What Are Proxies Used For: Most Common Proxy Use Cases
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As we already know, a proxy is an intermediary between your device and the rest of the internet. It replaces your IP address with its own and handles all traffic on your behalf.
Using an IP address different from your own is a good idea for several reasons. Proxy servers give the user more control over internet access. Namely, they let you choose how much information websites and services can gather about you.
But why is this beneficial? Who uses proxies and why? In this article, we’ll cover the four most common proxy use cases.
Automated data gathering from websites and other online sources is called web scraping. Companies and individuals use it for various purposes, including market research, lead generation, price aggregation, and more.
Most websites limit the number of requests from a single IP address. Since proxies replace your IP with their own, they’re the most efficient tool to bypass all IP-based restrictions. With proxy servers, scrapers can send requests from different IPs in different locations. Since all these requests look like they come from genuine visitors, it becomes impossible for websites to recognize and block the scraping activity.
SEO Monitoring and Research
Search engine optimization is crucial for most modern businesses, regardless of their size. Only 0.63% of people visit the second page of Google search results. So, it’s no surprise that SEO monitoring recently became one of the most significant proxy use cases.
A high rank in search engine results brings organic traffic and new clients. More importantly, it builds long-term brand awareness and increases revenue. To maintain this rank, businesses must check search engine result pages (SERPs) regularly and keep an eye on rival websites.
Proxy servers allow anyone to replicate searches with different IP addresses from different locations. This practice provides valuable SEO performance insights. By analyzing this data, businesses can modify their SEO strategy as necessary to ensure they’re where their clients are.
Accessing Geo-restricted Content
Many websites and online services are only available to visitors from a specific country. Authorities, institutions, and ISPs can censor certain websites like search engines, social media platforms, and more. While there are usually legitimate reasons behind geo-blocking (copyright and licensing limitations), it’s often prone to abuse.
Proxies offer the easiest way to get around these limitations. It’s as simple as getting an IP address in the right location. By employing a proxy from a country where the content is available, businesses and individuals can access it safely and privately.
Online tracking has become a growing concern in recent years. The reason behind this trend is obvious. Google alone tracks 76% of all online traffic - it’s the biggest tracker but not the only one. Amazon tracks 17%, followed by Facebook at 16% and Microsoft at 8%.
With so many companies trying to get user data, maintaining online anonymity has become one of the most common proxy use cases. Businesses, NGOs, researchers, journalists, and others can access the internet anonymously with proxies. As the proxy handles all traffic, it also takes on the burden of tracking, keeping the user’s online activity private and untraceable.
Not All Proxies Are the Same
The list of proxy use cases doesn’t end here. Companies turn to them for brand and intellectual property protection, ad verification, and more. They’re essential for successfully buying sneakers and other limited edition items. Developers use them to check if their websites, apps, and other creations work correctly in different parts of the world.
Using the first proxy you come across is far from a good idea, however. There are countless free proxies online, that’s true. But do they offer the privacy and the features necessary for safe internet access?
The answer, in most cases, is a simple “no.” After all, you’re trusting an unknown entity with your most sensitive data. Besides, not all proxies are fit for all purposes. If you’re looking for a hassle-free experience without compromise, make sure you do your research and select an ethical proxy provider with a good reputation.