Public vs Private Proxy Servers

It’s crucial for search engine marketers and web professionals to scrape the web without being blocked. At first glance, free public proxy servers, IP rotation services, or P2P networks look like a good solution for avoiding blocks. However, not all proxies are created equal, and it’s essential to understand the difference between public and private proxy servers to make informed decisions about which solution to use.

What is a Public Proxy?

A proxy server acts as an intermediary between your devices and the internet as a whole.

When using a proxy server, your page request runs through the proxy server first, which uses a different IP address, and then connects to the website through the proxy.

In short, the proxy acts on your behalf as a go-between for you and the internet. A public proxy, or open proxy, is accessible by anyone. Any internet user can go to the free proxy service using their browser, connect to the server, and start using the proxy.

Public vs Private Proxy Servers

Public vs Private Proxy Servers

What are the Disadvantages of Public Proxies?

Just googling “free proxy servers” will find you thousands of proxy servers.

More often than not, these services are too slow and unreliable to use. Since they are open to anyone, public proxies typically have very limited speeds and bandwidth.

Also, keep in mind that when you connect to a public proxy server, you are potentially opening up a ‘direct line’ into your company’s network.

If you don’t know who owns or manages those public proxy servers and network connections, you risk monitoring of your communications. This can lead to theft of sensitive data and can also expose your company to malware.

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch” is just as applicable in the proxy server industry. If you’re using proxy or IP rotation services, or free P2P networks that seem too good to be true, it’s likely that you’re connecting to a botnet and using other’s compromised devices without their knowledge. That opens up huge security and legal risks for your company.

Even if you’re told all the users in the network have consented, hackers may be using these networks. They may conduct sophisticated ‘man in the middle’ attacks to try and trick their way into other networks.

Peace of Mind with Private Proxy Service from Trusted Proxies

Trusted Proxies offer a wide range of solutions to meet your needs. Our premium proxy services include:

Hear from our customers or contact us to learn how Trusted Proxies can develop a custom proxy solution for your business.


Frequently Asked Questions: Public vs. Private Proxy Servers

Why Are Public Proxy Servers So Unreliable?

There’s really no such thing as a genuine, free, public proxy server.

Any company that sets up proxy servers for their own use isn’t going to make them freely available because it may compromise their security. Also, it would almost certainly become overrun because so many people are looking for free proxies.

There is a proud history in the internet world of some kind folks making resources available for free – but not always. For example, take SMTP mail servers. Abused mail servers send out zillions of spam messages, so as a result, you no longer see free public SMTP mail servers.

Any sensible network professional will secure their mail servers to prevent them from ‘relaying’ and being hijacked. The same is true for proxy servers. No genuine individual configures proxy servers and leaves them open to the public. They will quickly be exploited and overrun – and any underhanded or illegal activity carried out through them will get traced back to their organisation.

Publicly available free proxy servers are one of two things:

  • misconfigured proxies belonging to someone else
  • computers that have been compromised by hackers who have installed their own proxy server software so they can use the computers as zombies or botnets for their dubious means

In either event, the actual owner of the computer hosting the free public proxy server is not aware of it at first and is certainly not a willing host.

Why Are Public Proxy Servers So Overloaded?

As lists of compromised or misconfigured machines (otherwise known as “free public proxy servers”) circulate through the internet, more and more people start using them – like bees attracted to honey.

Very quickly, they become overused and become slow to respond. Eventually, either the machines completely crash due to overuse or the owner becomes aware they’ve been compromised and take action. One way or another, the free server is no longer available.

What Are the Advantages of Private Proxy Servers?

Private proxy servers offer a premium proxy service. These offer a number of benefits over open or shared proxies:

  • Consistency: Don’t waste time searching endless lists for free public proxy servers that work, reconfiguring your software every time you find a new public proxy server, and repeating the process every time a server goes out.
  • Legal protection: Don’t risk your company’s reputation by having your internet traffic associated with traffic generated by dubious or illegal activities. Law enforcement agencies may knock on your door if you are using the same public proxy servers as hackers or other bad actors.
  • Security: Don’t risk your privacy or company data through fake public proxy servers that may have been set up by hackers just to capture your personal or private details.
  • Peace of mind: Don’t spend your time worrying about whether or not you are making use of someone else’s computer resources without their knowledge.
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