You might already know that you and your company are not by default safe and anonymous online. Your competitors might actually be tracking your activities. Your IP address could be getting tracked. Your logs might be getting recorded, and the list is endless.
In this digital age, it is the need of the hour that you hide your IP address to hide your real identity and to prevent your activities from getting traced. So how do you hide your IP address? Well, using a proxy is the answer.
A proxy server is a pseudo server between your computer or network and the destination server, such that every request that originates on your computer passes through the proxy server first. Similarly, all the information provided by the destination server reaches your computer through this proxy server.
In this process, the IP address of your server remains hidden, and only the address of the proxy server is shared.
So, What Are Shared Proxies?
As the name indicates, a shared proxy is shared between two or more people simultaneously. They help you bypass most filters on the web and generally prove to be cost-effective.
Now that we are talking about shared proxies, it is important to mention about semi-dedicated proxies as well. A semi-dedicated proxy is similar to a shared proxy, but the number of users who can share this proxy is limited. More often than not, only a few users are allowed to access a semi-dedicated proxy. This is why they provide better performance and speed when compared to a shared proxy.
The Benefits offered by Shared Proxies
These are some of the benefits that shared proxies offer:
When compared to dedicated proxies, shared proxies are less expensive. This is because the providers are able to make up for the expenses incurred by them from different users that use the proxy at a given point in time.
- Compatible with most scraping tools
Shared proxies can allow you to scrape most websites, until and unless they get banned or flagged.
It is important to mention here that shared proxies offer a high level of anonymity. This is because these proxies are accessed by a large number of users at the same time, and it becomes impossible for the target server to identify a single user and flag it.
Cons of Shared Proxies
Although shared proxies offer a range of advantages, their limitations and drawbacks far outweigh their pros. Here are a few points that you must know about:
- Lagging performance
Contrary to dedicated proxies that are used by a single user at a time, shared proxies are used by an array of users. This takes a toll on their bandwidth as their performance is shared with other users.
Thus, if you are using a shared proxy to scrape a large portal or marketplace, things could prove to be slow, and inefficient.
- The bad neighbor effect
Shared proxies are often associated with a phenomenon called the bad neighbor effect. When you are using a shared proxy, the chances are high that it will be used by a bunch of other people. And there is going to be at least one out of them who would be doing something illegal. This leads to the IP address getting banned and hurts its reputation.
Thus, if you are using a shared proxy, the chances of it getting blocked or banned are quite higher.
Since the shared proxy is used by multiple people at a time, and if they all try to use Google at the same time, the activity might be considered to be spam, and Google often ends up responding by displaying a captcha message.
Are Shared Proxies Safe?
All the points that we discussed in this article make it easy to conclude that shared proxies are not safe. They could expose you to a range of vulnerabilities, and loopholes. They are slow when it comes to accessing a website as their bandwidth is shared between two or more users. Additionally, they are more likely to get banned and flagged due to the illegal activities of others.
What’s more, Google might treat them as spam, which will end up hurting your business operations. All in all, shared proxies are not the right pick for your business. However, if you still want to use shared proxies, and if your needs do not demand anything fancy (think of dedicated proxies), it is highly recommended to obtain them from a trusted provider to be on the safer side.
What are your views on this? How was your experience with shared proxies? Let us know in the comments below.