The Basics: Types of Proxies

An internet proxy is an intermediary between any client and the server they are connecting to. Proxies can mediate connections in multiple ways and affect only certain parts of the connection. There are also various types of hardware and software that configure these proxies, each creating a unique type of proxy. This article will tell you the basics of the most popular types of proxies. Click the links in the descriptions below to read more in depth information about each type of proxy.

Proxy type: residential proxy

smartproxy residential proxy Ips
What are residential proxies? Residential proxies are by-far the best proxies for most uses, because they are IP addresses of real, physical devices. They appear as average users to all servers, and are almost impossible to detect (unless the proxy user abuses it). Using a residential proxy makes gaining access to data easy. It allows clients to avoid geographic restrictions or cloaking, the manipulative technique some sites use to provide false data to clients connecting through data center proxies.

Proxy type: data center proxy

smartproxy data center Ips copy
Data center proxies are non-physical IP addresses that are artificially created at data centers. A single server can host hundreds of data center proxies, but they will all share the server’s IP subnetwork. This means that any group of data center proxies will look very similar and will be prone to cloaking or a ban. The up-side of data center proxies is their speed, as most data centers have an enviable internet connection.

Proxy type: anonymous proxy

smartproxy anonymous proxy
Anonymous proxies forward connection requests without any information about the client. This means that an anonymous proxy connects to the target server as if it was doing it on its own. As the name suggests, anonymous proxies provide much needed anonymity for your browsing. It is the proxy type that will most reliably hide your IP and location.
Anonymous proxies denote the way this proxy handles connection requests. You could use an anonymous residential or an anonymous data center proxy. The term 'anonymous' will show the way your proxy server mediates a connection request.

Proxy type: private proxy

smartproxy private proxy
Private proxies do not deal with privacy. In this case, the word ‘private’ is a product feature. It means that the proxy can only be used by a single client at the same time. Various proxy providers use this term quite loosely: some interchange it with ‘dedicated proxies’, while others separate the two to denote a dedicated proxy that is always used by the same client, as opposed to a dedicated proxy that several clients can use, just not at the same time.
In some cases, proxy providers call their proxies ‘private’ because they require authentication, as opposed to public proxies, which are available to anyone.

Proxy type: dedicated proxy

smartproxy dedicated proxies
Dedicated proxies are the standard name for proxies that are not shared. This means that only a single user can use a dedicated proxy at any time. Proxy servers provide dedicated proxies to protect the IP address from burning out or being blocked due to overuse.

Proxy type: shared proxy

smartproxy shared proxy
Shared proxies are the types of proxies that several clients can use at any time. Shared proxies are usually the cheapest proxies, because many clients split the cost and get to use more proxies for the same price. Shared proxies need an extremely powerful network architecture because they have to mediate many connection requests at the same time. In terms of speed, our experience with building one of the fastest residential proxy networks is that speed depends more on load-balancers and the reverse proxy, not on the number of users that can use a proxy at any time.

Proxy type: public proxy

public proxies
Public proxies are readily available in online proxy lists. Public proxies are the unsafest and the most unreliable proxies. Most of them are set up by hackers or government agencies to steal data. Still, many people use public proxies because they are free. This is an unscalable approach, because you cannot expect to gather millions of public proxies every day. It also doesn’t help that public proxies ‘die’ (go offline) within minutes.
As thousands of people scour the internet in search of public proxies, finding a good, secure and uncompromised public proxy is a quest in itself.

Proxy type: SSL proxy

smartproxy ssl proxy
SSL proxies use the SSL protocol to transfer data in a more secure and anonymous way. It provides some additional protection from hackers and surveillance agencies. Our network also lets you use SSL or HTTPS proxies, which transfer any data between the proxy server and your target via HTTPS.

Proxy type: HTTP proxy

http proxy
HTTP proxies do not use the SSL protocol. These proxies have some great niche applications, that are hindered by the SSL.


Types of proxy servers

There are many types of proxy servers that are used every day by various clients and networks. We won’t go through every possible configuration here, and we’ll focus on several most popular types of proxy servers.

Proxy server type: rotating proxy server

rotating proxy server
Rotating proxy servers are the type of proxy server which changes IP addresses randomly. If the proxy server has a lot of proxies in its pool, its users can be sure that their connection requests are less noticeable. The best rotating proxy servers have a lot of residential proxies, which do not share a subnetwork. After all, rotating through IPs in the same subnetwork would be quite useless.
Rotating proxy servers also make proxy lists obsolete, because they let users acquire a massive number of proxies without listing millions of numbers into a text file.

Proxy server type: forward proxy server

smartproxy forward proxy
This is the type of proxy server that denotes all proxies that you, as an internet client, can use to access the web. Residential proxies as well as data center proxies are forward proxies that are between you and any server you are connecting to.

Proxy server type: transparent proxy server

transparent proxy
Transparent proxy servers are proxies that authenticate you on public Wi-Fi networks, work networks and any other servers. Although these types of proxy servers have their shortcomings, transparent proxies are very widely used today.
Transparent proxies do not provide any privacy or change your IP, as it forwards the whole connection request to servers you want to connect to.