Have you ever wondered how you can navigate the internet without your IP address being detected? Well, besides using a virtual private network, you can use proxy servers.
In fact, proxy servers are the better option if you intend to use a single proxy server account on multiple computers. So, what is a proxy server?
A proxy server is an application-based intermediary that reroutes traffic from your browser, deletes any digital footprint that may cause a web host to recognize your computer, i.e., your IP address and location, before connecting to the target website.
The proxy server assigns you a new IP address. Owing to the many uses of proxy servers, numerous types of proxy servers exist.
- Residential proxies
- Datacenter proxies
- Mobile proxies
- High anonymity proxies
- Anonymous proxies
- Transparent proxies
- Reverse proxies
Just to mention a few. Additionally, these types are further categorized into free, shared, and private proxies, each of which has distinct characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages.
The disadvantages of free proxy servers greatly outweigh the benefits, thereby informing why free proxies don’t fall within this article’s scope. Below we will go into the differences between shared proxies vs. private proxies.
Proxies operate on the principle of assigning a new IP address, thereby providing enhanced anonymity and privacy.
If the proxy server operators were to give each of their customers a unique IP address, they’d have to charge a premium. Also, they’d deplete the available IP addresses on their IP network.
This logic forms the basis of why shared proxies exist. As the name suggests, shared proxy servers are such that multiple users use the same IP address, practically sharing a single server.
The fact that several people use the same server means that, with shared proxies, you’ll always have to deal with slow speeds, in addition to the other disadvantages listed below. With that having been said, they’re still advantageous in many ways.
Advantages of Shared Proxies
- They’re affordable and readily available.
- Increased anonymity. Because multiple people use the same server, it’s impossible to single out one user.
- They are efficient. Simply put, shared proxies get the work done. They provide the needed anonymity, give you access to geo-locked content, etc.
- Shared proxies allow you to use different IP addresses – which are also shared. This way, you can issue multiple web requests that appear to come from other parts of the world. Hence, shared proxies are suitable for web scraping.
Disadvantages of Shared Proxies
- They’re slow. In most cases, the shared servers get overloaded.
- It’s easy for shared IP addresses to be blocked because of other users’ activities.
- CAPTCHA alerts are inevitable. Sharing IP addresses implies that at a particular instance, most of the users sharing the IP address will send a request to the same website, e.g., Google.
Private proxies are also known as dedicated proxies. They address most of the problems you would experience if you were to use shared proxies.
In this sense, they’re somewhat superior. But this superiority comes at an added cost, a premium, if I may put it that way.
Private proxy servers assign each user a unique IP address. This, therefore, means that there’s no sharing when it comes to private proxies. The net effect is very high loading speeds, unlike shared proxies.
Advantages of Private Proxies
- They support high-speed connections because each user has more bandwidth available to them.
- Your assigned IP address is unlikely to be blacklisted because of another user’s activities because it’s not shared.
- Your IP address doesn’t change.
- The private proxy providers go a step further by offering protection against hacking and spoofing.
Disadvantages of Private Proxies
- All the advantages listed above come at a cost. Thus, private/dedicated proxies are expensive.
- They don’t accord a user the same anonymity as shared proxies since a single individual uses the IP address.
Shared Proxies vs. Private Proxies
The shared proxies vs. private proxies comparison pits dedicated IP vs shared IP addresses. Your choice and decision depend on your personal preferences, how much you’re willing to spend on a proxy server, and your desired level of anonymity.
For instance, shared proxies provide heightened anonymity and privacy simply because they make it harder for a system to single a specific person out. This is not the case with dedicated proxy servers since every user has their unique IP address.
Alternatively, you may be working on a project that requires a lot of bandwidth, but given that with shared proxies, you’ll have to share a server with other users, this may prove impossible. Further, you may want all the features offered by a dedicated IP address, but your finances may not permit such an expenditure.
The table below summarizes the dedicated IP vs shared IP debate.
Shared Proxies (Shared IP)
Private Proxies (Dedicated IP)
They’re cost-effective – affordable.
They don’t provide added privacy and anonymity.
They provide added privacy and anonymity.
Evidently, the dedicated IP vs shared IP debate boils down to the factors surrounding your usage.