Whether you are running a business that needs to boost security online or are an individual needing more control over your online activities, a functional and dependable proxy server is critical.
Still, finding the best proxy server to meet your needs is easier said than done. Sure, there are plenty of options on the market, but separating the best services from the ones to avoid is a daunting task. Even so, when you use a quality proxy service like oxylabs.io, you get a platform that covers all bases.
What does that mean? Well, in the following guide we will cover the main considerations you should make when choosing a reputable and useful proxy service.
What is a Proxy Server, and How Can One Help Your Business?
It is almost impossible to run a successful business these days without having an online presence. As company's increasingly digitize and turn to online resources in their everyday operations, staying secure and having complete access is crucial.
This is where a proxy server can help, acting as a bridge between a client (website or online service) and the destination (user computer). At its core, the proxy intermediary masks your IP address so you can access content across the web.
Businesses and individuals often need to access a wide selection of online sources, which may be locked by location or userbase. Using a proxy allows you to piggyback on another IP and access geo-restricted and other locked content.
Under normal circumstances, you are unable to access a geo-restricted site unless you come from an acceptable location. Using a proxy server changes your online fingerprint by changing your IP and requesting access to the website. This is why proxies are essential tools for businesses that engage in data scraping and competition analysis.
Furthermore, because your online activity is on another IP, it is more difficult for threat actors to conduct cyberattacks against you. That is why proxies are an important tool to add your online security arsenal.
Top 3 Important Criteria When Picking a Proxy Service Provider
After reading the benefits of a proxy service, you are probably already thinking about using one for your online activity. Before heading off, it is best to understand how to choose the best proxy service provider. Here are the three considerations you should be making when hunting for the best product.
- The Size of Their IP Pool
While most proxy service providers claim to offer a massive pool of available servers, the reality is a little different. In fact, you sometimes find you cannot find proxies for a specific location. If you need to visit online sites across multiple locations, you need access to as many servers as possible. Even if you don't, having more choices is still better.
As you might expect, some proxy service providers do a better job than others at offering a wide proxy pool. You are essentially looking for a platform that providers the greatest number of IP addresses because this gives you more chance of bypassing geo-restrictions. A smaller pool of IP addresses is more likely to be detected and blocked.
By picking a service provider with a large proxy pool, you have more flexibility. You can choose between multiple proxies in a single country, including city-specific IP locations. Needless to say, this provides much more freedom and access when you are online.
2. Reputation and Legitimacy
Cybercrime may seem like a buzzword sometimes, but there is no doubt we are in an era where threat actors can take down your whole organization with a precise digital attack. When selecting any online product, cybersecurity should be a top priority, and that includes a proxy service provider.
You should be choosing a provider that has a stellar reputation for security, transparency, customer care, and trustworthiness. Modern businesses are facing major security risks in the digital realm, so it is vital the proxy platform you choose can protect your organization.
There are checks you can do to see if a provider meets expectations for online security. One is to simply check independent user feedback and reviews. If the platform is unsafe, other users on forums and review sites will have spoken about it.
For something more concrete, a proxy service provider should adhere to regulatory guidelines like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standard. Also, a lot can be said for a well-known brand. By choosing a top-notch provider like oxylabs.io, the reputation and history of the provider is a good indicator that your business will be secure.
There are loads of free proxy service providers available, and some of them are solid. However, our recommendation is that you pay for a proxy service and not settle for a free version. Yes, it is tempting to pick up something for free, but there will always be compromises. Chief among them is the fact-free proxies are unreliable compared to a paid platform.
You will also lose anonymity using a free proxy provider, while online performance degrades because users share a proxy server. If you decide to settle for a free version, check online which of the available IP addresses are functioning. This step is unnecessary on a paid platform because all IP's come from legitimate sources.
Which leads us to the subject of pricing for paid proxy service providers. There are two types of proxy server typically available. Shared proxies are a cheaper option, but semi-dedicated or dedicated servers will provide more security and better performance… usually at a higher cost.
Most providers charge customers per GB which means the more traffic you send through the proxy service the more you pay. You can sometimes find providers offering unlimited traffic, but usually, these servers are slower than normal and prone to being blocked. Although, unlimited proxies are often cheaper because of these caveats.
Hunting for proxy service providers can get confusing because there are so many options available. It requires research and patience to find a server that matches your budget and expectations.
With the guide above, you can make an informed decision and look for important factors when selecting a proxy server provider. Of course, the criteria may change depending on your specific needs. Even so, the considerations above are quite universal and should be important no matter what you need from a proxy service provider. If you are specifically interested in IPv6 proxies, Earthweb has a good overview.