A proxy acts as an intermediary between you and the internet. When you’re using a proxy server, your request runs through the proxy server (which changes your IP address) first, and only then connects to the website. This is the main thing to know if you want to define a proxy.
By now, you should have a decent idea of what a proxy is. However, there are different types of proxies as well. The most common ones, in terms of their origin, being residential and datacenter proxies:
A residential proxy – an IP address provided by an ISP to a homeowner. It is a real IP address attached to a physical location, thus allowing users to imitate organic browsing behavior when web scraping. This reduces chances being blocked and hiding real IP behind this type of proxy allows for higher levels of privacy.
A datacenter proxy – not affiliated with an ISP, and it only imitates a real internet connection. They come from a secondary corporation and provide you with completely private IP authentication and anonymity.
Shared proxy is used by multiple users at the same time, meaning it will also be accessible to other end users. Shared proxies tend to lack overall performance, and come with various potential attached risks. That’s pretty much all you need to know to define a shared proxy.
Semi-dedicated proxy is an upgrade in comparison to a shared proxy. Even though it is still shared, it is done so only by a few users, which offers considerably better performance.
Private proxy is a type of proxy that is used only by one user, and this type of proxy, also known as a dedicated proxy, provides a user with completely private IP authentication, anonymity, and high overall performance level.
Take note that some of the proxy types were created for marketing based reasons rather than actually being a separate technical type. Nevertheless, some of them offer optimizations for specific uses or other improvements. You might encounter these types while browsing the web, so in order to better understand their definitions, we made a list of most types you can find online:
SOCKS5 proxies are used for traffic-intensive network tasks, such as uploading or downloading files, content streaming, VoIP or video calls, and others.
Originating from data centers, static residential proxies can be defined as a combination of data center and residential proxies, offering an exceptionally stable, fast, and anonymous experience to the end-user.
An HTTP proxy is used for multiple purposes. These proxies can serve two mediating roles – as an HTTP client and HTTP server for security and multiple other uses. Acting as a tunnel, the HTTP proxy routes HTTP requests from a web browser to the internet. It also has support for useful features such as caching web data for faster load speeds.
This proxy type allows for tunneling, which means that it can route traffic, acting as a middle-man between a client and their destination. Its usefulness lies in enabling setting up custom rules which make things like content filtering or website caching possible.
These proxies route their users web requests through mobile devices connected to cellular networks. In other words, a mobile proxy utilizes IP addresses assigned dynamically to mobile devices by their Mobile Network Operator (MNO) who at the same time act as their ISP.
A reverse proxy server is one which directs client requests to a particular backend server. It commonly sits behind a firewall in a private network – providing reliability and performance benefits while protecting against web server attacks.
Rotating proxies, or rotating residential proxies, are harder to detect due to their rotating nature (meaning the proxy IP will continuously change and keep you block- free) and are ideal for challenging targets from various global locations.
A web proxy server hides your IP address from the websites that you visit. They are capable of masking your true location, which makes websites believe you are accessing the page from another location.
Otherwise known as an anonymizer, an anonymous proxy is used to maintain your privacy on the internet. Using one ensures that your IP address is never disclosed so that you can access the websites you want with there being less risk of getting blocked.
Otherwise known as an elite proxy, a high anonymity proxy provides all the same benefits of an anonymous proxy but with some additional features. It allows users to conceal the fact they are using a proxy server to access the internet, with periodic changes to your IP address preventing any detection.
A transparent proxy can be described as one which makes the client unaware that their requests are being processed through a proxy before reaching the server. It acts as an intermediary between client requests and intercepts them for authentication, catching, or acceptable use purposes.
Useful for devices or networks in which true proxy settings cannot be changed, a CGI proxy can be described as a proxy that accepts requests then processes them in the user’s browser window before returning the result to the client.
A sneaker proxy is a proxy that is specifically optimized to work as efficiently as possible for sneaker copping – a process during which resellers try to buy limited edition sneakers in hope to later resell them at a higher price. This usually requires automated software (sneaker bots) and proxies that are very fast, offer zero to non blocks, and have IPs that look similar to those of organic internet users. Both data center and residential proxies are sold as sneaker proxies.
As the name suggests, a suffix proxy essentially adds its name to the end of the URL it is rerouting or processing. This allows users to access websites or programs that would otherwise be blocked – all thanks to a suffix proxy’s ability to bypass web filters.
A distorting proxy can be described as the middle level of the three levels of anonymity where proxy servers are concerned – below elite but offering more anonymity than transparent proxies. This type of proxy allows you to bypass content restrictions and prevents targeted marketing by using a substitute IP address.
Short for ‘The Onion Router’, TOR is an open-source network that protects your data with multiple layers of security and provides online anonymity. The downside is that your connection is usually far slower when compared to using other types of proxy, with requests being tunneled through multiple servers instead.
Protecting peer to peer communication and blocking any monitoring from external sources such as your ISP, an I2P proxy is an anonymous network of around 55,000 volunteer-run computers through which web traffic flows using end-to-end encryption.
A DNS (domain name server) proxy converts numeric IP addresses into hierarchical, readable internet addresses and vice versa using a system of connected servers. It allows your device(s) to understand the information you’d like to reach the server.
An elite or a premium proxy is a type of proxy offered by established, reputable proxy providers, offering fast, stable and overall reliable proxies. Most often you will see residential proxies being described as premium proxies, however, data center proxies can also be called elite or premium. In addition to reliability, premium proxy providers offer additional benefits, such as 24/7 live support or a dedicated account manager.
Cheap proxies are often sold by resellers who provide no added value of their own, which often means that the stability of these proxies is not guaranteed. Furthermore, some of the companies selling cheap proxies are not trustworthy and raise concerns about possible security risks when using those proxies.
Acting as a gateway between your device and the internet, a proxy server is often used for boosting web privacy, bypassing content filters, and a handful of other reasons. A proxy can do all of this and more by processing web traffic through a server, after which web page data is then forwarded to your device.
In other words, instead of communication taking place between your computer and the server, the computer’s request to obtain a file or web page occurs through the proxy server before being sent to the requesting computer.