HTTP Vs HTTPS Proxies
If you're just getting into proxies, you've probably heard terms such as "HTTP" and "HTTPS" and wondered what the difference is. Don't worry, things can get confusing pretty quickly, even for seasoned industry veterans. The main reason anyone uses a proxy is to improve security and to surf anonymously. However, using the wrong type of proxy server could downgrade your privacy or cause compatibility issues and other problems.
Today, we'll go over what an HTTP proxy is, the most common types of HTTP proxies, and the difference between HTTP and HTTPS proxy servers.
All You Need to Know About HTTP and HTTPS Proxies
HTTP (short for HyperText Transfer Protocol) is the standard protocol we use to access the internet. An HTTP proxy acts as an intermediary between our device and a web server we're trying to reach, be it a website, online app, video game, streaming service, or anything else. Here's how a connection works when using an HTTP proxy:
- When you send a request to a server, it goes to the proxy first as plain text.
- The proxy processes the request and sends a new one, masking your IP address with its own.
- The website receives the request and sends a response to the proxy server.
- Finally, your proxy server forwards this data back to you.
Many people think these extra steps can significantly slow down the communication between a device and the rest of the internet. That's simply not true. With a premium proxy, it only takes milliseconds. In other words, you don't even notice it's there!
Most Common Types of HTTP Proxy Servers
Here are the three types of HTTP proxies you might come across. The key differences between them come down to the anonymity level they provide.
- Anonymous proxy
Many use this type of proxy server to hide their IP address, so you'll often run into it as a part of a free VPN or proxy service. Essentially, it replaces your IP with its own for every request you make. It's important to note that it also identifies itself as a proxy when communicating with other servers, which can cause problems.
If you're looking to access a site that is not available in your region, an anonymous proxy won't work. Also, you won't be able to use it to access websites, apps, games, or streaming services that don't support (or allow) proxy servers.
- Highly anonymous proxy (elite proxy)
This type of proxy server also hides your IP address and replaces it with its own, just like an anonymous proxy does. However, elite proxies take things to the next level because they don't "introduce themselves" as proxies. Not only that, but they also use all available techniques to avoid getting recognized as proxies.
A highly anonymous proxy will keep your browsing private, that's for sure. However, it's still not the best option for tasks that involve sensitive information (like financial transactions) because you're still sending your data through the unprotected HTTP protocol. With that in mind, elite proxies work great for accessing different types of geo-restricted content.
- Transparent proxy
Education institutions, companies, and governments often use transparent proxies to restrict access to specific websites. They don't require any credentials and they work 24/7. If you've ever used a school or work laptop to visit YouTube or play a quick online game, a transparent proxy has probably gotten in your way.
As the name suggests, transparent proxies don't modify your requests. Every online server you communicate with sees your IP address. With that in mind, their main purpose is to prevent users on a network from accessing inappropriate content.
Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS Proxies
The only thing differentiates HTTP and HTTPS proxies is the way you communicate with them, and it's a game-changer. With an HTTPS proxy, you don't send requests through the proxy to a server. Instead, the proxy creates a TCP connection, enabling end-to-end encryption and significantly increasing security. All traffic is encrypted, except for data necessary for routing.
Where to Use an HTTP or HTTPS Proxy
Which type of proxy will be a better solution will depend on your specific scenario. Here are a few usage cases where an HTTP proxy would be a great option:
- Content streaming
- Data harvesting
- Website monitoring
To be clear, an HTTPS proxy can also do all these things. However, with the added security, it's a far better option for anonymous browsing, payment transactions, and avoiding website tracking. They're also a better option for web scraping on sites with strict anti-botting measures.
Reliability, Speed, and Uncompromising Privacy
HTTP proxies were an incredibly popular option in the past decade or two. However, as IT changed and focused more on security in recent years, their glory days seem to be over. That doesn't mean they're useless, however. HTTP proxies are still a great, cost-efficient option for anyone who just needs a different IP address for whatever reason.
Whether it's HTTP or HTTPS proxies you're after, we have a solution for you. All IPRoyal proxies are focused on reliability, speed, and privacy. On top of that, our support is always available to help and our prices are hard to beat!