Web Development

The Best Proxy Services for Unblocking Websites

Blocked websites are a commonality in schools and workplaces. In some cases, an entire country may be a victim of blocked sites – this is usually the case in countries led by dictatorial regimes. At the same time, practices such as web scraping can lead to IP blocking, which is synonymous with blocked websites. Fortunately, students, employees, citizens, and data collectors who want to access blocked websites can do so using proxy servers.

What is a Proxy Server?

A proxy server or proxy is a computer running a particular software offered by a proxy service provider at a fee or for free that intercepts internet traffic from a web browser or web server. Under this arrangement and depending on the proxy type, the requests appear to either originate from the proxy rather than your computer or terminate at a proxy (in the case of reverse proxies and server-side HTTPS proxies) rather than the web server.

It is worth pointing out that most types of proxies then assign the outgoing requests (traffic from the browser) a new IP address, hiding your computer’s real IP address. The minority, which includes reverse proxies, transparent proxies, and server-side HTTP/HTTPS proxies, do not assign a new IP address nor modify the requests/responses.

Types of Proxy Servers

There are different types of proxy servers, including:

  • Residential proxies
  • Datacenter proxies
  • Transparent proxies
  • Forward proxies
  • Reverse proxies
  • HTTP/HTTPS proxies
  • SOCKS proxies
  • Anonymous proxies
  • High anonymous proxies
  • Dedicated proxies
  • Shared proxies
  • Rotating proxies
  • Static proxies

1.      Residential Proxies

Residential proxies are intermediaries that assign residential IP addresses, which belong to internet service providers and are associated with real users. This proxy type is not easily blocked or blacklisted and is, therefore, preferred when web scraping. Other use cases of residential proxies include:

  • Accessing blocked websites (bypassing geo-restrictions)
  • Ad verification
  • Social media management
  • Price monitoring

2.      Datacenter proxies

Datacenter proxies route traffic through powerful datacenter computers and are therefore fast. They assign virtual datacenter IP addresses generated by the datacenter servers to the outgoing requests.  Because these addresses are virtual, the IP addresses are abundant, a factor that makes datacenter proxies cheap. This type of proxy is used for:

  • Small-scale web scraping
  • Bypassing geo-restrictions

3.      Transparent proxies

Also known as intercepting or inline proxies, transparent proxies that schools and workplaces can block access to specific websites. Transparent proxies do not require users to change proxy settings. As such, they can be easily used to intercept communication without the knowledge of the users in that network, a factor that informs the name ‘transparent.’ 

4.      Forward proxies

A forward proxy is any client-side proxy that intercepts outgoing requests and directs them to the target webserver. Forward proxies are used to:

  • Anonymize browsing by assigning new IP addresses
  • Enhancing security by filtering HTML responses and files sent by a web server
  • Blocking access to specific websites (as is the case with transparent proxies)

5.      Reverse proxies

A reverse proxy is a server-side proxy installed on the server. It intercepts incoming requests and filters them. This enhances security. Reverse proxies serve the following functions:

  • Prevent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
  • Filter requests to prevent cyberattacks
  • Cache frequently accessed web pages, thus improving loading speeds and freeing up the bandwidth

6.      Dedicated proxies

A dedicated or private proxy is used by one user at a time. This makes them fast and expensive.

7.      Shared proxies

Multiple users use a shared proxy simultaneously. They are, therefore, slow and cheap. Additionally, they are unreliable as the IP addresses are drawn from blacklisted subnets.

8.      Rotating proxies

A rotating proxy periodically changes the assigned IP address, promoting online anonymity. Rotating proxies are mostly used in web scraping.

9.      Static proxies

A static proxy maintains the same assigned IP address throughout the browsing session.

10.  Anonymous and High Anonymous Proxies

An anonymous proxy is a proxy that identifies itself to a web server as a proxy, while a highly anonymous proxy does not identify itself as a proxy.

Best Proxy Services for Unblocking Websites

Generally, the best proxy servers for unblocking websites include:

  • Residential proxies
  • Datacenter proxies
  • Anonymous proxies
  • High anonymous proxies.

These proxies perform this function by assigning a unique IP address that hides the real IP address. Therefore, they come in handy when a website has already blocked a user’s real IP address. In addition, when rotating residential or rotating data center proxies are used, they prevent additional blocks.

Additionally, these proxies enable users to access geo-blocked content. When a user chooses an IP address from a different country, the proxy service provider routes the traffic through a computer located in that country. This arrangement creates the illusion that the requests originate from the proxy and not from a user’s computer located in a different country.

Conclusion

Proxy servers are extremely useful as they help users to unblock websites. The websites may be blocked due to the previous web scraping efforts, for example. Alternatively, some institutions block access to specific websites, while some websites implement geo-restrictions. Users can unblock the blocked websites using residential, data centers, anonymous, or highly anonymous proxies.

If you wish to learn more about proxies in general, check out this page.

Michael Clark

Michael Clark has been a ghostwriter for 5 years. Expert in tech trends, SEO & business marketing-related content. He has always wanted to pursue writing as a career.

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