The Different Proxy Server Types Explained

When people talk about proxy servers, the first thing that comes to mind is a service that allows users to go online anonymously, but the truth is not all proxy servers provide this service, and it is not the main principle behind the concept. At the base level, a proxy service is a server that acts as a middle point between your pc and the Internet, making requests in place of your actual computer. Proxy servers are separated into two types, transparent and anonymous, based on how said request is made.

Below are the differnet proxy server types.

Transparent Proxies

A transparent proxy, as the name implies, is a proxy server that forwards your request to the destination without concealing or masking any of the information. This type of proxy is usually found in office networks, where there is no need to hide the IP address of a PC, since all the PCs in the network are safe. Transparent proxies are just used as central points of communication for all PCs in a network, and are not really the type of proxy that people have in mind when they shop for proxy server access online.

Anonymous Proxies

Anonymous Proxies hide the information that passes through it, usually used to hide the IP address of the PC that is using said server. This is very useful for secure communications, particularly with government agencies or large companies that don’t want their precious data to be stolen by malicious individuals. It can also be useful for normal users like us, as it protects us against hackers who snoop around for potential victims through IP addresses.

Highly Anonymous Proxies

There’s another type of anonymous proxy called Highly Anonymous Proxy. The main difference with this one is the fact that aside from hiding your IP, it also hides its presence so that the destination wouldn’t know that you are hiding behind a proxy. To them, you’re just accessing their server directly, and the IP that shows up will look like a personal IP Address instead of the obviously proxy IPs provided by anonymous proxies.

Socks 4 and Socks 5 Proxies

Socks 4 and Socks 5 are Internet protocols that are used for DNS lookup services and UDP Communication. Some proxy servers offer both protocols to their clients, since there is no actual cost difference between the two.

Which proxy server type should I use?

It really depends upon your needs and budget. Of course, if you want the highest security and function money can buy, you should go with high anonymous proxies. As there really isn’t any reason not to go with it, outside of price. If you don’t need to hide the fact that you are using a proxy, and just want to hide your IP address, then you’ll appreciate the much cheaper Anonymous proxy server.

Proxy Servers: Shared Vs Dedicated Proxies

When people are shopping for proxy services, one of the things that they find themselves thinking of is whether to go with a company that provides shared proxies or one that offers dedicated proxies. One can rest assured that a paid proxy is secure, so people don’t normally think about that part of the advertisement, the proxies being shared or dedicated, however, weighs in heavily during the decision making stage.

Between a shared and a dedicated proxy server, the deciding factor usually consists of budget and intended use, but if you want to know the specific differences, read on:

What is a Shared Proxy?

As the name implies, a shared proxy server is a proxy that is shared by many users. The main advantage of this is that the cost of maintaining the server can be spread out across many users, which means a shared proxy server costs a lot less, and the savings can be passed on to the subscribers by way of lower subscription fees and/or extra features. On the other hand, shared proxy servers have disadvantages that make up for the low costs:

1. The speeds of shared proxies are being shared by all the users, so you may end up getting slow speeds during peak hours, when many users are using the service at the same time.
2. All users of shared proxies are basically using IP Addresses from the same pool, and if there’s a user who abused the proxy, resulting in a ban from a website, you will end up being blacklisted from the site as well.

What is a Dedicated Proxy?

A dedicated proxy, as the name signifies, is a proxy server that is exclusive to the subscriber assigned to the account. The main advantage of a dedicated proxy is the fact that you have the entire service to yourself, which means fast speeds that will not change even during peak hours. You also get to use the service for whatever you like, without worrying about other subscribers abusing the proxy. A large number of dedicated proxies also give you the freedom to choose IP Addresses, as well as the location that will show up in your IP.

On the other hand, a Dedicated Proxy Server is very expensive compared to a shared one, because the service provider can’t spread out the upkeep cost over several users.

Shared or Dedicated?

At the end of the day, a shared and dedicated proxy will have its own strengths and weaknesses, but will server their own purposes as they both fit the needs of different people with different needs. Those who are short on budget have no choice but to be content with a shared proxy, but those with money to spare and a need for exclusive usage will want a dedicated proxy.