Private Proxy: All Fundamentals You Need to Know

Researching the web, especially from lots (potentially thousands) of external sources, is often daunting, particularly for small to mid-sized businesses. They simply can’t afford to stretch their in-house resources thin by allocating them to research activities, but simultaneously, some business models and industries require voluminous data to function well. To address this conundrum, businesses often turn to automated web scraping and proxy servers.

Technically, web scraping is simply just extracting information from websites. Instead of visiting a site and reading its contents, a user would scrape the contents and save it for later, often also automating the analysis of a collection of scraped content. Web scraping can be done manually. Usually, people perform manual web scraping to more quickly process and parse web content instead of literally copying and pasting webpage after webpage. The latter method also runs the risk of copying over some unwanted formatting when you only wanted plain text. But as the need for more information grows, so too does the inefficiency of manual web scraping. Automated web scraping is definitely faster than reading (or copying + pasting) dozens of web pages individually, and it is certainly the go-to method for pulling data quickly out of multiple sources.

Typically, when businesses rely on web scraping, they need to rely on automated, software-based scrapers and proxy servers. So, let’s start at the top and work our way down to make sure everyone’s on the right page. This guide will explore the basics of proxy servers and different types of servers, and will dive deep into details regarding private proxies.


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Ethical Web Scraping and Private Proxies

Ethical Web Scraping and Private Proxies

Let’s say, for example, you are researching product prices on different e-commerce sites, and you want to use web scraping to collect that data automatically. This is especially helpful if you need to track price changes over time or compare prices across different sites. Additionally, you want to scrape data about user behavior on websites. This could be useful for studying how people interact with your website or measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. The first is for a different business process, and the second is for internal metrics tracking. Regardless, you want to set up web scraping projects to underlie these efforts.

Clearly, there’s no way you’re doing all that manually. This is where you need to rely on ethical web scraping.

Broadly speaking, ethical web scraping refers to the responsible and efficient use of web scraping techniques to extract data from websites. This includes ensuring that the scraping is carried out in a way that does not negatively impact the performance of the website or interfere with the user experience. As a small business owner, it is important to be aware of both the legal and ethical implications of web scraping before conducting any research using this technique.

There are a number of ways to scrape data from websites without adversely affecting their performance or interfering with the user experience. One method is known as “respectful crawling,” which involves limiting the number of requests made to a website over a given period of time along with ensuring that all requests are made from valid IP addresses. Additionally, it is important to identify yourself clearly when conducting web scraping activities, so that website owners can contact you if they have any concerns about your activity. Generally speaking, if you adhere to these principles then you should be able to carry out effective and responsible web scraping for research purposes without harming any websites or inconveniencing users in any way.

For large-scale web scraping, you’re going to need automated crawlers and proxy servers, as mentioned earlier. Everything discussed prior is contextualized by the example goals given above: you want to research product pricing as well as understand user behavior. However, websites won’t discriminate if your proxy servers and web crawlers behave in a way similar to abusive and malicious threat actors. This will almost always be the case if you rely on publicly available proxies. Their functionality is too limited and technical capacity too restricted. This way, you won’t be able to optimize their use. Additionally, as they’re open to the public, they are prone to abuse. Ergo, the need for private proxies.

But first, let’s start from the beginning.

What is a Proxy Server?

What is a Proxy Server?

Technically, in computer networks, a proxy server is an intermediary server that makes requests from clients on behalf of users who want resources from other servers. A user connects to the proxy server with requests for some service, e.g.,  a connection, a file, a web page, or some other resource that’s on a different server. The proxy provides the resource either by connecting to the specified server itself or by contacting another server on behalf of the user. Thus, proxies can be used to filter web traffic and protect user privacy.

Proxy servers are essential in automated web scraping.

When performing web scraping, proxy servers can be used to mask the identity of the scraper to prevent detection. By using a proxy server, the scraper’s IP address is hidden from the website being scraped, making it more difficult for that website to block or ban the scraper. Additionally, proxy servers can be used to rotate IP addresses — to use a different IP address for each request made — to further avoid detection and banning.

Remember that there are protections in place that try to catch and detect web scrapers. That’s because web scraping can be used for malicious purposes, such as stealing proprietary data or causing Denial of Service attacks. Other more complex cyberattacks can also culminate from using web scrapers as a way to find potential vectors and vulnerabilities. Additionally, it’s just that web scraping can put a strain on a website’s server resources. In the same way that a website can only handle a certain volume of traffic before it gets bogged down, it can only handle a certain limit of requests from scrapers before its resource allocation can no longer serve its actual visitors. Website owners may want to prevent or limit access by scrapers who abuse their automated functionality and eat up a lot of resources.

Relying on Proxy Providers for Web Scraping

When it comes to large-scale web scraping, proxy server providers are an ideal solution. With proxy servers, you can avoid having to set up and maintain your own infrastructure, which can be both time-consuming and expensive. In fact, in terms of the buy versus build debate, unless your research needs quite a bit of scale, the only logical choice is to buy proxies over building your own.

Acquiring proxy servers offers several benefits:

  • It can help hide your identity when making requests as it sends out requests on your behalf. This is useful if you’re worried about a website blocking scrapers based on IP addresses.
  • If a website has restricted your access due to your IP address, using a different one can help you get around this problem. Proxy providers can offer the advanced proxies you require or provide rotating proxies to scale with your needs. This makes them a viable option for many organizations when it comes to web scraping on a large scale.
  • Proxy servers can also improve performance by caching data and requests made through them. They offer a great way to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of automated web scraping while minimizing the cost and effort required.

What are the Different Types of Proxy Servers?

At Rayobyte, there are a few proxy servers to choose from.

A residential proxy server is a type of proxy server that masks a user’s IP address by rerouting their connection through another server. This makes it appear as if the user is accessing the internet from a different location than they actually are — useful for bypassing geo-restrictions or hiding online activity. Residential proxies are typically more expensive than other proxies because they are not as easy to obtain. However, they do offer a higher level of anonymity and are less likely to be blocked by websites.

A data center proxy is a type of proxy server that is hosted in a data center. Data centers are large, central facilities that house computer systems and other electronic components. These proxies are typically more affordable than residential proxies but offer a lower level of anonymity since their IP addresses can be easily traced back to the data center they are hosted in. However, they can still be useful for bypassing certain types of online restrictions or censorship. Data center proxies are typically more accessible compared to residential proxies.

Internet Service Provider (ISP) proxies are proxy servers that are provided by an internet service provider. These proxies can be useful for hiding your online activity from your ISP or for bypassing certain types of online restrictions, but they offer a lower level of anonymity than residential or data center proxies since your ISP will still be able to see your IP address. However, they may be more affordable than other types of proxy servers and may provide faster speeds since they are hosted by your ISP. They’re sort of in-between the two other types: faster than data centers by around 30% and also more anonymous, but less so than the premium residential proxies.

If you want to know more and compare residential and data center proxies, you can read our complete Buyer’s Guide: Residential vs Data Center Proxies. The guide covers both types as well as ISP proxies and delves into comparing what they can offer for your web scraping needs.

What about a Private Proxy?

What about a Private Proxy?

Let’s understand what differentiates public proxies from private proxies.

Public proxy servers are intermediaries that relay communication between your computer and the website you are trying to access — shared among the public. They indeed provide anonymity by hiding your real IP address and location from the website; however, they can be notoriously slow and unreliable because they are shared with many users. Private proxy servers are owned by an individual or a company, and only a few users can access them. This makes them significantly faster and more reliable than public proxies.

Note that there’s also a tier between public and private, which is a semi-dedicated proxy. They’re technically public but only to a limited number of people, thus the pseudo status. Regardless, semi-dedicated proxies share the same risks as public proxies. For instance, when one user gets in trouble, the entire user group suffers because that proxy server will then be blocked.

Proxies you would obtain from providers like Rayobyte are private proxies.

How does a Private Proxy Work?

How does a Private Proxy Work?

The most important technical feature of a private proxy is that it uses an IP address that is not publicly associated with your computer. When you set up a web scraping tool, you will need to specify the proxy settings. This tells the tool to route all requests through the intermediate server (private proxy) before sending them to the target website. The private proxy will then mask your real IP address and location from the website, making it appear as if you are located in a different country or region. This makes it difficult for website owners to track your activity or block your access.

Private proxies are often used by businesses and individuals who want to scrape data from websites without being detected. Using a private proxy, they can change their IP address and location frequently, making it difficult for webmasters to track them down. In some cases, they may even use multiple proxies at once to further reduce their chances of being caught.

Other technical features of a private proxy include support for Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), HTTP Secure (HTTPS), and Socket Secure (SOCKS) protocols, as well as password-protected authentication.

HTTP, HTTPS, and SOCKS are all protocols that can be used to communicate with a website. HTTP is the most common protocol and is used for nearly all websites. HTTPS is a secure version of HTTP that is typically used for login pages or areas of a website where sensitive information is being transmitted. SOCKS is a more low-level protocol that can be used for general web browsing or specific applications like gaming or torrenting. Private proxies usually support all these protocols. So, you can use them depending on your needs.

Password-protected authentication is a security measure that is used to ensure only authorized users can access a certain resource. When using private proxies, you will usually need to provide a username and password in order to authenticate with the proxy server. This ensures that only people with the correct credentials can use the proxy, keeping your identity safe.

What are the Specific Benefits of Using Private Proxies?

What are the Specific Benefits of Using Private Proxies?

There are several key advantages to using a proxy server, private ones particularly provide greater benefits over public options. They include:

  • Increased speed and reliability: Because private proxies are not shared with as many users, they tend to be much faster than public proxies. That’s because private proxies are not shared with nearly as many users as public proxies, resulting in less traffic going through them. This enables them to handle requests more quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, because they are not shared, private proxies also tend to be more reliable than their public counterparts. That is, you’re less likely to be victims of dead ends or other issues while using them.
  • Greater privacy and security: When you use a private proxy server, your real IP address and location are hidden from the website you are visiting — this in itself is the same as using public proxies that also provide greater privacy and security for your online activities. However, private proxies are yours alone. This is in contrast to public proxy servers which do not provide this level of protection since they can be accessed by anyone or semi-dedicated proxies that are shared among a group.
  • Increased flexibility: Private proxies offer increased flexibility compared to public ones since they can be customized according to the specific needs of the user or organization. This partially stems from the fact that since private proxies are allocated to individual users, they’re tailored to specific needs instead of being more generic to cater to a group or the public in general. For example, some private proxy servers offer features such as geo-targeting (which allows you to target location-specific content), while others may offer specialized protocols that are optimized for certain types of traffic (such as gaming traffic).

You can say that the advantages are analogous to the benefits of paying for a service rather than relying on a free-to-the-public version. It’s the advantage of using “my private proxy” over “our publicly shared proxy.” There’s simply no argument against using private proxies when it comes to serious and large-scale automated web scraping.

And from what we’ve covered so far, the absolute best option is to go for a private residential proxy from a reliable and ethical provider. The right provider can offer premium features and functionality and help you customize your private proxies however you need for your web scraping efforts. Additionally, they can set you up with more affordable, accessible options for lower-priority scraping projects. Not every effort, after all, requires top-level web scraping proxies.

Who Uses Private Proxies?

Who Uses Private Proxies?

Being quite useful for many applications, private proxies see everyday use in a number of situations. Anyone who needs to hide their real IP address and location for privacy or other purposes can use a private proxy. Private proxies are often used by research organizations, investigative journalists, and anyone else who needs to gather information from the internet without revealing their identity.

Here’re some ways private proxies are used around the web.

Advertisement Verification

Advertisement or Ad verification is the process of verifying that an ad will be appropriately displayed to its intended audience and that the ad itself is not tampered with or malicious. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but one common method is using private proxies.

Since private proxies are IP addresses that are not publicly available, they are used to anonymously check how an ad appears to different users. This allows ad verification companies to ensure that their clients’ ads are being correctly displayed and not being blocked by ad blockers or other security measures, and also that the ads are appropriate for the intended audience.

There are a number of reasons why an advertiser might want to use Ad Verification services, but a common reason is to prevent click fraud. Click fraud occurs when someone clicks on an ad multiple times or with malicious intent (such as clicking on an ad for a competitor), which artificially inflates the click-through rate and cost-per-click for the advertiser. By using Ad Verification services via private proxies, advertisers can avoid paying for fraudulent clicks, which can save them significant amounts of money over time.

Using private proxies for ad verification is a quick and effective way to ensure that your clients’ ads are running smoothly — and that their money is being well-spent.

Travel Fare Aggregators

The use of private proxies has become increasingly common among travel fare aggregators in recent years. This is due to the fact that private proxies offer a number of advantages over public ones, chief among them being speed and reliability. With a private proxy, data can be collected automatically from online travel agencies, flight company websites, and other sources without having to worry about IPs being blocked or banned.

Private proxies also tend to be more expensive than public ones, but the extra cost is often worth it for those who rely heavily on web scraping for their business. Overall, using a proxy server is an effective way for travel fare aggregators to gather data quickly and efficiently without having to worry about IP bans or other issues that can arise from manually collecting data.

Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) Monitoring

MAP monitoring is the process of tracking the lowest prices that a retailer can advertise for a given product. This information is typically used by businesses in order to set their own pricing, stay competitive in the market, or monitor compliance with MAP agreements.

Much like how private proxies can be used to collect data quickly and efficiently from online travel agencies and flight company websites, they can also be used to scrape data on retailers’ advertised prices for products. This data can then be analyzed to help businesses make decisions on their own pricing or marketing strategies. Private proxies offer a number of advantages for MAP monitoring, such as speed and reliability, that make them worth the extra cost for many businesses.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Proxies can be extremely helpful for SEO purposes. For example, if you want to track your website’s ranking over time, using a proxy allows you to do so without revealing your IP address (which could otherwise be used to identify you or your location). Additionally, proxies can allow you to view SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) from different locations worldwide, which can be useful for determining how your site ranks in different regions. This way, if you notice that your site’s ranking is lower in one region than another, you can investigate why that may be and make changes accordingly.

Additionally, using proxies for SEO research can help ensure that the data you’re collecting is accurate. If everyone involved in a project is using the same IP address (without a proxy), search engines may begin to flag this as suspicious activity and skew the results of their investigations. By using proxies instead, each person will have a unique IP address associated with their searches — making it much more difficult for search engines to detect any potential manipulation and invalidate the results of your research.

Additional Uses of Private Proxies

While the above examples are industry-specific, a lot of the time, private proxies are used because of their functionality. Below are some examples of additional uses of private proxies:

Bypassing geo-restrictions: If you want to access website content that is only available in certain countries, you can use a proxy server located in one of those countries to access the content. For example, if someone in China wants to watch videos on YouTube (which is blocked in China), they could connect to a US-based proxy server. This would allow them to view the videos as if they were accessing YouTube from within the United States.

Similarly, people living outside of the United States may want to pay proxy server providers who are US-based to access American streaming sites like Netflix or Hulu which are not typically available abroad. By connecting to a proxy server based in the US, these users can bypass any geo-restrictions and gain full access to American streaming content.

Protecting online identity: In recent years, online activists and journalists have increasingly faced retribution for their work. In many cases, simply publishing an article or communicating with sources can result in punishment from authorities or retaliation from individuals affected by the piece. To help protect themselves, many people use proxies to maintain some level of anonymity and safety.

Proxies act as a middleman between the user and the internet, routing traffic through an intermediary server instead of directly to its destination. This makes it much more difficult to track where traffic is coming from and who is responsible for it. Additionally, they also leverage the ability of private proxies to bypass geo-restrictions as mentioned above to get around hurdles such as government censorship (think China’s Great Firewall).

Maximizing privacy from online trackers: Most internet users are unaware of the many ways that their personal data is tracked and collected every time they go online. While some people may not mind this type of surveillance, others may find it creepy or intrusive. It’s not just advertising companies that are interested in this information — law enforcement agencies and other government organizations can also access it.

One way to protect your privacy online is to use a proxy server. Your proxy acts as your middleman between your computer and the internet, routing your requests through another server before they reach their destination. This makes it difficult for anyone trying to track you to see what websites you’re visiting or what files you’re downloading.

Combining with avant-garde technology for full-feature brand monitoring: For more technically advanced use cases, web scraping can form the early-stage pipeline for a complex effort such as monitoring a brand’s share of voice (SOV). Social media and various digital outlets all talk about brands and companies in various ways, and keeping up with how well your specific brand is received can be challenging, to say the least.

You can DIY this effort (that’s usually reserved for massive Software-as-a-Service platforms for social listening and marketing) by automatically scraping public social media posts and webpages that mention your brand. That’s the start of the pipeline. You can then use machine learning powered natural language processing (NLP) to perform what is called sentiment analysis.

Sentiment analysis is automatically and quickly gaining an understanding of what sentiment is expressed in written content through artificial intelligence (AI). An AI engine combs through scraped content and analyzes its contents to give you an overview of how positive or negative your brand’s SOV is at any given period of time.

That’s a fairly advanced implementation of a pipeline that leverages web scraping enabled through private proxies.

Finding the Best Private Proxy Services

Finding the Best Private Proxy Services

Shopping around for personal proxy services is akin to any other online research effort: you need to understand what you need and what the market can offer. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for your web scraping needs. If there was, there wouldn’t be competition and a market for it!

Take note of a few critical things you should consider when choosing a private proxy for web scraping:


There are a few reasons why you might want to choose a proxy server located in the same country as the website you’re scraping. First, it can help minimize lag time. If your proxy server and the website you’re scraping are both located in, say, the United States, then there’s a good chance that your connection will be very fast. Contrarily, if your proxy server is located in Canada but the website you’re scraping is located in Australia, then there may be some significant lag time due to the distance between those two countries. Second, having a local proxy can maximize speed. That’s because local proxy servers generally have better connections to websites than proxies based overseas. So, if speed is important to you — for example, if you need to scrape large amounts of data from a site — then choosing a locally sourced proxy could make things go more quickly for you.

Now, if the websites you’re scraping are global, then you may want to consider choosing a proxy server that has multiple locations.

Type of Connection

There are two main types of proxy connections: HTTP and SOCKS.

HTTP proxies are used to scrape websites that require login credentials. They can also be used to access password-protected sites and bypass restrictions imposed by some website administrators. However, because HTTP proxies do not encrypt data, they are not as secure as SOCKS proxies.

SOCKS proxies, on the other hand, provide a higher level of security since data is encrypted before it is sent through the proxy server. However, this extra security comes at the expense of speed — SOCKS connections tend to be slower than HTTP ones.

So, if you need to scrape websites that require login credentials, then you will need an HTTP private proxy. If not, then a SOCKS protocol will be fine.

Anonymity Level

Proxy servers provide varying levels of anonymity, depending on how well they conceal your real IP address and location. The higher the anonymity level, the more information about your identity will be hidden from the website you are scraping. However, this usually comes at the expense of speed, since it takes longer to route traffic through multiple proxy servers. Choose the anonymity level that provides the right balance of security and speed for your needs.

For example, if you are scraping a website that contains sensitive information that you do not want to be traced back to you, then it is important to choose a proxy server with a high level of anonymity. This will slow down your scrapes somewhat, but it is worth it for the increased security. In contrast, if you are just scraping public data from a website then you may not need such high levels of anonymity and can choose a proxy server accordingly.

Where to Buy Proxies?

First and foremost, understand that cost is the most important factor to consider when choosing a private proxy. They’re not cheap, and usually, you get what you pay for. Cheaper proxies are cheap for a reason: best case they’re inefficient and run into a lot of trouble, worst case they’re run by hackers who will use the fake proxy to steal your identity or empty your bank account. It’s essential to do your research ahead of time and avoid buying cheap proxies altogether. You’ll find that your investment in worthwhile proxies will yield valuable returns.

Ideally, when you’re looking for private proxy servers, buy only from providers with verifiable reviews. Check reviews from other users and make sure that the proxy is reputable before giving them any money. It’s also crucial to verify that the proxy offers features meeting your needs. Some proxies provide specialized features like web scraping or bypassing restrictions on certain websites — choose one with the features you need at a comfortable price point.

Of course, when considering a private proxy, the cost is not the only thing you should consider. Some solutions offer better anonymity and security, not to mention stronger protection against issues like IP leaks. Here’re some tips to help you find the perfect solution that suits your needs:

  • Don’t skimp on due diligence. Do your research, and do it ahead of time if you’re on a timetable.
  • Read reviews from other users. This is non-negotiable. If a company lacks testimonials or reviews to back up its claims, it’s best to stay away and choose those that can offer some social vetting and a proven history of being reliable.
  • Contact companies directly with any questions you have. Great proxy providers will be more than happy to answer all your questions, with customer service teams readily accessible that can provide everything you need to get started for using their product.
  • Look at what they’re offering in terms of features and freebies. Do they offer a free trial so you can test out their proxy solution for yourself? Test driving is essential in cases like this. Can they offer a money-back guarantee? That reflects they trust the service they deliver. Does their product do everything that you want it to, or in other words, is their offering perfectly suitable for your specific needs?

Purchasing a private proxy is not a decision to be made lightly. There are many factors to consider, including cost and features. However, with some careful research and due diligence (through the steps outlined above), you can find a reputable provider that offers the perfect solution for your needs.

We at Rayobyte would be happy to help enlighten you in your search. We can discuss our own proxy offerings and other services that suit your web scraping needs and show you how we can help you achieve your goal, regardless of what you’re scraping for.


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Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

This guide covers just the basics of private proxies for web scraping. It’s important to remember that each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. The goal is to use the most appropriate choice for your needs while also maximizing the positives and minimizing the negatives.

Regardless of the approach you choose, make sure your scraper is set up properly. This will help you avoid issues like being flagged by automated defenses that are common on many websites. Using private proxy servers can disguise your scraper and make it more efficient overall.

If you need to empower your web scraping activities, a reliable proxy provider will likely be necessary. Rayobyte’s Scraping Robot can automate much of this process so you can get more work done faster. Explore our available proxies now.

The information contained within this article, including information posted by official staff, guest-submitted material, message board postings, or other third-party material is presented solely for the purposes of education and furtherance of the knowledge of the reader. All trademarks used in this publication are hereby acknowledged as the property of their respective owners.

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