There is a multitude of proxy server lists that can easily be found with a simple Google search. Every day, even every hour, new proxy servers pop-up and some last for only a few days. It is essential that you select a credible and legitimate proxy server that is interested in more than just making money and/or stealing your personal and business information.
Although most people believe that private proxies are superior to public proxies, there are several benefits to public proxies. For example:
- Many public proxies are free.
- They are useful for the rare user who requires several proxies but uses each proxy for only several hours
- Public proxies can be helpful with some of the SEO software that need Harvest date from internet (like keyword ranking or page rank.)
- Public proxy servers can also be used with web browsers and other apps that support proxy use.
Caveats for Using Public Proxies
Regardless of the advantages of public proxies, you will want to avoid redirecting your browsing entirely through unknown proxy servers. This is especially important if you are using passwords.
If you are convinced that you want to employ a public and/or free proxy, we suggest you follow these simple tips and take precautions to keep yourself and your computer safe:
- Check the age of the domain. Before browsing with a web proxy site, go to whois.domaintools.com, enter the domain name there and see when it was created. If it was created less than two years ago, you may want to be leery of using it. The older the domain and websites are the better.
- Privacy. Assure that the proxy server is private to only your IP. If it is not exclusive, it will cause issues later on during the process of surfing the web.
- Check for Disclaimer or Terms of Service.
- Do a lot (and we mean a lot) of research before choosing a proxy server. Visit well-known blogs, read reviews and explore several options before choosing a free public proxy server
- What Others Say. Reviews from other users are usually brutally honest and are helpful in determining the reliability and honesty of a proxy list
- Avoid Proxy “Times-Out.” Free public proxies often “time-out” because the proxy server may no longer exist or the server is taking too long to reply to a data request made from another device. Community blogs and comments should be able to help guide you away from untrustworthy public proxies
Although the majority of the experts in the technology population are leery of the security, dependability, and reliability of public proxies, it is possible to find working pubic proxies that deliver quality service.
It is rare to find websites that offer public proxies and are willing to test and check the proxy in real-time and remove dead proxies have some consistency, so beware and cautious.
Researching a Proxy
Proxy identification is an important component of online fraud detection applications. If you are wary of public and/or free proxies, especially those from outside the United States then you are a wise consumer.
The majority of proxy lists on free public lists usually indicate the country of origin for proxies. This is relevant (and necessary) information to understand since you will often require proxies physically located in a particular country. Usually, if the proxy is in the same country where you are working, the proxy will be faster.
All the more reason to research and test the proxy before you begin using it and communicating your private information and data.
There are software programs available to check the speed of a proxy. The speed of a proxy server can vary by:
- The number of users currently employing that proxy (this happens primarily with the free public,
not private proxies)
- The location of the user and the proxy server. For example, a proxy which is fast for USA users may be slow for European users
There are a few good proxy checkers out there that allow you to check hundreds of proxies per minute. Just like proxies themselves, beware if the software is free as it may allow access to unwanted eyes during your proxy checks.
ZennoProxyChecker has a built-in program to check proxies against 20 parameters sorting out the most dangerous and selecting the best and fastest proxies.
Charon is another multipurpose proxy program. It searches Google for publicly posted proxy lists, and incorporates a checker to verify the anonymity and functionality of the proxies.
Another is ScrapeBox. Included in ScrapeBox are a powerful proxy harvester and tester. This handy proxy checker allows you to check if your proxies are working properly.
Since lists of proxy websites are published daily, it is virtually impossible to manually visit each site and test them. ScrapeBox’s Proxy Manager offers a far simpler solution. It has 22 proxy sources already built-in, plus it allows you to add custom sources by adding the URL’s of any sites that publish proxies.
When you run the Proxy Harvester in ScrapeBox, it will visit each website and extract all the proxies from the pages and automatically remove the duplicate proxies that may be published on multiple web sites. So with one click, you can pull in thousands of proxies from numerous websites.
Many websites publish daily lists of proxies. In a perfect world, you could manually visit these sites and copy the lists into another tool and test them, then copy the list of working proxies to the tool you finally want to use them in. The ScrapeBox Proxy Manager is obviously a far, far simpler solution.
Next, the ScrapeBox proxy tester can also run numerous checks on the proxies you scraped. There are options for removing or only keeping proxies with specific ports, keeping or removing proxies from specific countries and you can even test private proxies that require a username and password to authenticate. Finally, the proxy tester has the ability to test if proxies are working with Google by conducting a search query on Google and seeing if search results are returned. This way you can filter proxies for use when harvesting URL’s from Google.
Once the proxy testing is completed, ScrapeBox oﬀers quite a few options, such as:
- Being able to retest failed proxies
- Retest any proxies not checked so you can stop and re-start where you left oﬀ at any time or you can highlight and retest specific proxies
- Test the proxies at set time intervals, then save the “good proxies” to file. This is a huge benefit since you will always have fresh proxies available
- Add keywords to filter out things like domains owned by competitors or large companies you do not wish to contact
- Sort proxies by all fields like IP address and port number
- Filter proxies by speed and keep only the fastest proxies
- Review proxies and keep only anonymous proxies or keep only Google passed proxies
- Classify the proxy sources, so when you test the proxies ScrapeBox can remember what proxies came from what source. And best of all, when all the harvesting and categorizing is done, the proxies can be saved to a text file.
Next Step: Authenticating
For your proxies to work with URL Profiler, they will need to be authenticated. You can either authenticate via IP address or username and password when you’re using private proxies. If your proxies are not authenticated, ScrapeBox will respond with a “failed” message for that specific proxy URL.
A key benefit to the ScrapeBox Proxy Harvester is that is has a “Trainable Proxy Scanner” feature. This means you can fully configure where you want to scrape proxies and meet any specific needs of your business.
Finally, after setting an anonymous proxy or high anonymous proxy for your browser, you can surf this page to test whether your real IP is hidden or whether the proxy you are using is anonymous: Proxy Checker.
Exporting Proxy Lists
Most proxy checker tools provide tutorials on their website or through YouTube.
For example, scrapeBox offers an addon called “Whois Scraper.” This tool is included free when you purchase ScrapeBox and allows for simple excel data export. It permits you to export all your “whois” data to an Excel .xlsx file. The exported information contains all the pertinent information you will need including:
- Domain Name
- Registration Date
- Expiry Date
- Registrant Nam
- Registrant Email
- Registrant Phone Number
Read more, Using Proxies to Scrape Whois Domain Data.
To Sum It Up
Although there may be some advantages to Public Proxies, too often, the risks outweigh the benefits. The better option is a private proxy that is not accessible to anyone else and provides increase anonymity and security…two important aspects when using any type of server. Choosing an untrustworthy proxy site can lead to long-term problems that no one wants to willingly encounter.