What is a Proxy

The short answer: a proxy is an intermediary server between two devices on a network. There are many types of proxies: some change your IP address and protect your identity, while others authenticate users on Wi-Fi networks. Read on to get a full grasp of how proxies work, and why people use them.





What is a proxy


A proxy is server that acts like a gateway or intermediary between any device and the rest of the internet. A proxy accepts and forwards connection requests, then returns data for those requests. This is the basic definition, which is quite limited, because there are dozens of unique proxy types with their own distinct configurations.




Smartproxy network explained


Proxies make up our websites, online services, and other networks. People use proxies for many things: most proxies can change your IP address, while others can protect large websites or simply authenticate public Wi-Fi users.








People use proxies to:


Avoid Geo-restrictions

Avoid Geo-restrictions

Many websites limit access to some geographic regions. They detect locations by checking the IP addresses of every device that tries to connect to their servers. People use good proxy servers to hide their IP address and change it to the proxy server's IP. This means that anyone using a high quality US proxy can access any US-only content without restrictions.

proxies to Protect Privacy and Increase Security

Protect Privacy and Increase Security

The internet has become a dangerous place, and people are looking for ways to use services privately and not give away any sensitive information. Your IP address is some of the most vulnerable information about you, as it pinpoints your location and internet service provider. In some sense, browsing the internet with your IP address in the open is the same as displaying your social security number or passport everywhere you go, because hackers can use any IP address to track you or break into your device. Proxies put a stop to this violation of privacy and hide the IP.

Avoid Firewalls and Bans

Avoid Firewalls and Bans

Schools, workplaces and even some countries block certain websites. Their firewalls and blocks have no effect on proxies, so you can connect to a proxy server and use it to connect to Instagram , Reddit or Twitter with ease. This works, because the firewall does not detect your true goal, it just detects that you are connecting to the proxy IP address. The proxy server then connects to the site you want and sends the information back to your device. The firewall once again cannot detect the true origin of that content, as it seems like coming from the proxy.

Automate Online Processes

Automate Online Processes

Automation and higher efficiency is on everyone's mind these days. As the internet expands in leaps and bounds, it is impossible to do some things manually. For example, you cannot run a travel planning company without a script that automatically checks every flight service's prices. Those same flight services have to protect their servers from malicious attacks, so your IP gets banned after the first hundred of connections. This is when you can use a proxy network to automate the process.

Accounts and Gather Data

Use Multiple Accounts and Gather Data

Marketing agencies, SEO companies and business consultancies usually have hundreds of accounts to manage on a daily basis. This includes managing hundreds of Facebook accounts or doing thousands of search engine queries. It is simply impossible to do from a single IP address, because both Facebook and Google strictly limit connections from any IP address. Only robust proxy networks let these businesses scale their services beyond a handful of clients.






What are the most popular types of proxies:


residential proxy network

Residential proxies

Residential proxies are the highest quality proxies, because they look like real mobile or desktop devices. Actually, they ARE real devices. Each residential IP is a device that acts as a proxy server. To any site, traffic coming from residential proxies look like you and me. Even if you 'abuse' a residential proxy and a server blocks it, you can use another residential proxy from the same server without any issues – residential proxies are immune to blocks en masse.

data center proxy network

Datacenter proxies

Datacenter proxies are virtual IP addresses created in powerful server hubs. They do not have any internet service provider information associated with them. These proxies are often banned, as their connections look like fake internet traffic. They have a bad wrap because of how often datacenter proxies are used for DDoS attacks. These proxies also share a subnetwork (for example, a C class sub network is represented by number 14 in these IP addresses: 65.78.14.1, 65.78.14.50), which makes them unusable in large numbers, because any server can establish a block for the whole subnetwork. The one redeeming quality of datacenter proxies is that, usually, they are a lot faster than other proxies.

Anonymous proxies

Anonymous proxies

An anonymous proxy is the type of proxy that does not send your identification information to your target server. It pretends to be the actual user, as opposed to a non-anonymous proxy, which notifies servers about it being a proxy. Both datacenter and residential proxies can be anonymous. It's safe to say that anonymous proxies are the most common standard for proxies these days, as more and more people recognize data security concerns.

Transparent proxies

Transparent proxies

Transparent proxies do not change a client's IP address. They usually sit between devices in a public Wi-Fi network and the internet. Transparent proxies most often act as gatekeeper proxies that authenticate users and give them access to the network. They are very prevalent in public places like airports. Nevertheless, transparent proxies face some criticism due to serious security vulnerabilities and succeptability to man-in-the-middle attacks.






Proxies are compatible with:


Every major browser, including IE, FireFox, Safari and Chrome, is compatible with proxies. iPhones and Android devices also can use a proxy. Whether you choose to use proxies on your device or your browser, the proxy setup will take just a couple of simple steps. Click any icon below to view proxy setup settings you need.

chrome Smartproxy configuration

Chrome

android Smartproxy configuration

Android

iphone Smartproxy configuration

iPhone

foxyproxy Smartproxy configuration

Foxy Proxy

firefox Smartproxy configuration

Firefox

internet explorer Smartproxy configuration

Internet
Explorer

safari Smartproxy configuration

Safari

Smartproxy configuration ghost

Ghost






How to Start Using Proxies

Setting up a proxy doesn't take more than a minute or two. Simply select your browser or device from the list above to see their proxy settings .




Smartproxy Proxies Works


If you want to try our proxy network with a three day money back guarantee, simply register and select any plan right now.




get Smartproxy plan


Our proxy network lets you choose which of the 195+ locations you want to connect to, and whether you want to use a single IP address (a sticky session) or a random IP for each connection.




How Smartproxy Proxy network Work


If you want to set up a particular bot or scraper, check out our helpful guides here .