The Pros and Cons of Using Instant Setup Proxies

To use instant setup proxies or not?

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That is the question Shakespeare couldn’t have imagined would come to wrack the late-night tech-junkie more than anything. I get it. You need proxies. You think you need them now. There they are, offered as “instant,” a PayPal (or Bitcoin) purchase away. That immediacy feels like a birthright in our crazy fast-paced world, and you’re close to pulling the trigger.

You probably found this article in a last-minute attempt to assure yourself that yes, purchasing this huge batch of instant setup proxies is the right thing to do. I’m not going to tell you not to do it. Instead, I’m going to lay out in even and non-emotional terms the pros and cons of using such instant services (I know how emotional this can be). This means I’ll also be touching on the other kinds of proxies, those bought and waited for, so that you can make an informed decision.

Sound good?

The Purpose of Your Proxies

This article comes down to the question of purpose. What exactly are you using your proxies for? That answer is inherently the key to what kind of proxies you need.

There are three big categories when it comes to buying proxies from a provider:

Can you buy the Best proxies

  • Fast: These are your instant setup proxies.
  • Cheap: These proxies won’t break the bank, but they may break in a bunch of other ways. They probably won’t be particularly instant in your setup, either.
  • Quality: The deluxe proxy boasts high data speeds, specificity to your needs, and a number of other redeeming qualities. It won’t be instant setup, though, and it’ll only be cheap if you’re lucky.

It’s possible to get two of those traits when purchasing a batch of proxies, but all three are not very likely. You will pay a price for everything. Think about the purpose of your proxy purchase overall, and of your immediate needs.

If a report is due tomorrow and you need to scrape massive reams of data overnight with the hopes of a quick compiling in the morning, then your purpose is fast setup time. Grab the instant proxies – you do need them now, and you’ll sleep better knowing they’re running.

If you’re buying proxies for scraping applications and will need them to last over the next days, weeks, and even months, do you really need instant setup proxies? Probably not.

The reality is that you’re talking about the difference between 0-5 seconds versus 12-72 hours to receive your proxies. Some proxy services such as SSLPrivateProxy can take longer, but not for the common user. If you’re a company that’s purchasing in the thousands for very specific purposes, you’ll need to wait, but I doubt that’s who’s reading this right now.

So, seconds verse hours. Not for weeks or months. Can you wait?

What is an Instant Setup Proxy

I want to be clear about the terms here. An instant setup proxy provider is one that, upon receiving your payment, sends you your proxies immediately. Not within minutes or hours, but now. These systems tend to be fully automated; after you create an account and enter payment, the system will dispatch the number of proxies you purchased to you via email.

How do the providers do this?

Proxy providers like this own large pools of proxies, stored in data centers around the world, that are just waiting for paying customers. When you make the purchase an algorithm locates the proxies that best fits your order and dispatches them to you ASAP.

It’s as simple as that, and sounds good in many ways. We’re living in a digital world, and this particular topic is at the center of that digital-ness. Why not automate the process?

The Pro

The main pro we’ve already mentioned, and it’s obvious. Speed. You get those proxies immediately and they can be used immediately. It’s hard to beat product that is readily available in such an easily accessible way.

The Cons

There was only one major pro because, when it comes down to it, there are a lot more cons with instant setup proxies.

  1. Not Specific To Your Needs

Due to the automated nature of the service, you often don’t get proxies that are specific to your needs.

As you may know, proxies are used for all sorts of things. Some people want proxies to scrape and harvest data from Google, others want them to create and access email accounts. Still others need proxies to make Ticketmaster and limited-edition Nike purchases, while even more people want them to just browse the internet anonymously.

The above list can continue ad infinitum, but the point is that the particular ways a proxy is used requires a specific kind of proxy. Most of the time a general proxy will work, but it won’t work well.

Let’s take the Ticketmaster example, as that typically involves a time-limit. You need proxies to purchase hard-to-get tickets. You forgot about the sale date (let’s say it’s Coachella tickets), and the tickets go live in one hour. You scramble for proxies that will activate in that amount of time and find a service that can do it. You purchase them only to find that many of the IPs have already been used and banned by Ticketmaster. These weren’t virgin proxies (ones that have never been used or seen before); they had digital stigma attached to them. Your ticket-grabbing application fails to work because the proxies get burned out and you don’t get the tickets.

This is a worst-case scenario, but my point is that with automated instant setup proxies you can’t really know how they’re going to work. They will work; you paid for them, but most of time people don’t just need proxies to work, they need them to work for a specific application or process.

  1. Rarely Virgin Proxies

The second major negative for instant setup proxies relates to an aspect of the first example. You might never be able to get virgin proxies. This will depend on the provider, but most of the time instant proxy providers source from a continuous, huge pool. This pool has been shared and used by hundreds if not thousands of customers who did all sorts of things with these proxies, making them unusable in certain situations.

IP blocked by Nike

Like I said, this will depend on the actual proxy provider. My advice would be to get in contact with customer support and ask if any of the proxies are virgin proxies, how you can get your hands on those, and what sort of use the other ones have been through. This will probably cut into your immediacy factor, but you never know. The customer service might be immediate too, and all your problems will be resolved.

Virgin proxies are not necessary, but very helpful for specific proxy uses.

  1. Higher Cost

This, again, will depend on the proxy provider you end up choosing. The cost range for proxies on the internet is massive – proxies can run you as low as $10 per month for a single proxy, or many more proxies for $20-ish a month. The cost has to do with other factors, too.

Are the proxies shared or private? Are they HTTP and SOCKS compatible, or just HTTP? How often do you get a refresh of proxies? Does the service have an integrated API to manage the proxies or a VPN service alongside the proxies?

Higher Cost of 5 proxies

It’s a lot to research, which is something you should consider when purchasing proxies in general.

The point here is that typically instant setup proxies cost more than they should. The proxies provided are not worth the high cost, you just end up paying for the immediate service. For a little more patience (and more research) you could find proxies that will last longer, run faster, and be more in-tune with your actual needs.

  1. Fewer Providers

There are tons of proxy providers out there, but there aren’t many instant setup proxies. This requires a business to own thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of proxies already, so that when a customer buys they are ready to go. That kind of overhead is expensive, so only a few services provide actually instant proxies. InstantProxies and ProxyBonanza are two of the more well-known ones.

This smaller group usually leads to inflated prices. But it also means less choices for you, the consumer, and I know you want choices.

Those Other, “Slower” Proxies

With instant setup proxies outlined, I think it would be helpful for you to get a full picture of the proxy marketplace, namely those slow-poke proxies that will take 12-72 hours to show up in your inbox.

These proxies heartily mirror the cons of the instant setup proxy, so I won’t get repeat all that information. In short, you will find many more options and dial in on your precise needs when taking time out of the equation.

One of the benefits of signing up for these slower proxies is it assumes you’re in the market for at least a couple of months. Why get instant setup proxies if the plan is to use them for months or years? Take the extra day to do your research, connect with customer service reps for a couple of companies, and make a good decision. This will ensure your needs get met.

The other major benefit to the slower proxy providers is how hands-on they are. When a provider like this gets your order, they will send an email and ask what kind of proxies you’re looking for. They will do their due diligence to find proxies that fit your needs, handle it personally, and check in to make sure they’re working afterward. That kind of service is something you pay good money for, but it goes a long way.

All that said, the reality is that these slower proxies providers are not necessarily better. You have to do comparisons to see if they are. You could certainly purchase proxies from a provider that isn’t instant setup, only to find the instant setup would have better for your needs.

There is no perfect proxy.

You will still have to hunt for good deals, reliable customer service, unused proxies, and proxies built with the functionally you’re looking for.

Go Set Up Your Proxy

The big question at the end: have you decided what proxy provider is right for you? In no way was my goal to convince you that instant setup proxies suck, or aren’t the way to crawl the internet. They absolutely can be, if it fits your needs.

If you’re still very unsure, or don’t want to take the time to do the research I recommended, find two services that offer free trials.

One service should have instant proxies, another won’t. Assuming you don’t need them in the next hour, test the proxies from both services on the applications you’ll be running after you purchase.

Plug them into your browser, your torrenter, your scraper. Do some hard testing on these and, if the results come out the same (or similar), your choice will be made for you.

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