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Why Is It Important to Test Your Proxies?

Francis King

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A proxy (or proxy server) essentially acts as a middleman, bridging the gap between users requesting a service and the websites or applications providing that resource. They keep your IP address hidden , thereby ensuring online anonymity and security while simplifying the request and improving performance in the process.

As such, proxies are an important tool for individuals and businesses alike - used in price monitoring, competitor analysis, web scraping, SEO research, social media automation , and countless other data-intensive tasks.

But not all proxies are created equal. This article explores the importance of testing your proxy before use, as well as how to most effectively test proxies.

Go ahead and recap what is a proxy if you need any more information before we delve in.

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Why Do You Need to Test Proxies?

You might have bought IPs from a provider, or you might have found a list of proxies online. The proxy might be for private usage, or it might be necessary for your business. Whatever the context, one thing is always true: testing your proxy is crucial.

People and businesses test proxy servers for various reasons - here are four key points:

1. Checking functionality

If the proxies are not correctly functioning, then you might not be able to access the internet or remain anonymous. This could mean missing out on opportunities, negatively affecting your business, and not being able to access the necessary resources from remote devices.

2. Checking compatibility

Make sure that you aren’t wasting time and money on proxies that are incompatible with the bots and software currently in use. Additionally, the proxy server needs to be compatible with the site or application you’re trying to enter.

3. Checking speed

You need to know whether the proxy is working at the required speed before using it for the actual task. Speed is of the essence. For example, if you’re using sneaker proxies to get your hands on the newest shoes before they sell out, you need to be able to move fast enough to get them in your cart ASAP.

4. Checking location

If you’re trying to access a website that’s only available in a certain country, you need to use the right proxy for that location. It’s a bit like how you would use a .co.nz domain name to establish credibility and gain access to the New Zealand marketplace.

Similarly, if you’re trying to access a site that is only available in the US, but you’re not using an American proxy, then you won’t be granted access.

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Effectively Testing a Proxy Server

There are several ways you can test your proxy servers to ensure they work as expected before you deploy them. Here are three key methods.

Using an IP Checker

One of the simplest ways to make sure a proxy server is working as intended is to use an online IP checker. IPRoyal IP Lookup and similar websites can help you ensure that the IP address and location displayed are different from your real IP address and location.

There are plenty of free IP checkers available online, but they do have limitations. They don’t show that you’re using a proxy and cannot tell you if the proxy will work with a specific website.

Using an IP Database

An IP database is a collection of IP addresses , alongside relevant information such as:

  • If the IP address you input is associated with a particular domain name
  • Your internet service provider
  • Degree of anonymity
  • If the IP address is known to be a proxy (likely to be blocked from accessing certain sites)
  • Proxy type (e.g. datacenter, residential , mobile)

Again, there are limitations. You may be able to make a few database searches for free, but full access is paywalled. An IP database also can’t tell you how fast the proxy is or if it will be compatible with the desired websites.

Using the IPRoyal Proxy Tester

If you’re dealing with a proxy list , it’s time-consuming to test a one-off proxy with an IP checker or database. You’re better off automating the process using an online proxy checker tool such as the IPRoyal proxy tester .

Just paste your list into the tool, and you’ll get all the information you need. This includes proxy type (HTTP/HTTPS or SOCKS5 ), current status, as well as the response speed (in milliseconds).

This approach is particularly beneficial for web scrapers, online shoppers, and other users who need access to a specific web location, since you can choose the target website for testing.

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Best Proxy Testing Practices

Anyone can use a proxy server - there are many credible reasons why a person or business may need to keep their IP address hidden. With the future of retail up in the air, and rising concerns about privacy and security, it’s now more common to hide your IP address while making e-commerce purchases.

Or, for example, a company investing in a small business phone service from Vonage may appreciate the use of proxies to optimize VoIP traffic, connect agents remotely, and protect against data breaches by concealing the call center’s actual IP address.

Use Caching

To further boost the performance of your proxy setup, it’s important to consider implementing effective website caching strategies. This not only enhances speed and efficiency but also ensures seamless browsing experiences.

Proxy caching stores content on the proxy server itself, which coordinates with the source server to cache resources such as web pages. It can then immediately retrieve and deliver a recent copy of the resource when a user requests it. If there’s no recent copy available, the proxy simultaneously retrieves it from the source and delivers it.

Rotate Your Proxies

It is important that businesses and individuals regularly rotate the proxies they use. A rotating proxy offers a large pool of IP addresses, and the proxy server provider rotates to a different one each time a new connection is made. The website then sees the user as a different client , which is ideal for web scraping.

It also improves security since it becomes harder for anyone to track your IP addresses or browsing habits—which protects your systems from cyberattacks. In the example of a call center, enhancing security is crucial for the sake of customers’ data.

Test Regularly

You should also carry out regular testing, continually assessing the performance of the proxy to ensure it meets your needs and is suited to the task. This means you can identify and fix any issues quickly. It’s crucial if you’re using proxies to access sensitive data or systems.

It’s best to test your proxies at least once a month to be on the safe side. But make sure you run the tests from different IP addresses. Otherwise, the websites you’re accessing may detect the activity and ban you.

Use the Right Tools

When it comes to optimizing your online performance, it’s essential to find the right tools for the job. For example, if you’re looking for a comprehensive solution to enhance your gaming experience, you may want to consider incorporating the best VPN for playing computer games alongside your proxy setup.

There are plenty of options to choose from, so do your research and make sure that your chosen proxy (or proxies) will suit your needs.

Be Wary of Freebies

Our final piece of advice is to think carefully before using a free proxy, even though it’s tempting to save money. You need to be absolutely sure that your personal information (or that of your customers) won’t be compromised by a badly functioning proxy server, which could lead to privacy violations .

If you can, opt for a well-established provider with responsive customer support so that if something goes wrong, you are not on your own. Remember that your peace of mind is at stake, as well as the reputation of your business.

Final Thoughts

Proxies are powerful tools when it comes to improving online experiences and security. However, their effectiveness depends on proper testing to make sure that they align with your requirements and can deliver the desired results.

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Francis King

Head of Demand Generation, OnlyDomains

Francis is the Head of Demand Generation at OnlyDomains. It’s a domain management solution offering global services and support accessible from anywhere in the world. Francis has been a part of the OnlyDomains team since 2009, and is the go-to guy for everything that involves online advertising. Originally from Melbourne, Francis can’t go a day without lifting weights, and is thinking about taking on Jiu-Jitsu in the future. Here is his blog .

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