The choice of proxies that are available across the world is increasing at a huge race. Never before has there been such a wide variety, yet of course this increase hasn’t always come with a corresponding rise in quality though. For every great company with skilled staff, great infrastructure and knowledgeable support there a host of terrible services set up on a shoe string simply designed to make a fast buck.
Simply put there’s more and more proxies that should be avoided at all cost. Just using any old proxy won’t achieve much and if you use the wrong ones they will cause you a lot of harm too. Using a decent proxy service can certainly enhance your security, protect your privacy or expand your online business yet it can also achieve the opposite result too.
The worse case scenario for any proxy is it being hacked or controlled by criminals, which happens more often that you would expect.
Certainly among ‘free proxies’ a large proportion of them have been set up with one intent, to steal your both your details and ultimately you’re money.
It makes sense really why should someone take ages to try and hack into your computers and devices, when there’s another easier option. Simply set up a proxy server (or hack one) and then harvest all the personal data that is sent through it. Even if they’re careful and don’t use the service for any confidential matters there’s numerous opportunities for injecting viruses or redirecting your connections. Opening up a free proxy for use literally brings victims to the criminals instead of the other way around.
Don’t Ever Use Free Proxies for any reason whatsoever!
It’s simply not worth it, not all of these proxies are compromised but you’ll never be certain until something bad happens. The risk to your anonymity, privacy and data is much, much higher than any potential protection it offers you.
If you’re using it to access or manage on a specific site, then the risk of a free proxy is even worse. You’re almost guaranteed that these proxies will have been used to spam or manipulate on these sites already. They will have blacklisted addresses and your account will follow if you use them.
Choosing the Right Proxy Depends on the Task
What is crucial is that you use the right type of proxy for the specific task you’re trying to accomplish.
For example …… the proxy/VPN service is have been using for longest is called Identity Cloaker. It’s program I have been using for nearly 15 years now and I’m very happy to stay subscribed to it. However it’s certainly not ideal for all purposes and using it in the wrong circumstances could be disastrous.
So what do I use Identity Cloaker for?
- Anonymity/Privacy – it uses secure servers and has a high level of encryption. It also had lots of advanced options for bypassing content filters and blocks.
- Watching British TV – it’s well configured and difficult to detect. There are lots of British based endpoints which make it perfect for streaming BBC iPlayer from outside the UK.
- Security – this program has the capacity to encrypt certain parts of my connection and not others. So I can encrypt my email client and a specific browser whilst leaving other connections unaffected – normally a VPN is all or nothing.
Yet there is a crucial aspect to Identity Cloaker that would make it a very bad choice for other proxy based tasks – e.g managing Instagram accounts. Most of the large social platforms spend a lot of money trying to detect the use of proxies and VPN to promote and manage accounts for a variety of reasons.
None of them would be able to detect the use of Identity Cloaker directly however using it would cause you problems in managing multiple Instagram accounts for example. It’s not the service or servers directly,
It’s All About the IP Addresses
This is literally the most important of any proxy or proxy/VPN hybrid presuming of course it’s not run by criminals or 15 year old schoolboys. When you use a proxy, you take on that persona – your digital identity becomes the same as the server you’re using.
Think carefully about what this means especially if you’re using them to manage important accounts on various platforms. If the proxy is used by spammers and criminals, the IP addresses are going to be blacklisted and so will your accounts.
It’s certainly not the way to conduct an online business, well at least not a legitimate one. Indeed one of the simplest ways to get accounts banned or blacklisted is to use an IP address that’s already marked. Trying to buy tickets or goods from an online retailer using the same IP addresses used by credit card fraudsters is obviously not a smart idea either.
Of course, this generally is difficult to assess as you’re unlikely to be able to determine who’s using a proxy server with you. The only guaranteed way is to check the history beforehand and then shell out for a dedicated server where you’re the only one using the proxy. This is of course very expensive as it radically increases the cost to the provider.
Choose Proxy Providers and IP Type Carefully
Generally the better providers will monitor these concerns for you. If you use free or very cheap providers then it’s much more likely to be used for disreputable purposes. The high end proxy providers like Rotating Proxies realise that their service is only as good as the IP addresses it provides.
This is especially important when you’re using residential proxies as these addresses are difficult and expensive to maintain. If you allow people to abuse them then they quickly lose their value and become worthless. Also proxies with mobile IP addresses which although much more resilient to abuse due to their nature, they’re still hard to obtain.
Specialist IP Proxies like residential or mobile proxies will cost more simply because of the effort required. They are generally worth it if you’re managing multiple social media accounts or have e-commerce requirements. All the pro’s use them with Bots for sneakers and Ticketmaster for instance. They have even come down in price quite a lot because providers have developed technology like backconnect proxies which can automatically share and cycle through IP address pools.
For many tasks these addresses aren’t necessary though, most of the online media sites don’t differentiate between IP address classification at the moment, although this might change. The only media firm that does block access is Netflix which requires a residential or mobile IP address to connect successfully.
If you’re seeking to simply keep your connection secure and avoid having your web activity logged then there’s no specific requirement and cheaper datacenter proxies should suffice. In these situations the security of the server and the level of encryption is more important than where the IP address is registered to. Remember though if you’re using them to bypass geo-blocks then you’ll have to use a server in the right country though.