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March 03, 2022
8 minutes read

What is Anonymous Proxy?

Anonymous proxies allow you to browse the internet without revealing your original IP address. They can offer you more – find out what in this article.

Anonymous proxies, sometimes called anonymizers, do not disclose your personal information to your target websites, including your IP address and location.

While connecting through a proxy server, they act like a privacy shield making your browsing on the internet hard to trace

But not all proxies are anonymous, and the level of anonymity differs depending on their type. Don't worry – we'll reveal everything you should know about anonymous proxies in this blog post.

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You are probably wondering if using proxies will make you completely anonymous. Well, it depends on the type of proxies you are relying on.

Each time you make a request via HTTP(S) protocol, the header contains information about your device and IP address. Proxy modifies the header's data by different levels and based on the level of anonymity, proxies are grouped into three categories: transparent, anonymous, and elite.

Different levels of proxy anonymity

Transparent proxies do not build an anonymity shield and show your IP address together with the fact that you are connecting via proxies. Such proxies are so-called forced proxies, inline proxies, or intercepting proxies. Who on earth needs that? Transparent proxies are used in public Wi-Fi networks, f'rinstance, in public hotels or airports – they follow the connected users' browsing behavior and can restrict access to some websites. By the way, the connection via a transparent proxy is insecure since it's not encrypted.

Anonymous proxies, unlike transparent proxies, do not show your IP address. It replaces it with a new one but leaves HTTP_VIA in the header, informing the targeted site that you are connecting through a proxy. Even if your IP address is hidden, some websites can restrict your access to the content.

Elite proxies, also called high anonymous proxies, are your best option if you seek to level up your online anonymity. They hide any information, which can restrict your access to a particular website. Not only is your IP address erased from the request header, but your connection also becomes identical to an actual device request. Worth mentioning that Smartproxy has only elite proxies, so if you connect to the target site through our proxies, you can be sure that we are watching your back. 

How anonymous proxies work

Anonymous proxies mediate between you and the web – after accepting your request, they route it through the intermediate server and then return the results. The information you send or receive does not go from your real IP address but rather the different server. Your data remains hidden and the websites perceive you as a regular user.

If you are wondering about your safety, proxies sold by trusted providers are completely safe. But if you are actively searching for the best proxies, you might find some providers that offer them for free. Such proxies are slow, overused, and can inject malware into your device or browser.

Don't be lured into a trap – free anonymous proxies can be set up as traps by governments or hackers to identify and steal user data. That's why you should only use proxies from trusted vendors.

how anonymous proxies work

Better browsing experience

Let's talk about browsing first – there are countless reasons not to reveal your IP address to the web you are reaching. It is a well-known truth that privacy on the internet is not taken for granted. You already know that anonymous proxies cover your IP address. By doing that, they help you to:

  • Avoid targeted marketing and advertising online;
  • Bypass geo-blocking and avoid censorship;
  • Improve your security and prevent identity theft;
  • Protect search history.

Yup, being a no-name hustler is already cool, but ensuring anonymity while browsing is not the only thing proxies can offer to you. They are irreplaceable when you need to scrape the web.

Web scraping with proxies

Proxies allow you to access more than you could ever imagine. If you are trying to make multiple requests on the web without changing your connection, your activity might be quickly marked up as suspicious, followed by a ban on your IP address.

With proxies, you can avoid such situations, scrape various websites on scale, compare prices, manage multiple social media accounts, monitor SEO, test ads, buy limited-edition sneakers, and optimize your bot activity. Should we continue? Seriously, with Smartproxy, only the sky's the limit – we can help you with everything from changing your IP address to using multiple of them to automate business processes.

proxies for web scraping

How to set up anonymous proxies?

Good news – our proxies are easy to set up with all major browsers, smartphones, and operating systems. We have prepared detailed guides for your trouble-free journey with Smartproxy. Besides, you can integrate our residential proxies with various scrapers, social media and SEO tools, bots, and proxy managers. If you do not find your specific tool on our configuration page, chances are we still have it – our round-the-clock support team will help you find the information you look for.

Add-ons make proxies easy-to-use

We have some pretty osum add-ons to make your browsing journey smoother. Check our Chrome and Firefox extensions – we created them to level up our users' experience and bring essential proxies features into your browser. It literally takes just a few clicks to access any website out there without revealing your original IP address.

The best thing is that our add-ons are probably the easiest-to-use online tool – it is just a dropdown menu, which allows you to pick up an IP address location and session type. Most importantly, it also helps handle large-scale operations, so in this case, simple means powerful.

proxies extension

Solving "Anonymous Proxy Detected" and other proxy errors

If you see this message on your computer screen, you got caught – the website you are trying to reach out to already knows you are connecting via anonymous proxies. Several things can cause it: some applications on your device revealed your IP address, and now you cannot reach geo-restricted content, or you made multiple requests from the same IP. Or simply, you are using low-quality proxies.

First, close applications before using proxies and clear cookies together with cache on your browser. If it does not help, update your rotation and choose a shorter interval per session. If you are using Smartproxy, you can easily change these parameters on our extensions. By the way, if you see other error codes while trying to reach out to your targeted web, we wrote a detailed guide on how to solve each HTTP(S) status error code.

Conclusion

Anonymous proxies are essential for web scraping, business automation, or other activities which involve the usage of multiple IP addresses. If you want a great experience, use elite proxies that do not reveal that you’re connecting through a proxy. *Spoiler alert* All IPs in the Smartproxy pool are elite – we already take your anonymity very seriously. Just try them to find out, and if you are not happy, we offer a 3-day money-back option (terms apply, of course). 

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James Keenan

Senior content writer

The automation and anonymity evangelist at Smartproxy. He believes in data freedom and everyone’s right to become a self-starter. James is here to share knowledge and help you succeed with residential proxies.

Frequently asked questions

How do anonymous proxies hide my identity?

When you are trying to reach your target destination, your request does not go straight to the website – it first sends it to the web host. Then, if everything is OK, you receive the result from the website. If you are trying to reach geo-restricted content, you'll be stopped right there by the ‘face control’. But, if you are using proxies, your request will go through the proxy server, and your original IP address will be changed. The web host will see the changed IP, and you'll be able to open the secret door. Brilliant, innit?

When to use a proxy server?

Want to speed up and automate your business processes? One of our clients saved 3.8 years of support work in six months with our proxies. Dope, right? If you want a more down-to-earth use case, you can simply increase your anonymity and bypass geo-restrictions by connecting via a proxy server. Still, those are only an iceberg of all the reasons why you should use proxies. Check our customers' success stories – we are pretty convinced you will find some great examples or even inspiration.

Are anonymous proxies bad?

In general, proxies are not malware, but they can cause some risk if used by the wrong people. You might have seen some providers bragging about their "free proxies pool." Be aware of them – using free proxies can steal your personal data or inject malware on your computer. Trusty providers, like Smartproxy, not only provide high-quality proxies but also reserve the right to investigate the proxy user's case. If the concern arises, we take appropriate actions. You can find a list of prohibited activities with our proxies here.

Is a VPN an anonymous proxy?

Not really. VPN and proxies are different things and serve different purposes. VPN secures the traffic of a single IP address, while proxies work with different tools and can use millions of IPs for various automatization and research tasks. Even though both hide your data, they have more differences than similarities.