Are you ready to take advantage of proxies to increase your company’s perspectives and revenues? Or have you heard all those crazy myths ‘revealing’ just how unsafe and unreliable proxies can be for business cases?
If you are not familiar with proxies, especially for business applications, you may not consider these solutions as the tools your company would favor to obtain valuable data from the online space.
Since proxy servers already proved their worth for a great number of companies, from emerging startups to major enterprises, those less familiar with this area of expertise may be amazed to find out that users can easily take advantage of proxies to extract business-related content for marketing, sales, social media, software development, and SEO.
The applications do not stop here if we understand that proxy server products can help both firms and regular people to obtain information from a large variety of websites while making sure users manage to access data even from geo-restricted sources.
Proxies represent a reliable solution as they offer the necessary guarantees for users looking to obtain the required content in complete privacy and security. After all, you wouldn’t want competitors to know you’ve been scraping their websites and blogs for the last weeks.
Let’s discover together some of the most popular myths about proxy server solutions that usually keep companies away from taking full advantage of the best available tools to obtain business data.
Proxy servers are not all the same. If we are talking about free public proxies that are shared by multiple people, we may indeed experience a limited download speed as the bandwidth is shared with more individuals.
However, the quality of proxy servers depends very much on the company providing the proxies as the two factors are strongly correlated.
For this reason, we recommend users to take advantage of high-quality proxies delivered by a reliable provider who took the time to build a proxy network that can be accessed by both retail and business users for a great number of use cases.
Normally, a reliable proxy provider is aware of the most popular business cases for companies and is ready to deliver high-quality residential proxies which offer great bandwidth and stable web scraping sessions.
The idea that proxies are slow is just a myth as users always choose these tools when they need to obtain a good amount of content fast and without getting blocked or restricted by the targeted websites.
However, if we are to play the devil’s advocate, we can observe that in some particular cases where users need to go online with residential IPs from a region that is not popular for its Internet velocity, they will have to respect the local network speed. But that is absolutely normal and it has nothing to do with the quality of proxies.
This is another myth that appeared due to people using the free public proxies for a variety of reasons, from normal browsing to accessing more or less legitimate stuff.
Since public proxies can be used by anyone online, it’s quite normal to have these IP addresses put under scrutiny and easily detected or blocked by web administrators who are serious about online security.
Since these proxies utilize a number of IP addresses delivered by data centers, they can be easily detected and restricted from further access.
Furthermore, we have to emphasize that we can equally have cases where users who go online with free online proxies - to obtain business intelligence for projects - receive inaccurate information, an element which is difficult to counteract.
To avoid getting blocked or receiving misleading content, users should try to steer clear of free proxies when they’re engaged in demanding scraping jobs, especially when targeting websites controlled by major companies.
Most of the time, the hard-to-scrape sites supported by major brands in the online space have the financial muscle to acquire & install the latest protection tools that would keep them safe from all types of web-based intrusions.
So, is there any method to obtain the online data without getting blocked?
Companies involved in data extraction jobs that require valuable business-related content always prefer to appeal to the special power of rotating residential proxies to make sure they manage to access the targeted information fast and in complete privacy.
Since these types of proxies benefit from residential IP addresses that belong to local users and are connected to a geographical location, they provide several coordinates which include the country, the city, the name of the Internet Service Provider, etc.
Therefore, a residential proxy offers a company the appearance of a normal user who browses online for various reasons.
Companies that take advantage of residential proxies manage to connect from any place in the world to remain completely anonymous as the online requests appear as legitimate actions completed by normal individuals.
Furthermore, if we add into the picture the rotating residential proxies that change the exit IP addresses on a regular basis, users make sure they will never be restricted from accessing the targeted data while keeping their genuine IPs hidden.
Since public proxies have been abused over the years by shady individuals involved in malicious activities, they’ve come to be associated with hackers and illegal endeavors.
Thus, it has become somehow natural for many users to consider that proxies are not allowed by the law, especially for business applications.
At the same time, due to the public perception that proxies use some sort of advanced technology that should be illegal, companies interested in protecting their good names displayed a certain reserve initially in adopting these amazing tools to obtain web content.
However, right now, in most countries of the world proxies are legal tools that can be used without any legal issues.
Now, when we talk about the legal aspect of using proxies we are obviously referring to the democratic countries that respect the rule of law and do not try to control or deter citizens from speaking their minds.
So, individuals looking to use proxies in countries such as China should display a high level of ‘self-preservation’, so to speak, and check the local regulations before engaging in online activities that involve proxy server solutions.
This is a widespread myth occurring among companies that are afraid a proxy may act as some kind of malicious software targeting internal private data.
The idea comes once again from people using the free proxies who got infected with malicious software.
To avoid any possible trouble, it is recommended to acquire proxy server solutions from reputable companies that provide high-quality residential proxies which offer the necessary guarantees to users looking to obtain publicly available content from legal sources.
At the same time, people who choose a proxy provider should make sure the company complies with the established data protection regulations.
There’s more than meets the eye when we talk about proxies and their usefulness for businesses.
Some people may argue that proxies are great only for circumventing online barriers that are designed by public or private entities to keep people away from accessing some online resources.
However, proxies are reliable tools that can be employed by companies involved in a large spectrum of business ventures.
For instance, proxies work very well in the following areas:
If we are to approach the idea of online privacy by looking to find tools that can keep us safe, it is generally difficult to find a single solution that can solve all our security needs.
That’s why, when we compare VPN and proxy solutions, we have to look at the context and consider the exact purpose these tools are fulfilling so that we may better understand when to go online with a VPN and when to use a proxy.
A proxy server solution, for instance, is specially designed to intercept and redirect the online traffic between a user’s system and the visited websites. When this redirection takes place, the user will actually connect to the site of interest via an intermediary door that provides its own IP address.
In consequence, the user will access the targeted website with a different IP managing to obtain online information in complete privacy and without revealing the real IP address.
At the same time, with high-quality proxy servers at hand - especially proxies using residential IPs from home network users - it becomes possible for users to access geo-restricted websites from areas of the world that are normally out of reach.
Finally, when users don’t have to target difficult-to-scrape websites and require a high amount of data, they may appeal to proxies that use reliable static residential IP addresses. Static residential proxies may not be ‘better’ than the rotating residential ones, but they are faster, cheaper, and offer greater stability.
Now, if we are to look at VPN solutions, we have to notice that these products play a different role in user’s privacy and security.
A Virtual Private Network is meant to protect all user messages by encrypting the entire communication between a system and a remote server. A VPN is considered a safe solution as it creates a secure pathway between devices while encrypting all user data in the process.
A VPN is usually considered for work-related cases, where an employee needs to connect from a remote location to the company’s servers and requires a secure channel in order to keep confidential information safe from prying eyes in the online space.
For the same reasons, VPN solutions are loved by people living in authoritarian regimes where the Internet is put under surveillance. As these people need to communicate and spread their ideas, they are most of the time tracked down by the local enforcement agencies.
You got the picture, a VPN is one of the best methods to remain hidden in the online space.
Now, if we are to get back to proxies and discuss the main reasons they are employed by companies, we would notice that businesses prefer proxies for targeting and downloading a large variety of data for a great number of use cases.
Could companies obtain the same results with VPN solutions?
Not really. VPN solutions have been designed for safe access to data, rather than data extraction.
For scraping web content for business purposes, proxies remain the ideal weapons of choice.
For a comparison between proxies and VPNs, you can check our dedicated blog post.
And this is not a myth.
Since proxies have been surrounded by so many legends over the years, it is usually not an easy task to reveal the true benefits for companies.
Most of the myths we worked to dismantle have been propagated by users that employed free public proxies for a limited number of applications, usually accessing questionable sites.
In addition, the same individuals have been affected over the years by the malicious software that plagued the public proxy servers.
Therefore, it is no wonder to see that proxies are generally considered unreliable, fishy, and even dangerous, especially by those who want to obtain vital information for the benefit of their companies.
To avoid any online dangers or technical issues, we recommend users to take advantage of solutions from reliable providers and always pay for high-quality proxies that can deliver the right type of business-related content.
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Shifter was founded in 2012, as one of the first residential proxy providers, since then it has become one of the leading proxy networks in the world and it's used by more than 25.000 clients including Fortune 500 Companies. Users can connect from anywhere to access local data without any restriction, while preserving a high degree of privacy and security.