP addresses of actual users. As a result, these proxies have the highest trust score, making them the most secure and trustworthy proxy option available.

Residential proxy servers are  ideal for activities requiring a low detection risk, such as e-commerce scraping, AI training, tracking prices, SERP monitoring, and more.

<h3 id="datacenter-proxies">Datacenter Proxies</h3>

Datacenter proxies are obtained from data centers rather than ISPs. They could also be provided by cloud services. These proxies help you stay anonymous and are commonly used for things like web scraping, ad verification, and bypassing geo-restrictions. They are usually cheaper and faster than other types of proxies.

However, websites can detect and block them more easily because this type of proxy server doesn’t come from legitimate Internet Service Providers (ISPs)—meaning not from real humans using web browsers and real devices. As a result, sessions and their IPs are easily flagged and identified.

<h3 id="isp-proxies">ISP Proxies</h3>

ISP proxies combine the benefits of residential and datacenter proxies. They are sourced from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) but hosted in datacenters, giving them the appearance of residential IPs for better anonymity while providing the high speeds of datacenter proxies. These proxies are typically more economical and effective for handling large numbers of concurrent connections on sites with low to medium blocking mechanisms. They are ideal for high-traffic tasks like large-scale web scraping and ad verification.

Ultimately, proxy providers offering ISP proxies have essentially disguised datacenter proxies as authentic residential proxy IPs.

<h3 id="mobile-proxies">Mobile Proxies</h3>

These proxies use IP addresses assigned by cellular networks (3G, 4G, 5G) to mobile devices, making them highly anonymous and effective for mobile-specific applications. These proxies are popular for tasks such as mobile app testing, mobile ad verification, and mobile gaming. By simulating real user behavior, they provide access to mobile-specific content and are favored by social media users.

Mobile proxies hide the source IP behind a network of cellular IPs, so when a desktop user sends a request through a mobile proxy, it appears as though the request originated from a mobile device. This high level of anonymity is ensured because mobile IPs are dynamically assigned by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and can be recognized as residential IPs.

Despite being difficult to track, these proxies are also the most expensive, often leased or sold to third-party providers. Their applications extend to real user experience testing and other high-security needs, making them indispensable for various mobile-oriented tasks.

Here's a quick table on the key differences of these proxies:

<table class="GeneratedTable">
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Proxy Type</th>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Authenticity</th>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Speed</th>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Price</th>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">IP Rotation</th>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Residential</th>
       <td>High (real user IPs from ISPs)</td>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Datacenter</th>
       <td>Low (IP addresses from datacenters)</td>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">ISP</th>
       <td>Moderate-High (IPs from ISPs but hosted in datacenters)</td>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Mobile</th>
       <td>Very High (IPs from cellular networks)</td>
       <td>Very High</td>
       <td>Yes (dynamically assigned)</td>

<h2 id="proxy-types-based-on-service">Proxy Types Based on Service</h2>

Proxies are also classified based on the number of users sharing the same IP. An IP address can be used by a single person or shared by multliple users. There are various proxy providers, offering different levels of service, some of which are free while others paid.

(to be recreated for Massive)

<h3 id="public-proxies">Public Proxies</h3>

Public proxies are free proxy servers accessible to any internet user. They are cheaper and slower than dedicated proxies because their resources are shared among multiple users simultaneously. Due to this shared nature, public proxies are typically unreliable and slow. They provide minimal privacy and pose significant security risks, offering no real security online.

<h3 id="private-proxies">Private Proxies</h3>

Private proxies, also known as dedicated proxies, are far more reliable, fast, and secure than free public proxies. These proxies are assigned to a single user, ensuring optimal performance, privacy, and control. They are ideal for sensitive tasks that require secure transactions. Companies providing private proxies offer additional features, services, and customer support. With complete control over usage, private proxies offer the best performance and privacy online, justifying their higher prices.

<h3 id="shared-proxies">Shared Proxies</h3>

Shared proxies are a budget-friendly option shared among a limited number of users. They offer better reliability and security than public proxies. While not free, shared proxies are regularly updated and monitored for uptime and performance, making them a reliable and cost-effective choice for users needing dependable proxy services. So if you do not need a higher level of anonymity and speed, a shared proxy server is your best choice.

<h2 id="proxy-types-based-on-anonymity">Proxy Types Based on Anonymity</h2>

What's the primary reason people use a proxy server? For anonymity! Not all proxy servers offer the same level of anonymity. Proxies can be classified based on how they handle requests and the level of anonymity they provide. Regardless of location and traffic flow, a proxy can forward all header information exactly as read from a request, forward only a portion of it, remove the proxy's header information, or intentionally alter the header to look different. Here are the three main proxy types based on anonymity:

<h3 id="transparent-proxies">Transparent Proxies (Level 3)</h3>

Transparent proxies do not hide the real IP address of the user and provide no anonymity. They advertise themselves as proxy servers by showing their IP in the Via header and passing the original IP address in the X-Forwarded-For header. These proxies do not modify request headers and can be easily detected by the target server. Transparent proxies are mainly used for caching, content filtering, and faster website retrieval.

<h3 id="anonymous-proxies">Anonymous Proxies (Level 2)</h3>

Anonymous proxies hide your IP address but reveal that a proxy is being used. They offer some level of anonymity, making them suitable for general web browsing. An anonymous proxy provides a moderate level of privacy protection.

<h3 id="elite-proxies">Elite Proxies (level 1)</h3>

Elite proxies offer the highest level of anonymity, hiding your IP address and the fact that you are using a proxy. They are ideal for accessing restricted content and performing activities that require a high level of privacy. High anonymity proxies ensure that the target server cannot detect proxy usage.

<table class="GeneratedTable">
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Proxy Type</th>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Ability to Hide User’s Real IP Address</th>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Level of Anonymity</th>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Modification of Request Headers</th>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Use Cases</th>
       <td style="background-color: #f7f8fd;"><strong>Elite Proxy</strong></td>
       <td>Modifies headers to remove all traces of proxy</td>
       <td>Sensitive tasks, secure transactions, maximum anonymity</td>
       <td style="background-color: #f7f8fd;"><strong>Anonymous Proxy</strong></td>
       <td>Modifies headers to remove user's IP but reveals proxy usage</td>
       <td>General browsing, bypassing geo-restrictions</td>
       <td style="background-color: #f7f8fd;"><strong>Transparent Proxy</strong></td>
       <td>Does not modify headers, reveals user’s IP and proxy usage</td>
       <td>Caching, content filtering, faster website retrieval</td>

<h2 id="proxy-types-based-on-rotation">Types of Proxies Based on Rotation</h2>
Some proxies have IP addresses that rotate, while others have static IPs that never change. Therefore, they can be either rotating or static, and here is some information about each type:

<h3 id="static-proxies">Static Proxies</h3>

Static proxies maintain the same IP address, making them appear as real users. They are suitable for tasks requiring a consistent online identity, such as social media management. Depending on the provider, they can be shared or dedicated, with dedicated proxies offering better privacy and performance.

<h3 id="rotating-proxies">Rotating Proxies</h3>

Rotating proxy servers are the types of proxies that change their IP addresses periodically or after each request. They are ideal for web scraping and other activities requiring frequent IP changes. Rotating residential proxies provide added security and help avoid detection.

<table class="GeneratedTable">
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Feature</th>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Static Proxies</th>
       <th style="background-color: #f7f8fd;">Rotating Proxies</th>
       <td style="background-color: #f7f8fd;"><strong>Security</strong></td>
       <td>Easier to be blocked</td>
       <td>Increased security by rotating IP addresses</td>
       <td style="background-color: #f7f8fd;"><strong>Stability</strong></td>
       <td>Stable connection</td>
       <td>Possible network disruptions</td>
       <td style="background-color: #f7f8fd;"><strong>Pricing</strong></td>
       <td>More expensive</td>
       <td>Less expensive</td>

<h2 id="proxy-types-based-on-protocol">Types of Proxies Based on Protocol</h2>

Proxy servers can use several internet protocols to receive and forward client connection requests. Here are the main types of proxies based on the protocol they support.

SSL server: an example of an application-based proxy.

<h3 id="http-proxies">HTTP Proxies</h3>

HTTP proxies handle HTTP requests and are used for web browsing, caching, and content filtering. They support the HTTP protocol, which is widely used for web traffic. HTTP proxies can also serve as a forward proxy server, directing client requests to web servers.

<h3 id="https-proxies">HTTPS Proxies</h3>

HTTPS proxies, also known as SSL proxies, handle encrypted HTTPS traffic. They provide additional security features and are used to secure web browsing and protect sensitive data. The SSL protocol ensures encrypted data transmission between the proxy user and the web server.

<h3 id="socks-proxies">SOCKS Proxies</h3>

SOCKS (Socket Secure) proxies operate at a lower level than HTTP proxies and can handle various types of network traffic. They are versatile and used for activities like torrenting, gaming, and accessing restricted networks.

<h3 id="socks5-proxies">SOCKS5 Proxies</h3>

SOCKS5 proxies are an advanced version of SOCKS proxy servers, supporting both TCP and UDP connections. They are the type of proxies that offer high versatility, flexibility, and speed, making them suitable for bypassing geo-restrictions, live calling, and streaming.

A quick comparison table between SOCKS and HTTP Proxies

Proxies operate at the application level, granting them an exceptional degree of flexibility by intercepting requests and responses, allowing any network protocol to be protected, improved, or simplified. The proxy servers mentioned above are just some of types of proxy servers based on protocol. You may also enounter proxies based on application or protocol such as DNS Proxy, SMTP Proxy, FTP Proxy, TOR Onion Proxy, and SEO Proxy.

<h2 id="choosing-the-right-proxy">So... What type of proxy is right for you?</h2>

The ideal proxy type depends on your specific use case and budget. Residential proxy servers are best for protected websites and localized data. Datacenter proxies are affordable proxy servers and suitable for less sophisticated targets. Rotating proxies are great for web scraping and SEO, while a static proxy works well for social media management and banking. HTTP(S) proxies are best for web scraping, and SOCKS proxies are more versatile.

We know, it can be quite overwhelming, but now that you've learned the different types of proxies from this guide, it's time that you choose the right proxy provider for your personal or business use. Massive offers a 100% ethically-sourced residential proxy network to scale your data collection with market-leading performance and pricing. If you're in search for a reliable proxy provider to help your business succeed, reach out to us!

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