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What is a Proxy Server? How It Works & How to Use It | Fortinet
What Is a Proxy Server?
A proxy server provides a gateway between users and the internet. It is a server, referred to as an “intermediary” because it goes between end-users and the web pages they visit online.
When a computer connects to the internet, it uses an IP address. This is similar to your home’s street address, telling incoming data where to go and marking outgoing data with a return address for other devices to authenticate. A proxy server is essentially a computer on the internet that has an IP address of its own.
Proxy Servers and Network Security
Proxies provide a valuable layer of security for your computer. They can be set up as web filters or firewalls, protecting your computer from internet threats like malware.
This extra security is also valuable when coupled with a secure web gateway or other email security products. This way, you can filter traffic according to its level of safety or how much traffic your network—or individual computers—can handle.
How to use a proxy? Some people use proxies for personal purposes, such as hiding their location while watching movies online, for example. For a company, however, they can be used to accomplish several key tasks such as:
Secure employees’ internet activity from people trying to snoop on them
Balance internet traffic to prevent crashes
Control the websites employees and staff access in the office
Save bandwidth by caching files or compressing incoming traffic
How a Proxy Works
Because a proxy server has its own IP address, it acts as a go-between for a computer and the internet. Your computer knows this address, and when you send a request on the internet, it is routed to the proxy, which then gets the response from the web server and forwards the data from the page to your computer’s browser, like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge
How to Get a Proxy
There are hardware and software versions. Hardware connections sit between your network and the internet, where they get, send, and forward data from the web. Software proxies are typically hosted by a provider or reside in the cloud. You download and install an application on your computer that facilitates interaction with the proxy.
Often, a software proxy can be obtained for a monthly fee. Sometimes, they are free. The free versions tend to offer users fewer addresses and may only cover a few devices, while the paid proxies can meet the demands of a business with many devices.
How Is the Server Set Up?
To get started with a proxy server, you have to configure it in your computer, device, or network. Each operating system has its own setup procedures, so check the steps required for your computer or network.
In most cases, however, setup means using an automatic configuration script. If you want to do it manually, there will be options to enter the IP address and the appropriate port.
How Does the Proxy Protect Computer Privacy and Data?
A proxy server performs the function of a firewall and filter. The end-user or a network administrator can choose a proxy designed to protect data and privacy. This examines the data going in and out of your computer or network. It then applies rules to prevent you from having to expose your digital address to the world. Only the proxy’s IP address is seen by hackers or other bad actors. Without your personal IP address, people on the internet do not have direct access to your personal data, schedules, apps, or files.
With it in place, web requests go to the proxy, which then reaches out and gets what you want from the internet. If the server has encryption capabilities, passwords and other personal data get an extra tier of protection.
Benefits of a Proxy Server
Proxies come with several benefits that can give your business an advantage:
Enhanced security: Can act like a firewall between your systems and the internet. Without them, hackers have easy access to your IP address, which they can use to infiltrate your computer or network.
Private browsing, watching, listening, and shopping: Use different proxies to help you avoid getting inundated with unwanted ads or the collection of IP-specific data.
Access to location-specific content: You can designate a proxy server with an address associated with another country. You can, in effect, make it look like you are in that country and gain full access to all the content computers in that country are allowed to interact with.
Prevent employees from browsing inappropriate or distracting sites: You can use it to block access to websites that run contrary to your organization’s principles. Also, you can block sites that typically end up distracting employees from important tasks. Some organizations block social media sites like Facebook and others to remove time-wasting temptations.
Types of Proxy Servers
While all proxy servers give users an alternate address with which to use the internet, there are several different kinds—each with its own features.
A forward proxy sits in front of clients and is used to get data to groups of users within an internal network. When a request is sent, the proxy server examines it to decide whether it should proceed with making a connection.
A forward proxy is best suited for internal networks that need a single point of entry. It provides IP address security for those in the network and allows for straightforward administrative control. However, a forward proxy may limit an organization’s ability to cater to the needs of individual end-users.
A transparent proxy can give users an experience identical to what they would have if they were using their home computer. In that way, it is “transparent. ” They can also be “forced” on users, meaning they are connected without knowing it.
Transparent proxies are well-suited for companies that want to make use of a proxy without making employees aware they are using one. It carries the advantage of providing a seamless user experience. On the other hand, transparent proxies are more susceptible to certain security threats, such as SYN-flood denial-of-service attacks.
An anonymous proxy focuses on making internet activity untraceable. It works by accessing the internet on behalf of the user while hiding their identity and computer information.
A transparent proxy is best suited for users who want to have full anonymity while accessing the internet. While transparent proxies provide some of the best identity protection possible, they are not without drawbacks. Many view the use of transparent proxies as underhanded, and users sometimes face pushback or discrimination as a result.
High Anonymity Proxy
A high anonymity proxy is an anonymous proxy that takes anonymity one step further. It works by erasing your information before the proxy attempts to connect to the target site.
The server is best suited for users for whom anonymity is an absolute necessity, such as employees who do not want their activity traced back to the organization. On the downside, some of them, particularly the free ones, are decoys set up to trap users in order to access their personal information or data.
A distorting proxy identifies itself as a proxy to a website but hides its own identity. It does this by changing its IP address to an incorrect one.
Distorting proxies are a good choice for people who want to hide their location while accessing the internet. This type of proxy can make it look like you are browsing from a specific country and give you the advantage of hiding not just your identity but that of the proxy, too. This means even if you are associated with the proxy, your identity is still secure. However, some websites automatically block distorting proxies, which could keep an end-user from accessing sites they need.
Data Center Proxy
Data center proxies are not affiliated with an internet service provider (ISP) but are provided by another corporation through a data center. The proxy server exists in a physical data center, and the user’s requests are routed through that server.
Data center proxies are a good choice for people who need quick response times and an inexpensive solution. They are therefore a good choice for people who need to gather intelligence on a person or organization very quickly. They carry the benefit of giving users the power to swiftly and inexpensively harvest data. On the other hand, they do not offer the highest level of anonymity, which may put users’ information or identity at risk.
A residential proxy gives you an IP address that belongs to a specific, physical device. All requests are then channeled through that device.
Residential proxies are well-suited for users who need to verify the ads that go on their website, so you can block cookies, suspicious or unwanted ads from competitors or bad actors. Residential proxies are more trustworthy than other proxy options. However, they often cost more money to use, so users should carefully analyze whether the benefits are worth the extra investment.
A public proxy is accessible by anyone free of charge. It works by giving users access to its IP address, hiding their identity as they visit sites.
Public proxies are best suited for users for whom cost is a major concern and security and speed are not. Although they are free and easily accessible, they are often slow because they get bogged down with free users. When you use a public proxy, you also run an increased risk of having your information accessed by others on the internet.
Shared proxies are used by more than one user at once. They give you access to an IP address that may be shared by other people, and then you can surf the internet while appearing to browse from a location of your choice.
Shared proxies are a solid option for people who do not have a lot of money to spend and do not necessarily need a fast connection. The main advantage of a shared proxy is its low cost. Because they are shared by others, you may get blamed for someone else’s bad decisions, which could get you banned from a site.
A secure sockets layer (SSL) proxy provides decryption between the client and the server. As the data is encrypted in both directions, the proxy hides its existence from both the client and the server.
These proxies are best suited for organizations that need enhanced protection against threats that the SSL protocol reveals and stops. Because Google prefers servers that use SSL, an SSL proxy, when used in connection with a website, may help its search engine ranking. On the downside, content encrypted on an SSL proxy cannot be cached, so when visiting websites multiple times, you may experience slower performance than you would otherwise.
A rotating proxy assigns a different IP address to each user that connects to it. As users connect, they are given an address that is unique from the device that connected before it.
Rotating proxies are ideal for users who need to do a lot of high-volume, continuous web scraping. They allow you to return to the same website again and again anonymously. However, you have to be careful when choosing rotating proxy services. Some of them contain public or shared proxies that could expose your data.
Unlike a forward proxy, which sits in front of clients, a reverse proxy is positioned in front of web servers and forwards requests from a browser to the web servers. It works by intercepting requests from the user at the network edge of the web server. It then sends the requests to and receives replies from the origin server.
Reverse proxies are a strong option for popular websites that need to balance the load of many incoming requests. They can help an organization reduce bandwidth load because they act like another web server managing incoming requests. The downside is reverse proxies can potentially expose the HTTP server architecture if an attacker is able to penetrate it. This means network administrators may have to beef up or reposition their firewall if they are using a reverse proxy.
Proxy Server vs. VPN
On the surface, proxy servers and virtual private networks (VPNs) may seem interchangeable because they both route requests and responses through an external server. Both also allow you to access websites that would otherwise block the country you’re physically located in. However, VPNs provide better protection against hackers because they encrypt all traffic.
Choosing VPN or Proxy
If you need to constantly access the internet to send and receive data that should be encrypted or if your company has to reveal data you must hide from hackers and corporate spies, a VPN would be a better choice.
If an organization merely needs to allow its users to browse the internet anonymously, a proxy server may do the trick. This is the better solution if you simply want to know which websites team members are using or you want to make sure they have access to sites that block users from your country.
A VPN is better suited for business use because users usually need secure data transmission in both directions. Company information and personnel data can be very valuable in the wrong hands, and a VPN provides the encryption you need to keep it protected. For personal use where a breach would only affect you, a single user, a proxy server may be an adequate choice. You can also use both technologies simultaneously, particularly if you want to limit the websites that users within your network visit while also encrypting their communications.
How Fortinet Can Help
FortiGate has the capability of both proxies and VPNs. It shields users from data breaches that often happen with high-speed traffic and uses IPsec and SSL to enhance security. FortiGate also harnesses the power of the FortiASIC hardware accelerator to enhance performance without compromising privacy. Secure your network with FortiGate VPN and proxy capabilities. Contact us to learn more.
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10 Best Free Proxy Servers – Safe and Anonymous Browsing in 2021
Ordinarily, anyone can see what you do online. When you connect to a non-secure website, advertisers, hackers, and government agencies can see where you’re located and what kind of computer you’re using. This information can be used to feed you targeted ads, and it can block you from seeing certain web content.
Web proxies protect your privacy and also help avoid restrictions. Such restrictions may be imposed by a government, workplace, school, or others. In any case, a web proxy helps make the internet as free and anonymous as it should be.
How a Proxy Keeps You Safe
When using a proxy, your request to a website is filtered through a web form, or sometimes a browser extension. The proxy server then acts as an intermediary. It receives your request, finds the right information on the internet, and relays it back to you.
Without this intermediary, the connection between your computer and a website is wide open. But when using a proxy, prying eyes can’t see both sides of the exchange.
As far as the website knows, the request is coming from the proxy server, not from your computer. Personally identifying information – like your IP address – doesn’t make it to the other side.
When it’s not clear who you are, a website doesn’t know whether you’re “allowed” to visit. If your national government blocks a website, it can only block it for people inside the country. But if the site thinks you’re visiting from a foreign server, it will usually let you through.
This way, a proxy can help keep you safe when there are consequences to reading certain information online. However, it’s important to note that proxies alone only offer a basic level of protection. They tend to have a small number of IP addresses, which can be blocked once they are recognized as proxies.
What to Look for in a Free Proxy
Free web proxies have some limitations. But they’re a good option for people who need short-term anonymity or one-time access to blocked content.
Of course, some proxies are better than others. You should do your research before choosing which one to use. Always stick to a service with a solid reputation. Unknown or untested proxies might not work as advertised, or they might even carry a risk of malware infection.
The first feature you should look for in a free web proxy is the number and variety of its servers. If there are many options, you’re less likely to lose your connection. And if some of the available servers are close to you, you’ll probably get better internet speeds.
Not all proxies give details about their servers. And not all of them allow you to choose which ones to connect to. When this information isn’t available, you should be skeptical. But don’t dismiss the service completely. If other users have had a good experience with it, then you might be satisfied with letting the servers’ owners choose one for you.
Another thing to look for in a free web proxy is customizability. Every good proxy will serve the same role as an intermediary in your web browsing. But some will offer additional services beyond hiding your IP address.
Many of the web proxies that we recommend in this article add additional security by encrypting URLs and page content. Many of them give you the option to block scripts and objects, which can increase the risk of malware infection. Some also disable cookies to minimize the storage of your browsing history.
These sorts of tools help you to get the most out of a web proxy without having to pay for decent protection. But the same tools are usually made stronger with paid upgrades. And if you want the absolute best protection, nothing beats a well-tested VPN.
Disadvantages of Proxies
Whatever free web proxy you choose, its extra features are only a bonus. And these usually come with strict limits. You may find that only a certain number of cookies can be encrypted each month. Blocking certain elements of a site might keep you safer but also prevent it from displaying properly.
Even worse, it’s common for proxies – especially free proxies – to come with traffic limits. If you want 24/7 protection from monitoring, hackers, and malware, you might want to upgrade to a paid version. Better yet, you might want to opt for a VPN instead.
Proxies are good enough for getting around firewalls and unblocking content. But they are not as much of a guarantee against monitoring by hackers or your internet service provider. It’s also far more likely that a free proxy could track some of your activities. A premium VPN, such as ExpressVPN has strict no-log policies. One of our top picks is when looking at overall performance.
A VPN will also save you the hassle of having to manually route all your web traffic through the service. To use a web proxy, you have to navigate to the proxy site and then input the URL from there. With a VPN, you can install an app on your device and let it run automatically.
The more advanced VPN option means you’ll be protected when connecting to the internet with third-party apps instead of your web browser. These days, a browser is definitely not the only app that needs protection. But that’s where most free web proxy services end.
Premium VPN services like ExpressVPN offer you a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can enjoy a risk-free trial of their superior protection.
Best Free Proxy Servers
Despite the drawbacks, a free proxy might be all that you need. In that case, there are plenty of good options for you to consider.
We’ve combed through existing reviews and tested some free proxy services for ourselves. And from what we’ve found, these are ten of the best free proxy servers out there:
This seems to be the single most frequently recommended free proxy server. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best. But it does mean that it’s good enough that it satisfies most users, most of the time.
With KProxy, you have ten servers to choose from. You can manually pick from these and switch them anytime. So if you lose access to one server, you’re still protected. There are no imposed speed limits, as with some proxies. And KProxy has a good track record for avoiding detection and blocking by websites and ISPs.
You can access KProxy servers directly through the website, or you can download a browser extension for either Firefox or Chrome.
This free web proxy also gives you the opportunity to manually switch between servers. It also offers more than twice as many servers as Kproxy.
You can have ProxySite choose automatically from among servers in the United States and the European Union. Or if you’re having difficulty, you can try them one by one. The specific locations aren’t identified, though, so you can’t be sure of the effect on your connection speed.
ProxySite has been tested for compatibility with YouTube. There are even buttons on the main page that take you, by proxy, to popular sites like Reddit and Twitter. ProxySite is tailor-made to bring anonymity to your everyday online activities.
This option also appears on many “best of” lists, even though its functionality is somewhat limited. doesn’t work with YouTube, Instagram, or Pinterest, and it relies on servers in only 1, 900 locations to mask users’ IP. But it makes up for some of these drawbacks with added security.
allows you to disable cookies, scripts, and objects on any site. In addition to hiding your IP behind the proxy, this service adds a layer of encryption and guarantees that URLs expire after every browser session.
The proxy will not save databases or IP addresses, so you can be confident that your information will not fall into the hands of hackers or advertisers. This makes it a good option for people who are more interested in security than entertainment online. also offers users a full VPN service in addition to its proxy servers.
This web proxy gives you the option to connect to a random server or choose one of 1, 080. These are located on opposite sides of the US and in four different European countries. The geographic coverage is as good as can be expected with a small number of servers.
The HMA proxy also prompts you to set up your connection with three options. You can encrypt URLs, disable cookies, and remove scripts. But that’s about as far as it goes without upgrading to the HMA VPN, which the site will try to sell you.
Recent user reviews have given Hidester a good reputation for reliability. But it’s not for sure that the reputation will stand up, because this proxy is pretty new.
Still, it seems to be as good an option as other more established proxies on this list. Hidester operates its own servers across both the US and Europe, and access to them is protected with 128-bit encryption and a secure socket layer (SSL).
Its commitment to security extends to free users but paying customers receive access to literally hundreds of additional servers.
Hidester also offers a number of free tools alongside its web proxy. These include a secure password generator and a DNS leak test. These could be major perks for users who want to stay safe online.
If Hidester is a new kid on the block, Anonymouse is an elder statesman of web proxies. It has been around since 1997 and still appears on many lists of most reliable proxy servers.
The main page for Anonymouse shows you the information that snoopers can see when you connect to a site. And it lets you compare that to what they’ll see when you connect through their proxy. But they choose the specific proxy for you, so you’ll just have to trust them.
Tests have actually shown that it’s pretty easy to identify the proxy that you’re using through Anonymouse. So the security might not be the best. But this old service still seems to be improving. Paid users get SSL encryption, and Anonymouse recently launched its own VPN.
Along with the web proxy, you can use Anonymouse to anonymously send e-mails and post to newsgroups. So after all this time, it still has something unique to offer.
Compared to some free proxies, Megaproxy’s servers are harder for snoopers to identify. And that’s without the additional security of its paid version.
You can use Megaproxy by installing a toolbar that lets you type web addresses and route them through a proxy server. It’s a convenient setup, and you can easily switch between regular and protected browsing.
Unfortunately, this might be important with the free version. Megaproxy limits non-paying users to 60 site visits in a five-hour period. And it only encrypts 20 cookies at a time. Still, this adds a little extra privacy that not all free proxies have.
This service acknowledges some of its own limits upfront. It says openly that free proxies might be incompatible with certain websites. That kind of truthfulness in advertising might be a sign of trustworthiness.
Speaking of truth and accuracy, NewIPNow shows you the estimated speed of each server you could connect to. There are about a dozen of these, though they are mostly limited to the United States. But users still receive a new IP address for each session.
You can use NewIPNow on-site or through a Firefox browser extension. There are budget-friendly paid options and they promise 100 percent compatibility. And if you have problems, customer support is a click away.
Before connecting to 4everproxy, you can select both the server and the IP location. There are over ten options for the first selection and even more for the second. By trying different options you can find the perfect balance between security and connection speed.
But speed shouldn’t be much of an issue in any case. Each 4everproxy server boasts a one gigabit per second connection. Each connection also comes with optional SSL encryption and blockage of cookies and scripts.
With seven servers in North America and four in Europe, this web proxy offers a decent geographical reach and solid security. After you choose a server, you will be switched to the fastest IP location. But this can also be changed manually.
ProxFree is as customizable as most any free web proxy. SSL encryption is enabled by default but can be turned off. There are check boxes to remove scripts, objects, cookies, and page titles. You can also disable the “referer” and “user agent” headers. This way, the site you’re visiting won’t know what you clicked on to get there, or what type of computer you’re using.
ProxFree has dedicated pages for visiting Facebook, YouTube, and other video streaming sites. You can be confident in your ability to browse social media anonymously and avoid geoblocks on most videos.
None of these proxies would be our first recommendation for people who want to protect their privacy and stay safe online. A trusted VPN will do a better job than any one of these. You can read our newbies guide to VPNs for an in-depth explanation. Our number one choice of VPN is ExpressVPN. But free web proxies are a convenient option, especially for temporary use.
As you can see, there are many good choices available. Their basic function is generally the same, but there are unique advantages to different services. Luckily, they are all free to use and work right in your browser. So you can test them out one by one if you need to.
Free web proxies can be a good way of learning about the risks associated with your web browsing, and how to protect against them. And since some of these providers also have their own VPNs, a web proxy can be a stepping stone to more complete protection. We also took a look at different proxy protocols if you’re looking to understand the other options available to you.
Easy Ways to Hide Your IP Address
Top Really Free VPN Services
Best VPN Browser Extensions for Chrome
Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!
The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.
VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we’ve tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it’s currently offering 49% off.
13 Best Proxy Server Services for 2021 – Free and Paid – TechJury
195 locations worldwide
Unlimited proxy connections
Smartproxy offers one of the best proxy services for both residential and business use. It’s best suited for conducting basic online scrapping tasks such as data harvesting. You get back-connect proxies, anonymous browsing, global connectivity – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
The setup process is straightforward. You have the option of choosing between Firefox and Google Chrome extensions. The dashboard of both is very easy to navigate. All features are well-arranged. Best of all – support is available via chat to help you at all times.
This is a feature-rich proxy service. It has 195 data centers spread across 8 cities worldwide. This enables you to benefit from over 40 million IPs. You can comfortably access geo-blocked services. The service supports simultaneous proxy connections.
Smartproxy provides robust and reliable residential proxies. IPs are assigned to physical devices such as computers and smartphones. That way, internet service providers recognize IP addresses as actual visitors. This lessens the risk of getting blocked. You’ll also find data center proxies that support an unlimited number of concurrent connections. Unlike the former, it’s cheap and comes with a substantial bandwidth allotment.
This proxy service limits IP sessions to a maximum of 30 minutes. A different address is immediately assigned once the allocated time elapses. It prevents users from engaging in abusive behavior.
On the downside, some users complain of slow internet speeds when using this service. But that’s not surprising – there’s no SOCKS5 protocol. Other than that, the pricing starts at $50, which is reasonable. Should it disappoint, you’ll have up to 3 days to claim your money back.
Cloud proxy manager
Mobile device IPs
Bright Data is one of the best alternatives to free proxy services online. It offers feature-rich tools for gathering information. Over 10, 000+ professionals currently trust this vendor globally.
You’ll be greeted with a neat dashboard. It has a quick walkthrough guide of the available services. Each feature also has a snippet preview.
Moreover, you can manage the online proxy server services from the console. That’s because it offers pay-as-you-go plans (PAYG). Here, bandwidth, IP pool size, and network ports are easy to allocate.
As for the features, it’s a bed of roses.
Data unblocker unlocks websites with toughened anti-crawling technologies. In addition, you get access to over 72 million real-user IPs to enhance its effectiveness. The company also bills you for successful requests only.
The proxy service has a wide range of options. Firstly, it has a search engine crawler. It provides real-time data collection by scrapping Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and others.
Secondly, it comes with mobile proxies that use 3G/4G connections. These are assigned to actual mobile carriers from around the world. Furthermore, it comes with over seven million residential IPs.
But that’s not all.
You can use Bright Data’s application programming interface (API) to create custom apps. It’s compatible with Java,, C Sharp (C#), and Shell. Public proxy server providers, on the other hand, don’t offer such a feature.
Proxy management is incredibly flexible. There’s a Google Chrome extension for a start. Installing a custom web server script is a good alternative. You can also use its cloud manager that costs $150/month extra.
The company provides a dedicated account manager for support. While that sounds good, they’re available during business hours only.
But, on a more positive note, it offers a 7-day risk-free trial. Should it impress, you can upgrade from as little as a dollar on PAYG.
Real-time web crawler
Over 100 million IPs
Automatic proxy rotator
Oxylabs ranks highly among the best proxy servers for businesses. It offers global coverage and a pool of over 100 million IPs. Its services are ideal for performing various proxy-driven jobs, e. g. marketing intelligence tasks.
It has a colorful dashboard that’s easy to navigate. You can use it to access statistics of your usage. There are separate sections for billing and ordering new services as well.
You can’t manage proxies from the dashboard. However, Oxylabs’ products plugin well into the software that supports proxies. Oxylabs even offers a Google Chrome extension, which allows users to test the proxies or browse around the internet. Likewise, proxies work well with third-party proxy managers such as FoxyProxy.
You’ll find different types of server proxies for various needs. SOCKS5 Proxy comes in handy for using proxies with custom programs or protocols.
Residential Proxy pools handle bulk scrapping. They provide unlimited simultaneous connections for by-passing IP blocks online. It’s also possible to geo-target locations up to the city level.
You can optimize your business activities using datacenter proxies. For example, datacenter proxies help companies to find markets with counterfeit products. This type of proxy service can also be used for the identification of malicious attacks. Examples include finding viruses in files, identification of phishing links, and locating data breaches published online.
You’ll find a proxy rotator that automates IP switching. It enables you to forget about proxy management while carrying out scraping operations.
Oxylabs Real-Time Crawler can help gather data from websites that employ advanced anti-bot solutions with a higher success rate. The Real-Time Crawler also supports providing already parsed data from select websites.
The high price tag is the only disadvantage. Plans start from $180/month for the cheapest options.
On the upside, customer support is excellent. You can request help via email or live chat 24/7. Its higher tiers even come with a dedicated account manager.
Automatic IP rotation
Time-based sticky IPs
Dedicated 4G mobile proxies
Caching for bandwidth saving
IPRoyal is among the best proxy platforms that has extensive network coverage. It includes top locations such as:
Best of all, it has affordable prices with no minimum requirements.
The vendor takes pride in offering a wide selection of services. Apart from the usual ones, it provides sneaker proxies for lovers of sports shoes. It bypasses restrictions in fashion sites that limit customers from making bulk purchases.
Another notable mention – the 4G mobile proxy. It’s powered by real user devices and residential IPs from cellular networks. The setup boosts trust and reduces the chances of getting banned. So you can do web scraping, competitor research, and complete SEO tasks with confidence.
The company has a pool of over two million IP addresses. And it adds hundreds of new proxy sites daily thanks to the IPRoyal Pawns program. It uses a peer-to-peer (P2P) approach that allows customers to share their bandwidth. In exchange, the vendor pays them for using their internet connections as proxies.
You can use randomize that frequently rotates your IP on autopilot. But sticky is the best option if you want to use one address. It comes with a time limit of 24 hours before it changes. That’s, however, not a guarantee – the system can swap it any time.
SOCKS5 enhances security by using multiple authentication methods to process data. Likewise, there’s HTTPS for end-to-end encryption between your device and the internet.
IPRoyal also claims it uses caching to save bandwidth and supercharge internet speeds. We were able to use less data when testing its proxy network. However, it took ages to load websites and download files. To add salt to injury, the vendor doesn’t have a refund policy. The good news is you can buy its proxy services for as little as $1. 00. The payment options include credit cards and bitcoin.
Offers free unlimited browsing
Support for any browser
BitTorrent client support
Fast ping times
is one of the best free proxy server software on the market. This solution offers a long list of features that you will love – auto-connect, IP leak protection, and BitTorrent support among others. The best thing about it – you’ll experience zero ads by using this product.
So, is it worth it?
is lightweight and easy to set up. All you need to do is install the Google Chrome/Firefox extension. There’s also an in-browser tool available, great for those that don’t like add-ons.
The features side is where it gets interesting. Unlike Smartproxy, gives you SOCKS5 for free. It allows you to enjoy swift response times during gaming and media streaming. Torrent lovers will enjoy the fast peer-to-peer file-sharing that this free proxy server offers. You also get to enjoy limitless bandwidth usage throughout.
has WebRTC in place to shield your IP from leaking. You can use an auto connection to switch between servers. To maximize protection, this vendor doesn’t record any logs of your activity.
This free proxy service lets you choose server locations. Only three regions are supported – Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Of course, nothing is perfect. We couldn’t find the total number of IPs offered. The support team couldn’t tell us anything about it. also doesn’t support multiple connections. But given it’s a free proxy program, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
Over 40 million IPs
Rotating sticky IPs
Avoid bot detection
Proxies automatically rotate in the background. Just enter the URL of any site and you will get the raw HTML in return. If you’d like a more permanent session, you can easily use a static IP as well.
You also get custom header support, automatic retries, and desktop and mobile user agents. In other words, you can make your traffic appear like it’s coming from a computer or a phone.
Nonetheless, it is not as advanced as others, meaning you’ll have to parse the data yourself. Its simplicity and full API access, however, make it ideal for developers with their own scraping solutions. You can even call the API via web browser, as follows:
A seven-day free trial for up to 5, 000 requests lets you see if it’s the right fit. This requires no credit card, so you won’t accidentally get billed.
After the trial expires, you can decide whether to upgrade to one of three well-priced plans or negotiate an Enterprise solution.
The good news is low-volume users can access a free proxy server that permits 1, 000 requests per month. Here’s what the rest of the plans offer:
Hobby: $29/mo – 250, 000 requests, and 10 concurrent threads.
Startup: $99/mo – One million requests, 25 concurrent threads, and US geotargeting.
Business: $249/mo – Three million requests, 50 concurrent threads, 12-country geotargeting, and access to residential proxies.
If you still decide it’s not for you after purchasing a plan, there’s a seven-day money back guarantee.
Although all plans use rotating proxy pools, it is only the business plan that unlocks access to residential IPs.
Its dedicated proxy pools for different types of scraping really stand out. This includes products, search engine results, social media content, and more.
As for customer support, staff are available 24/7 by email or live chat. Business users get priority in the email queue, while Enterprise customers get a dedicated support channel. Everyone has access to documentation and help pages.
To manage your account ScraperAPI provides a web-based dashboard. Here you can access billing and view usage statistics. You’ll also find your API key and lots of useful code for PHP, Node, Ruby, Bash, and Python/Scrapy. A lot of this can be pasted directly into your custom scripts.
To sum up, ScraperAPI is an excellent solution for web scraping. It takes the hassle out of managing proxies by doing all the hard work in the background. Plans are affordable and it gets extra points for providing one of the best free proxy plans on the market.
Affordable pricing plans
Offers ads-free experience
Unlimited bandwidth allocation
Portable KProxy browser
Kproxy is one of the best proxy server options, no matter what budget you have. This solution is great for both novice and expert users that have undemanding web browsing needs.
Let’s check out the features.
The configuration process is fast. You can choose between Google Chrome and Firefox extensions. If you lack either, Kproxy’s proxy browser is readily available. Also, the product is currently compatible with the Kiwi Internet Access App for Android.
Kproxy has a lot to offer in terms of functionality. For starters, it automatically selects a server for you. You also have the option of switching between 5 countries, among which Canada, France, and the USA.
IP leak protection is enabled by default for hiding your location at all times. WebRTC’s protocol also allows you to browse restricted websites easily. But it gets better – this proxy program has a separate plugin for bypassing network filters. This inclusion helps you to access blocked sites by system administrators at work or school.
At times, users can engage in abusive behavior leading to a ban of IPs. Such an incidence usually affects user experience. To avoid that, you can use server management to delist affected regions. You can isolate slow proxies from your network.
Just as, Kproxy gives you limitless bandwidth. But there’s a catch. It limits downloads/uploads to a maximum of 300 megabytes. This means that you can’t use this service to transfer large files.
Another drawback is the limited choice of private proxies on the free plan. But that shouldn’t worry you. From just $10/month, you can enjoy 120+ servers located in North America and Europe. That’s quite a bargain.
Free proxy service
Unlimited bandwidth support
Online proxy browser
IP leak protection
HideMyAss (HMA) is an easy-to-use free proxy server that has basic features for browsing. First-time users will surely appreciate using this solution to browse online anonymously.
Unlike other developers that provide browser extensions, HMA comes with none. It has a simple web-based proxy for accessing online sites. All you need to do is enter a web address and select a preferred server to connect to.
This solution has many great features. The use of bandwidth is unrestricted. You can browse, mine data, and download an unlimited number of files. There are no ads whatsoever.
On the server side, you have a choice of six countries to use, including two regions in the US and one in the UK. But that’s just it. Crucial features such as Kproxy’s IP blocking are missing. You also won’t be able to select a network based on server location.
However, it lags behind the competition on various fronts. SOCKS5 for speeding up internet speeds is lacking. This makes the use of demanding services such as gaming and streaming problematic. IP leak protection only does a basic job of shielding your address, so your service provider may still be able to track your online activity.
Overall, this free proxy service works okay in accessing blocked websites online.
Free web-based service
Auto IP selection
Four locations available
Dedicated IP per session
If you’re looking for the best free proxy server, get VPNBook. The service provides dedicated IP and unlimited browsing sessions. As if not enough, there’s a web browser to make it better.
Getting started with this product is easy. Just as HMA, it offers an online proxy browser. You can pick the fastest server for you. You can also select a preferred region from the dropdown list of data centers. During sessions, a sticky bar is always available for swapping websites fast.
VPNBook tops the best proxy server list when it comes to security. It provides SSL browsing by utilizing AES-256bit data encryption. WebRTC is in place to protect your IP from leaking. It also blocks other scripts, which websites use for tracking user activities. To cover one’s tracks, it doesn’t keep your history.
But wait – there’s more.
Finding a solution that’s compatible with all devices is a challenging task. To address this problem, VPNBook loads websites via iFrames. This feature combines HTML and CSS, fitting for all screen sizes. You’ll have a smooth experience browsing from mobile phones.
Whereas other online proxy sites offer dynamic addresses, VPNBook gives you a static one. This lessens interruptions in platforms sensitive to IP changes. The vendor also blacklists people that abuse their servers. In doing so, it preserves the integrity of the service for other users.
On the downside, this product is strictly for personal use. It’s also ad-supported. Apart from the bad side, you can get a premium version for $7. 95/month. It provides support for gaming, VoIP, torrents, and much more.
Lightweight on system resources
Quick links access
Limitless bandwidth support
Fast gigabit connection
When it comes to functionality, ProxySite tops the list of the best free proxy services. This solution is not only feature-rich but also built for performance. Users that need to access blocked websites will greatly appreciate this product.
The setup process is simple. ProxySite comes with a browser-based proxy. It has shortcuts for accessing popular sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. You also have the option of selecting one of 25+ servers between the US and EU.
But it doesn’t end there.
ProxySite comes with proxy configurations. It provides an endless list of custom presets to utilize. With it, you can easily simulate popular browsers, devices, and operating systems. The most notable ones include Blackberry, iPhone, macOS, and Windows 7/10.
Developers are also not left out. There’s a slot for changing the user agent of your browser. This enables you to test websites that you’ve created. It’s also ideal for running custom bots for data mining tasks.
This is the best paid proxy server software for managing cookies. It gives you a list of all the browsing data stored on your device. This allows you to use or selectively delete them before visiting any website. As simple as it sounds, some sites rely on these files to track you. And removing them helps you cover your steps.
Speed is also worth mentioning. ProxySite has a gigabit network that delivers faster connectivity. When combined with SOCKS5, you’ll be able to stream on the fly.
Of course, ProxySite isn’t perfect. During testing, sites such as Google blocked our requests. The user interface of most websites that we visited also appeared distorted.
The pro version that includes a VPN will set you back $9. 99/month. It offers premium security, more servers, and compatibility with most websites.
Supports multiple browsers
Standalone apps for smartphones
Servers in 17 countries
Whoer is the best proxy server software for people that have multiple devices. It has an app for Windows, Mac, Linux, web browsers, and smartphones. It’s ideal for families/groups of friends of up to 5 members.
When using Whoer, you’ll find a dedicated application/extension for your favorite device. Once you install, it takes a single click to get started. The free plan only allows you to use one server location. Premium users get to choose from 17 regions.
The browser extensions have WebRTC for protecting you against IP leaks. There’s also a kill switch. When the internet connectivity fails, it will shield your address from being visible. A great reason to put Whoer on our Best Proxy Server list.
Another great addition is end-to-end encryption via SSL. It utilizes a 256-bit file encoding, which secures the connection between your server and device. Whoer’s servers leave no trace of your online activity.
For pro users, internet speeds are blazing fast. You can watch Netflix, play online games, and share torrent files. In comparison, the free version throttles connections to a maximum of 1mb/s. Even though you won’t be able to run heavy tasks, it’s still okay for browsing.
Whoer offers fewer server locations in the US and UK. Similarly, the limitation of bandwidth on the free plan is a turnoff. It’s also impossible to select an IP proxy.
Then again, the free version covers all the important bases. If you like it, you can go pro for $9. 90/month. Whoer has a 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee.
2. 5 million IPs
Static and Residential
Extensions for Chrome and Firefox
If you want to buy proxy services, GeoSurf is one of the longest-running providers on the web. The Tel Aviv-based company covers every major city in the world via 2. 5 million IP addresses.
It offers both residential and static IPs. The former is delivered on rotation by an API. Therefore, you can make as many simultaneous requests as needed without being blocked or slowed down.
If you’d prefer a static IP, GeoSurf covers over 130 countries in over 30 designated market areas in the US. They are more prone to identification, though.
Georsurf’s other key feature is a VPN for mobile. VPNs easily allow you to hide behind proxies as you browse or otherwise use the internet. This one complies with Android and iOS and uses numerous protocols, including OpenVPN and PPTP. This feature is limited to 120 locations.
For a proxy site, GeoSurf is certainly pricey. But it comes with a long track record and many extra features.
The starter plan is $450/month for ‘130+ IPs’ and 38GB of traffic. At the top end, you get unlimited IP access for $2, 000/month, and 250GB of traffic. All plans are auto-recurring. Enterprise plans can be negotiated if you contact the team. Due to the price, GeoSurf is more suitable for medium to large businesses than individuals.
The sign-up process is a little labored. First, you must give your name, email, and country, and then a salesperson will arrange a Skype chat. You can’t just buy a plan and get going.
Once you’ve been prodded and chosen a plan, you can manage your account from a web dashboard. Here you can see billing info, traffic usage, and access the gateways.
There are many ways to implement your proxies, including mobile. A toolbar can be added to Chrome and Firefox browsers. You can delete your browser data and switch IPs with just a few clicks.
To set your whole computer behind a proxy, you can use the Desktop VPN – some of the best proxy server software Windows, Mac, and Linux. Users can surf the web with any browser this way, but it also allows you to use other applications.
Meanwhile, developers might connect to the API directly to run scripts and other operations that can benefit from some of the best proxy servers around the globe. All it really lacks is support for SOCKS5 protocol.
Although its service is brilliant, the current incarnation of the website could do with improvement. Many pages have stock text filling up space. Moreover, there are pages for ‘Instagram Proxies’ and ‘Ad Verification Proxies’. This, however, is just marketing for the exact same plans. There are no dedicated proxies for Instagram or ad verification. Nonetheless, you can use GeoSurf for those purposes.
Performance-wise, it provides a lot of unique IPs, but falls short to Bright Data and Smartproxy. It also doesn’t quite match up to the speed of Smartproxy or Oxylabs.
In conclusion, we found their IPs to be clean and plentiful, and the overall infrastructure to be fast and secure. A legally binding agreement that states they don’t pass on your personal info was good to see. In the future, we’d like a clear free trial (you have to ask for a live demo or wait for a special promotion). And, SOCKS support would be nice.
Great scraping tool
Automatic proxy management
Residential proxies available
Lots of plans
Zyte grew as an internal platform for web scraping company ScrapingHub. After using the name Crawlera for over a decade, it’s gone for something a little more inclusive now.
Under the hood, however, it is a continuation of the same rotating proxy network. It’s one of the best proxy sites for bots and scraping. Most importantly, it doesn’t trigger CAPTCHAS or IP bans.
Zyte does not sell users on the number of IPs it has access to or how clean they are. Instead, it applies its own complex rotation system over IPs it rents from other providers. That is to say, you’re buying a robust web scraping tool that utilizes proxies, rather than the proxies/IPs themselves.
The IPs aren’t well suited for other purposes, which is a downside. Furthermore, plans are based around the number of requests.
Two key features make up the Zyte experience. First is a ‘Smart Proxy Manager’ of thousands of data centre IPs from across the world. Everything is rotated automatically in the background. The tool is able to assess your requested site for its load and ban likelihood. Then, it adjusts your request rate to keep you on the green list.
If an IP proxy is blocked, it assesses why and retries with a new IP address.
Second, is the ‘Automatic Extraction’ tool. This saves you using a third-party crawler. Simply enter a URL into the intuitive dashboard and it will pull the data without coding.
Product databases, news articles – there are lots of possibilities. Plus, you can use the Extraction API with your own more advanced methods off the back of Zyte’s infrastructure.
The proxy manager starts from $29/month for up to 50, 000 requests, 50 of which can be concurrent. The $349/month ‘Advanced’ plan supports 2. 5 million monthly requests, 200 of which can be concurrent. Enterprise solutions start at $999.
For automatic data extraction, pricing starts at $60 per 100, 000 requests. The upper limit is 500, 000 requests per month. Alternatively, you can rely on bespoke data services from $450 per month, but you’ll need to speak to a sales rep.
You can try both tools for free for 14 days, with a limit of 10, 000 requests.
Residential proxies are now available, but they’re a paid extra, on top of any other plans you purchase. The smallest plan is $300 per month for 25GB of traffic and access to over 500, 000 IP addresses.
At the other end, you can get 200GB of traffic and priority in the support queue for $1, 000 a month.
Customer support is excellent, albeit tiered. On the cheaper plans you must rely on a ticket, reading the help pages, or asking the community forum. Responses are guaranteed within one business day, but we received a reply within an hour for a test question.
The high-priced plans get priority in the queue, while Enterprise clients have a dedicated account manager.
In short, Zyte is an excellent proxy program for those that need to use many IPs for data mining. You can find better services, however, if you require proxies for other means.
What is a Proxy?
A proxy is an access point that acts as a gateway to the internet. All traffic requests to and from a website are processed by a computer server. This approach protects your real identity from being exposed.
Under typical circumstances, workplaces, schools, and libraries block specific sites from access. Likewise, some websites are geo-restricted. Using a proxy helps you freely access those web pages.
Some of the best private proxy server services offer enhanced security features – SSL encryption, audit logs, firewall, and more. They provide an additional layer of defense between computer systems and outside traffic. This plays a huge role in shielding users/organizations from hackers.
Paid Proxies Versus Free Proxies
Both have upsides and downsides. While the former provides more options, the latter has basic functions to get the job done.
Here are the details.
Service providers offer free proxy services to you at zero costs. However, vendors enforce restrictions on bandwidth, server resources, and more. Such limitations are usually in place to maintain the quality of service. That way you handle lightweight tasks such as browsing and opening blocked sites. It allows users to test the waters before going pro.
Paid proxies offer more features at a premium price. You can choose between different regions and specific IP addresses. It also guarantees you 99% anonymity and privacy online. You’ll experience fast connections by browsing at full speeds.
Over the years, competition has drastically lowered the cost of these services. A good example is Whoer that charges $9. 90/month with support for up to 5 users. That’s as cheap as a cup of Starbucks coffee.
The majority of best internet proxy server providers have a zero cost plan in place. But the truth is – there’s nothing as free lunch. Vendors usually use this approach to upsell products and services.
Web browsers store cookies when you visit websites. These are small files that are generated based on user behavior online. When you use free proxies, developers collect and sell this data to third-party advertisers. Vendors such as VPNBook directly serve advertisements to you. In simple terms – you indirectly pay for the service.
The other drawback is related to security. When using free proxy services, your anonymity isn’t guaranteed. IP leaks are bound to happen and this can expose your real identity. However, if you’re an occasional user, that shouldn’t be a matter of concern.
On the flip side, paid proxies aren’t that reliable. Downtimes and server breakdowns can occur at any time. Dealing with them is extremely annoying.
Types of Proxies
There are many proxies available. They mostly differ on essentials such as configuration, software, and functionality.
Here we’ve covered 6 of the most common proxy types:
This type of proxy is built on an extensive computer networking infrastructure. It’s normally used to serve several clients at the same time. This allows vendors to split the costs amongst users; hence, make the service affordable. To ensure quality, the majority proxy of service providers utilize load-balancing to handle traffic spikes. It helps to distribute large requests across a web of interlinked data centers. This setup enables users to enjoy a smooth experience all through.
This is a type of proxy that combines the benefits of shared and dedicated proxies. It usually allows a maximum of 5 users per server. This grants superior service at budget-friendly prices. However, you risk service interruption due to overloading by a single user. It’s a great option for casual users that need privacy online.
A dedicated proxy allows a single user to utilize all resources. This solution offers more agility and computing power to the client. It’s also efficient, stable, and secure. The chances of getting your IP banned are minimal. You’ll have greater control over managing your online tasks. All these benefits do come at a high price, though.
Security is a top priority for people that prefer to be anonymous online. That’s where SOCKS5 proxy comes into the picture. It covers the highest standards of data encryption. It supports protocols such as TCP/UDP layer 4 and SSL layer 7. Using it allows you to transfer coded information over HTTP/HTTPS, SFTP, P2P, and more.
If you need the best anonymous proxy server, get a residential proxy. With it, IP addresses get attached to actual devices – smartphones, gaming consoles, or computers. Connections generated by this solution are usually undetectable. The service makes websites give you the greenlight by identifying you as an actual visitor.
A reverse proxy is a computer network that mediates between a web resource and visitors. It usually retrieves information from the source server on behalf of users. This configuration is ideal for organizations that need a high level of security. It’s useful for filtering bad traffic and blocking cyberattacks.
Proxy vs VPN – What is Better?
VPN and proxy do the same task of protecting the identities of users online. While both serve the same purpose, their mode of operation is different.
A proxy program transfers your data across the internet in raw format. This approach increases the likelihood of exposing your real identity.
A VPN provides end-to-end encryption between your device and the remote computer. You
Frequently Asked Questions about what proxy server to use
What is a good proxy server to use?
Best Free Proxy ServersKProxy. This seems to be the single most frequently recommended free proxy server. … ProxySite. This free web proxy also gives you the opportunity to manually switch between servers. … Hide.me. … HMA. … Hidester. … Anonymouse. … Megaproxy. … NewIPNow.More items…
How do I know which proxy to use?
Right-click on the Start button and click Setting.Go to Network & Internet > Proxy.See if the Use a proxy server option is on.
Which is best proxy site?
Here’s the list of the best proxy servers that you can find in 2021.KProxy – Best free proxy.HMA – Best proxy browser.VPNBook – Best for security.ProxySite – Best for smartphones.Whoer – Best value for money.GeoSurf – Best for unlimited IP connections.Zyte – Best for scraping websites.More items…