Marketing, Tech

The Classifications of Proxies

A proxy is a computer that sits between you (the end user) and the web. This device acts as an intermediary, moving your data requests back and forth on your behalf.

The Many Different Ways to Classify Proxies

Anyone looking to buy a proxy without doing their homework is undoubtedly in for a rough ride. Numerous proxies have been developed to serve various purposes, and their sheer quantity can easily overwhelm someone just learning about them. Here, we’ll discuss the different categories and their uses. Let’s get to it.

Based on Service

Proxies are accessible to either a single user or a group of users. Each type has pros and cons. Typically, more users lead to reduced speed and security.  

  • Public Proxies 

Public proxies, otherwise known as open proxies, are free and readily available online. Just like pretty much anything that’s free, its affordability is its only benefit. Public proxies are slow, easily compromised, and unreliable since they frequently go down. 

  • Shared Proxies 

As you might have inferred, a shared proxy is also available to multiple clients, each using the same IP. Depending on who you’re sharing with, this can be somewhat precarious. Users connected to a shared proxy face the risk of having other people read their data. Although they are a bit more costly, shared proxies are more reliable and secure than open proxies. 

  • Private Proxies 

Private or dedicated proxies top the chart in terms of exclusivity as only a single user has access to these proxies. Hence, they experience minimal delay and overload compared to the more populated public proxies. However, they are by far the most expensive type of proxy.

Based on the Flow of Traffic

Another way to classify proxies is according to whether they lie on the client or server side.  

  • Forward Proxies 

These refer to all proxies that act on behalf of an end user. They are the typical proxies we employ to access the web anonymously. Forward proxies receive the client’s data request and deliver it to the web server for processing before returning the response. 

  • Reverse Proxies 

Conversely, reverse proxies operate as an intermediary for web servers. A reverse proxy processes the internet traffic before forwarding it to the servers. It also balances the load of traffic across several web servers. Although they might not provide anonymity like a forward proxy, these proxies help keep a web server safe and secure.

Based on IP Origin

Every proxy server possesses an IP address that it uses to hide yours, keeping you undetected. Based on where the proxy comes from, it can be of two types. 

  • Residential Proxies 

Residential proxies are a popular choice among users. They appear as real visitors on a website, so they are extremely difficult to detect and block. For this reason, they are popular for web scraping. Residential proxies are leased or purchased from internet service providers (ISPs). 

  • Data Center Proxies 

Data center proxies are a cost-friendly solution for anyone in search of super fast proxies. These proxies come from web hosting services, and not ISPs. They are generated by servers (data centers) specifically designed to handle proxies. However, datacenter IPs often get blacklisted by web servers since they don’t originate from actual residences.

Based on Anonymity Level

Again, we can classify proxies according to the degree to which they hide a user’s identity. 

  • Transparent Proxies 

Transparent proxies offer no sort of anonymity. In fact, they make an effort to publicize their existence as proxy servers by including their IP in the Via header. They cache frequently viewed websites, which reduces loading times. 

  • Anonymous Proxies 

Although they reveal that you’re using a proxy, anonymous proxies still conceal a user’s identity by giving a website an alternate IP address. These proxies provide the impression that you are surfing from a specific geographic location. 

  • High-Anonymity Proxies 

These proxies take anonymity up a notch. Instead of providing another IP, it completely removes the Via field of the HTTP header. This way, a site has no means of identifying it as a proxy.


Having learned the different types of proxies, finding the right one definitely won’t be as tedious as before. Also, it’s always a good practice to first define your needs and, of course, determine your budget. With these in place, you’re well on your way to making the very best choice for your business or personal requirements.

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Contributing Writer

Jacob is an experienced content publisher and editor at With a passion for technology and a wealth of knowledge in the field, Jaccob brings a unique perspective to the website and its readers.