A private proxy is a type of proxy that only allows a single active user connection to any IP address in its pool. Although all proxies technically mask your IP address, according to Oxylabs.io, private proxies guarantee you actually get a private IP which you don’t need to share with other users. This is important because many websites and online services will flag multiple connections from a single address as suspicious activity. If you depend on proxies to perform automated web activities, private proxies ensure your tools appear as unique human users to websites.
The Benefits and Costs of Private Proxies
Private proxies are the cream-of-the-crop of proxy types. Since you aren’t sharing the address with anyone else, the full bandwidth capacity of the connection is solely yours. This means fast speeds and minimal packet loss. You also eliminate the risk of some unknown user getting the address banned or blacklisted.
High speeds and connectivity and excellent reliability make private proxies the proxy of choice for businesses.
Modern digital marketing revolves around the use of automated web tools to collect data. This technique is called web scraping and it involves extracting data from the web for the purpose of gaining insights. Once the data is collected, it can be analyzed and used to improve business performance.
For example, web scraping tools can log into social media and collect user responses to a promotional campaign or new product. With this information in hand, a business can quickly make adjustments to their marketing tactics to capture as large an audience as possible. Travel aggregators also use web scrapers to gather ticket and hotel pricing info. These scrapers run 24/7 to ensure the data they show their users are always up-to-date.
A common tactic to gain social media traction is to create multiple throwaway accounts. These one-use accounts are then used to generate buzz around a product or brand. In order to protect the integrity of their user interactions, social media platforms employ special measures to prevent this. One such measure is detecting multiple connections from a single address. If an irregular amount of activity can be traced back to a single address, they flag it as suspicious or outright block the address. This method has the unfortunate side effect of also flagging web scraping tools.
Businesses use private proxies to get around this issue. Each web scraper is assigned to its own unique proxy address meaning websites detect each scraper as an individual user. With private proxies, businesses can continue automatically collecting the valuable data that boosts company performance.
Of course, this exclusivity comes at a price. Private proxy services are generally more expensive than shared or semi-shared connections. For companies that are built upon high-level web scraping as a key function of their business, it’s worth spending a few extra dollars a year for the benefits of a private proxy.
Shared Proxies Versus Private Proxies
Most free and budget proxy services don’t offer private proxies but rather shared proxies. Shared proxies (or public proxies), as their name suggests, serve several users at once — sometimes even thousands! This massive throughput of online traffic leads to shared proxies being generally slower and less reliable than private proxies. More connections also means the chances are great that another user will do something that results in the proxy address getting banned. With shared proxies, you’ll find yourself having to regularly switch proxy addresses to ensure stable uptime for your tools.
A Middle Ground
Semi-dedicated (or semi-private) proxies sit somewhere in the middle of shared and private proxies. Like shared proxies, they allow multiple users to connect through a shared address but limit the number of simultaneous users. By restricting the number of users using any proxy address, semi-dedicated proxies can promise stability and speed that’s comparable to private proxies at lower prices. Depending on your needs, a semi-dedicated proxy might be a worthwhile compromise if you need a budget solution that offers similar exclusivity to a private proxy.
Though far more stable than shared proxies, semi-dedicated proxies are still less reliable than private proxies. After all, you still run the risk of another user doing something that gets your proxy address banned from the sites you’re accessing. Semi-shared proxies have also recently become rather popular among scraping communities, further increasing the odds of your shared address getting banned
Private proxies limit each of their proxy IP addresses to a single active user. Businesses use private proxies because unique addresses are necessary for ensuring high-level web scrapers (and other automated web activities) remain active and functional. Shared proxies, while more affordable, allow up to thousands of users to connect through the same address. This mass traffic causes them to be slower than private proxies. The shared nature of their addresses means another user can do something that causes a proxy to be banned. This makes them less reliable than private proxies, as well.