Proxy servers come in different forms as they vary based on their location, how they handle traffic, the anonymity level they provide, the IP they use, and more.
Therefore, examining your specific needs and reviewing our list of proxy types when deciding which one to get is crucial to ensuring optimal internet protection.
Keep on reading to find out more!
Types of Proxies Based on Traffic Flow
Depending on whether they are set up on the client’s side as outgoing or the server’s side as incoming, there are two categories of proxies: forward and reverse.
1. Forward Proxy – Hides Your Identity
These proxies serve on behalf of the original client, and they take all inbound traffic and forward it to the final destination. They are used to mask the IP address of the initial requests to retrieve resources from public networks anonymously.
2. Reverse Proxy – Speeds Up Load Times
On the other hand, reverse proxies protect the end servers and distribute the load to all the servers equally. They are also the first line of defense against DDoS attacks meant to overwhelm servers. Some of their additional tasks include caching, authentication, decryption, compression, and content optimization.
Types of Proxies Based on Level of Anonymity
Another crucial factor when choosing a proxy is the anonymity level you are afforded by the server, which hides the headers you send out differently. They forward all headers from your requests, some of them, or remove or change the information altogether.
1. Level 3 Transparent Proxy – Faster Website Retrieval
These proxies were not designed to protect the requester’s identity but restrict access to certain types of content and increase browsing speed by caching commonly visited sites. For that reason, transparent proxies forward the user’s IP address and reveal their nature.
2. Level 2 Anonymous Proxy – Faster Web Browsing
Also known as distorting proxies, Level 2 anonymous proxies hide your true IP address and location but reveal that you are using a proxy to access the Internet. Despite that, they are still quite common on the web as they are fast for everyday use.
3. Level 1 Elite Proxy – High Anonymity Level
If you are looking for the best anonymity and security, you should go for an elite Level 1 proxy that hides both your IP address and the fact that you are using a proxy so that they appear as real users accessing the end server. They are doing that by removing the ‘Via’ field in the HTTP header of your requests.
Types of Proxies Based on IP Location
The IP address your proxy server provides can come from different locations—another important classification factor separating proxies into several types.
1. Data Center Proxy – For Quick and Short Tasks
As the name suggests, data center proxies get all their IPs from large server farms, which improves their speed but increases their chances of getting blocked when implemented for data-intensive tasks. However, they do come at better prices.
2. Residential Proxy – For Geo-Location Masking
If you want to disguise yourself as a real internet user, you need a residential proxy that provides IP addresses from ISPs. These proxies allow you to carry out your internet tasks without fear of being blacklisted since websites perceive you as a genuine requester, making them the perfect choice for accessing protected web pages.
3. Mobile Proxy – For Mobile Ads and App Testing
Mobile proxies, aka 3G and 4G proxies, are a subset of the residential type since they offer IPs from residential mobile users. They hide the source IP using a network of mobile addresses, so you will be recognized as a mobile user even if you access an end server via a desktop machine. Because of that, their main use is testing mobile ads, apps, and various experiences when designing different mobile products.
Types of Proxies Based on Protocol
Since proxies can intercept requests and responses, they can protect and improve different network protocols on an application level.
1. HTTPS (SSL) Proxy – Cyber Security
All modern websites and services use the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to establish encrypted links between clients and servers. Therefore, proxies with SSL features are the most secure type as they encrypt and decrypt all the data that passes through them.
2. HTTP Proxy — Sneaker Copping
While HTTP is still the most frequent protocol used on the Internet, it’s being phased out since it lacks security features (sends traffic in plain text). Therefore, those working with sensitive information should avoid these cheaper HTTP proxies, which still prove useful in certain cases, such as sneaker copping, i.e., purchasing a stock of limited edition shoes.
3. SOCKS5 Proxy — Streaming, Gaming, Torrenting
Working on a lower level than HTTP(S) proxies, the SOCKS5 proxy servers simply transmit data without reading them. As a result, they can successfully handle all kinds of traffic, including gaming, streaming, torrenting, etc. Best of all, they also support the UDP protocol, so they can send unencrypted data much faster than the secure TCP protocol.
Types of Proxies Based on Specific Applications
Some proxies have been designed to work under unique circumstances, such as taking on the responsibilities of DNS servers or acting as mail transfer intermediaries.
1. DNS Proxy – Better Speed and Performance
DNS proxies can function as DNS servers and query forwarders as they can be used to cache and forward queries—at an increased speed and performance too! Some smart DNS proxies also allow you to unblock websites, similar to VPN services.
2. SMTP Proxy – Anti-Spam Features
If you are receiving spam or malware, you can use a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) proxy that functions as your mail transfer intermediary. In practice, SMTP proxies are used to filter incoming and outgoing email traffic and limit its rate.
3. TOR Onion Proxy – Secure Internet Surfing
You might have heard of the TOR network of decentralized volunteer servers that provide anonymity. However, to hide your entry TOR route and the exit node, you must still use an additional proxy server to hide your connection points completely.
4. SEO Proxy – Anonymous SEO Campaigns
This type of residential rotating proxy is perfect for large-scale SEO operations that require anonymity, speed, and reliability. After all, SEO-based web scraping must be hidden behind authentic IP addresses, lest target sites block the IP source. Best of all, you can use this type of proxy with various SEO tools that simulate traffic and analyze your competition.
Types of Proxies Based on Service
Depending on how many users are using the same IP address(es) provided by proxy services, there are three main types of proxies. Let’s check them out.
1. Public Proxy – Free to Use by Everyone
These open proxies are typically published on free proxy server sites, and you can use them as you wish. Still, they come with many disadvantages: they are unreliable, slow, and insecure. So the one advantage they have (free of cost) is far outweighed by the cons.
2. Private Proxy – Dedicated to One User
If you are looking for reliability (no connection disruptions), optimal speeds (minimal connection impact), and security (you know who is receiving your data), then you should choose a private proxy provider. However, you have to be ready to pay a monthly subscription for this kind of service. At least you’ll be getting additional features with it.
3. Shared Proxy – Used by a Group of Users
You can spend less and get a mix of both types as well, i.e., a shared proxy. This option is a cheaper alternative to private proxies as it is offered by private providers to a group of users. The benefits include security and reliability, but the speed may be affected since multiple users are using the same IP address.
Types of Proxies Based on Rotation
Depending on whether or not the proxy server changes its IP address, we have static and rotating proxies, as explained below.
1. Static Proxy — Simulates a Single Unique User
This type of proxy service hides your IP behind a single residential IP address. That way, you appear like a unique and real visitor while retaining your anonymity. On the downside, you can only access content available in the proxy IP location.
3. Rotating Proxy – Employs a Pool of Unrelated IPs
If you need a global network of IPs for a certain reason, such as web scraping, you need to get a rotating proxy service that hides your identity behind a huge pool of proxies. When using a rotating proxy, you will be assigned a new IP when establishing new connections or after a certain time passes.
So many different types of proxy servers, right? The selection is overwhelming because every user has specific demands requiring a unique proxy setup. To help you make the right choice, we separated the proxy types into several categories based on their usage and characteristics. So read carefully to pick the