A shared proxy is a kind of proxy server that can be used by multiple users concurrently. They offer shared IP addresses that can a pool of users can utilize to visit a variety of different domains at the same time.
Shared proxies can enable you to divert your Internet connection and browse the web under an alternate IP address, making them a useful option in cases where you wish to protect your privacy online by concealing your device IP and location.
What is the difference between a shared proxy and a dedicated proxy?
Shared proxies and dedicated proxies serve the same function in many ways, enabling users to change their IP and location. However, they differ in terms of whom they are available to. While shared proxies provide IP addresses to a pool of users, dedicated proxies are reserved exclusively for the use of a single user.
Because dedicated proxies provide IP addresses that are assigned to a sole entity, they are the more expensive option of the two. They are a suitable option for the most privacy-conscious users and are often utilized for business purposes.
What is the difference between a shared proxy and a rotating proxy?
As we’ve mentioned, shared proxies can give you access to IP addresses that you will share with a pool of other users. Rotating proxies, on the other hand, are proxy servers that provide access to a proxy pool containing IP addresses that users can rotate between. When using a rotating proxy, the IP address under which you are browsing can change regularly, either at specified intervals or in response to each new data request.
Rotating proxies fulfill a similar role to shared proxies. However, their rotating functionality gives them extra utility, as they can enable you to stay unidentifiable indefinitely. This is especially useful when engaging in activities like web scraping, where websites may seek to block IP addresses that send a high volume of data requests in a short period of time.
What are the main types of shared proxies?
Currently, there are four main types of shared proxies on the market: shared datacenter proxies, shared residential proxies, shared static residential proxies, and shared mobile proxies.
- Shared datacenter proxies
Shared datacenter proxies use IP addresses that are provided by datacenters. They are cost-effective options and are typically provided using cloud-based servers. For this reason, they have relatively low IP subnet diversity, so they are less anonymous than other options and somewhat more susceptible to blocks.
- Shared residential proxies
Shared residential proxies serve the same function as their datacenter counterparts, however, they do so by utilizing real user IPs that have been assigned by Internet service providers (ISPs). This means that they are linked to real devices and addresses, so their traffic is highly authentic.
Additionally, as residential proxies utilize real user devices around the world instead of centralized datacenters, they offer higher subnet diversity, making them more reliable.
- Shared static residential proxies
Shared static residential proxies are residential proxies that provide a single fixed IP for users. As such, a static residential proxy can allow users to benefit from high authenticity while maintaining a consistent identity. This is particularly useful for activities that require IP continuity, such as managing accounts on online platforms.
- Shared mobile proxies
Shared mobile proxies utilize the IPs associated with mobile devices instead of fixed-line Internet connections. As such, they can enable users to simulate mobile traffic to conceal their IP addresses and geographical locations.
Pros and cons of using a shared proxy
Shared proxies have both pros and cons, including the following:
- Cost-effectiveness. Since shared proxies are utilized by multiple users, server costs are divided. This means that using a shared proxy is much more economical than using a dedicated one, for example, where you would need to foot the entire cost.
- Suitable for everyday use. Shared proxies provide a good level of utility for the price, allowing users to change their location to bypass geo-blocks and access otherwise restricted content online. As such, they are useful for everyday activities like browsing and streaming.
- A high degree of anonymity. Your IP address is what is typically used to identify your device on a network. By sharing your IP, you become harder to identify, which translates to greater privacy.
- Occasional performance issues. Sharing a proxy service means sharing bandwidth. That means that performance may suffer when multiple users are online.
- The ‘bad neighbor’ effect. By sharing a proxy with other users, you effectively pool your reputation with theirs. That means that if those other users get banned from certain sites due to negative behavior, you may experience issues accessing those same sites. Similarly, you might encounter more issues with security mechanisms like CAPTCHAs.
As with all proxies services, shared proxies have their own advantages, disadvantages, and use cases. All in all, the choice to use one is dependent on your specific situation, needs, and priorities.