We at VPS Proxies have been offering a free proxy list for quite some time now, but we have to be honest and say that using free proxies isn’t always a safe bet. There are times when it’s best to avoid using free proxies. This is because free proxies do not always provide the expected level of anonymity while browsing the internet and could potentially contain malicious code. They can be malicious in a variety of different ways, such as by injecting advertisements, tracking your activities, and logging your data such as phone numbers, emails, and locations.
You will fare better using alternatives such as residential proxies or data center proxies, both of which are maintained by trained professionals and are not intended in any way to cause harm.
In this article, we will delve deeper into the reasons why it is possible to be at risk when using public proxies.
Levels of anonymity provided by proxies
Proxy anonymity is extremely important to some individuals because they do not want their true identity to be exposed. These individuals do not want to be identified.
There are three different types of levels of anonymity:
Transparent proxy: does not hide your IP Address.
The term “anonymous proxy” refers to a proxy that conceals your IP address while still revealing the fact that you are using a proxy server.
Your Internet Protocol address, as well as the fact that you are making use of a proxy server, are concealed when you connect through an elite proxy.
When it comes to free proxies, especially HTTP proxies, transparent proxies pose a significant challenge. This issue is especially prevalent with HTTP proxies. At least fifty-five percent of the public HTTP proxies that we tested can be considered transparent, according to the analytics we ran on them. Your original IP address will be displayed to the target when you use a transparent proxy. Only 6% of the public HTTP proxies are anonymous, which means they will reveal to the target that you are connected to it via a proxy. Only 39% of the proxies that are shared are elite, meaning that they will not leave any traces behind that would indicate to your intended target that you are hiding behind a proxy.
If you want to maintain your anonymity online, you should make sure to use only the best proxies.
Manipulation and modification of traffic flow
People who host proxies can change the content that users see when they visit a website. These alterations have the potential to be harmful.
According to the findings of some studies, 38.21% of all HTTP proxies modify some content in some way. It’s a relief to know that only 5.15% are malicious.
Different types of proxy content modification that aren’t malicious:
Ads and trackers can both be blocked.
Different types of malicious content modification using proxies are as follows:
The practice of injecting or substituting advertisements
collecting information from users, such as their location, email addresses, and phone numbers
Monitoring the mouse and the keyboard
Cookie-based monitoring and tracking
Requesting unsafe sites
When you use a public proxy, you need to be aware that the proxy could be changing what you see on the website you’re trying to access. Certain modifications that proxies make may be more likely to cause harm than others.
The use of public proxies also presents additional challenges.
Public proxy lifespan
According to estimates derived from studies conducted at the University of Washington, each public proxy may be consuming up to 300 MB of data every single second. Because it takes a significant amount of time and resources to run an open proxy, their lifespan is typically very limited. It is estimated that the median amount of time that a free proxy will remain operational is only seven days.
The practice of blacklisting public proxies
Another significant drawback of using public proxies is the increased likelihood of getting blacklisted from well-known websites.
This is due to two primary reasons, which are as follows:
These websites make use of a service that can detect when proxies are being used. This can be found very quickly given that the proxies are available to the general public.
Other people frequently use proxies to access the website, which results in those people being denied access to the website.
Because free proxies are quickly blacklisted from many targets, it’s possible that they won’t be of much use to you. As a result, you might want to look into some alternatives to free proxies.
Other options besides using free proxies
What option should you go with given that free proxies aren’t necessarily the best choice most of the time? It is dependent on the particular use case that you have.
Other proxy categories generally fall into one of two categories:
Proxies managed by experts within a data center are referred to as data center proxies.
Residential proxies are IP addresses from homes that have been combined into a proxy network.
When is the appropriate time to use them?
Datacenter proxies are typically characterized by a quicker response time and an increased bandwidth in comparison to their counterparts because they are managed by trained professionals.
The majority of data center proxy service providers set their prices based on the number of proxies rather than the volume of traffic their customers use.
The following are some situations in which you should think about using data center proxies:
It is extremely unlikely that the target will immediately ban you on a particular IP address.
Although you have a limited budget, you use a significant amount of traffic. The traffic that you use can frequently be unlimited or purchased at a low cost with data center proxies.
Residential proxies are more expensive than other types, and their cost is frequently determined by the volume of traffic that a user generates; however, using these proxies puts users at a lower risk of being banned.
If any of the following situations applies to you, you should opt to use residential proxies:
When the target website detects that you are using a bot, it will immediately ban you.
Your time is valuable, and you cannot afford to be delayed for an extended period if this happens to you.
You require proxies from a particular country or city, which are unavailable from the data center proxies that are being provided to you.
Additional benefits of using residential proxies include the following:
You will have access to a pool consisting of millions of IP addresses located in different parts of the world.
Your target does not realize that you are connecting through a proxy; it believes that you are a normal user.
In the majority of instances, we would recommend that you avoid utilizing free public proxies and instead opt for alternatives such as data center proxies or residential proxies. The majority of free proxies are not secure for the following two reasons: either they do not protect your anonymity or they are engaging in some form of malicious activity with your web browsing activity.