Data is the very ingredient that allows an online business to grow and participate in the universal competition. Businesses that know how to extract and utilize data often tend to perform better than businesses that ignore this crucial aspect.
This is mainly because the internet allows any market to extend beyond a brand’s immediate environment turning it into a global affair. Collecting and using data from all over the world is, therefore, the surest way for an online business to grow and perform better.
This data collection is mainly done through web scraping, and proxies are one of the very important tools that assist in web scraping. And while there are several proxies out there, their functionalities and features vary.
Today, we will focus on the main types of proxies, including HTTP and SOCKS proxies.
While there are several ways to ensure privacy, security, and anonymity of online activities, proxies seemed to be the most popular. This is essential because proxies are as easy to use as they are diverse in application.
Proxies are servers that stand as middlemen between an internet user and the rest of the web. They generally help to convey a request to the target destinations as well as return responses swiftly and securely.
While transferring a user’s request, proxies usually use their internet protocol (IP) address, rotating proxies and locations rather than the user’s. This is the basis of the protection offered by a proper proxy because concealing a user’s information and a proxy makes it harder for the actual user to be identified.
Its location also makes it possible for the user to bypass geo-restrictions as it becomes almost impossible for a server to detect the user’s true location.
Aside from these benefits, proxies also make many complicated online activities such as web scraping a little easier and automated. They are also generally responsible for increasing speed and performance for both the end-user and the target servers through what is commonly referred to as caching mechanisms.
They can adequately act as an intermediary; however, there are several kinds of proxies, each with its specific functionality and application. Some of the most common ones include:
1. Forward Proxy
This is a type of proxy that acts as a gateway for a client or a group of clients. This proxy can hide the user’s IP, forward requests, and store caches. Consequently, it is an excellent tool for ensuring anonymity as well as reducing and controlling web bandwidth.
2. Reverse Proxy
A reverse proxy does the opposite of what a forward proxy does; that is, it services the server or website rather than the internet users. It helps to conceal the target server as well as offer them protection. Aside from that, it also performs roles such as balancing incoming traffic between the available servers, ensures the caching of static contents such as images, and compressing server contents to increase loading time.
3. HTTP Proxy
HTTP stands for Hyper-text Transfer Protocol, and an HTTP proxy is a straightforward proxy that supports different browsers while relying heavily and entirely on the TCP protocol. Using the proxy is simple, and users can connect by opening a particular URL on the recommended browser.
The main applications of HTTP proxies include using caching mechanisms to enhance speed and performance, web filtering and restriction of malware and certain content types, and creating and storing visitors’ logs, and monitoring web traffic.
4. SOCKS5 proxy
SOCKS5 proxies are considered to be one of the most advanced, most flexible, and easy-to-customize proxies. SOCKS stands for Socket Secure, with the SOCKS5 proxy being the latest version of this type of proxy. These proxies can effectively work with any program, internet protocol, operating systems, and browsers. A SOCKS5 proxy even takes a step further by supporting both UDP and TCP protocols, providing authentication methods (using login and password), and allowing for remote DNS queries.
They have a wide range of applications, including bypassing different kinds of content or server restrictions, providing faster connections and request transfers, boosting speed and performance, and ensuring high accuracy with fewer errors. If you’re interested in using SOCKS5 proxies for your business, then read more about the Oxylabs proxy pool and why companies choose them.
HTTP and SOCKS proxies are the most popular proxies in use, and to better understand which one to use, let us now consider their differences.
|Features||HTTP Proxies||SOCKS Proxies|
|Functionality||Specialized for web browsing activities and functions with HTTP protocol only||Suited for various activities, including email forwarding, peer-to-peer platform transfers, file sharing, etc. Also, they function with just about all types of internet protocols, browsers, and programs|
|Speed||They usually interpret data and require higher loading time which makes them slower||They have higher speed as they do not read nor interpret data|
|Security||They can understand packet data and filter them accordingly, which makes them more secure to use||Lacks data encryption making them less secure|
|Connectivity||Can connect with a wide array of tools||Can connect with a limited number of tools|
For better clarity, let us consider the pros and cons of the two proxies differentiated above.
- Compatible with more tools
- Can easily read, understand, and filter web contents
- Best for dealing with a smaller amount of data
- Works with only HTTP protocol
- It can be slow and frustrating
- Not ideal for large and intense web operations
- Work only for web browsing
- Very versatile and works with all types of protocols, browsers, and systems
- Very ideal for handling huge online tasks
- Also ideal for general purposes
- High speed for both request transfers and connections
- Helps to grant access and remove content restrictions
- Not very secure as it lacks encryption
- Can only connect to a limited amount of tools
Proxies are great for keeping you anonymous and securing your online activities, and granting you access to restricted content. However, there are different kinds, with HTTP and SOCKS proxies being the most popular. Lastly, your choice on which of these two proxies to use should depend mainly on the size of data you intend to work with.