When choosing a proxy provider, their promised features are crucial to the decision-making process. This article discusses what you should look for when choosing a provider, including whether the amount of IPs matters.
What is a Proxy Server
A proxy server or proxy is intermediate hardware that intercepts communication between a web server and a web client or web app. As an intermediary, it routes outgoing web requests, i.e., HTTP and HTTPS requests sent by the web client, before sending them to the target web server. Similarly, web servers’ responses are channeled through the proxy before reaching the client. Underlying the operations of the proxy are automated commands that change the web client’s real IP address and assign a different IP that is provided by the proxy service provider. By assigning a different IP address, proxies promote online anonymity and privacy.
These benefits, as well as their capabilities, make proxies ideal for:
● Web scraping
● Accessing geo-blocked content
● Ad verification
● Social media management
● Cybersecurity (to protect your network or servers from cyber-attacks)
● Blocking access to certain websites
● Anonymous web browsing
What to Consider when Choosing a Proxy Provider
To successfully use a proxy for any of these applications, you must have chosen a reliable and quality service provider. What criteria should you use when selecting one? Here are a few factors you should consider:
1. 24/7 Customer Support
If you are not technically inclined, you are likely to face a few issues when setting up a proxy. Similarly, issues can arise during the course of your usage, regardless of whether or not you have a technical background. In such instances, access to customer support is crucial. And given that these issues are unpredictable, choosing a provider that offers 24/7 customer support is important.
The proxy should be available as and when required. This means that you should go with a provider that promises – and provides – near 100% service uptime. They should also offer a high rate of success.
3. Integration with Third-Party Software
Proxies are not used in isolation. Instead, they are used in web scraping, web browsing, social media management, and more. Thus, the provider should support integration with third-party software. In fact, a good provider includes documentation that details how you can go about integrating their proxies with your desired software.
4. IP Pool
The amount of IP addresses accessible to users indeed matters. To understand this fact, let’s look at it through the lens of social media management and marketing. Assuming there are several social media managers who, though working independently, use the same account management applications. If all of them procure a shared proxy, with the provider then assigning them the same IP address, the social media website’s servers will simply see that they are all located in the same location and logging in from the same device. As a result, their accounts will likely get flagged. The problem is further compounded if the managers and marketers are seen to be sharing the same IP address.
However, if the marketers and managers instead used dedicated proxies, their respective accounts would not be exposed to potential account blocks. This is because the servers will see that they are in different locations and are using different devices. Additionally, if the managers manage multiple accounts within the same platform, they will need to log in using different IP addresses. But this is contingent on the provider having a wide pool of IP addresses from which to choose. The number of IP addresses, therefore, gives users a wide array of possible alternatives.
5. Number of Proxy Locations
However, a large IP pool would make little sense if the addresses were only drawn from one country. Thus, the size goes hand in hand with the number of proxy locations. A good provider should have proxies from tens of locations. This helps them appeal to an international market. It also enables their customers to route traffic through servers located in other countries, which, in turn, allows them to bypass geo-restricted content or verify ads. If a marketer, company, or individual user wants to access the Mexican market, for instance, they can use a proxy Mexico. The same goes for other countries as well.
There is a consensus that, while important, the size of the IP pool should not be the only determining factor when choosing a proxy provider. In fact, a provider with the largest number of IP proxies may not necessarily be the best. This is especially so if they do not offer other features. Thus, you should also look at such features and capabilities as 24/7 customer support, reliability (uptime), integration with third-party software, IP pool size, and the number of proxy locations. The number of IPs goes hand in hand with the number of proxy locations. If a user wants to access otherwise geo-restricted content in Mexico, for instance, they would want a service provider that provides a proxy Mexico.