Basically a proxy server acts as an intermediate between your computer and a website (or other web service) and can be used to hide your real IP address.
You can find a lot of free proxies out there but bare in mind that there are a few problems with them:
The free proxies are blacklisted because they have been abused by some people. Be careful when you are using free public proxies because it is most likely that a lot of them are abused by other people and could get you into trouble if you use them on some services.
Low bandwidth – Free proxies can be very slow because they are used by too many people, or they have a limited bandwidth access.
Unreliable – A free proxy can become unusable or can go offline anytime so it is not a constant and reliable service.
There are many websites that provide free proxy lists, like: http://www.samair.ru/proxy/, http://www.proxy4free.com/
To avoid problems cause by the free proxies you can use a paid service, this is more reliable because the access to proxy servers is limited only to it’s members.
The paid proxies can be:
Shared: more than one people are using the same IP address (In same cases the IP can be blacklisted if some other user abused it in the past)
Exclusive: it is only yourself who can use the proxy IP.
You can get paid proxies from: http://www.proxybonanza.com/
There are a few reasons to prefer using a proxy server:
If you are concerned about your privacy
When you connect to a website it can show the following information about you:
- your IP address
- browsers name and version
- your operating system (Windows, Mac OS, Linux etc.)
- screen resolution
- the page where you come from.
Furthermore, if a website knows your IP address it can obtain, through some online services, information about your location (your country, your city and the name of your internet provider). You can check for example, this IP locator.
Your internet provider has the link between the IP and the name and address of the person who is using it. Anyway this is not a reason to panic, it does not mean that every website can get your name and address. The internet providers keep this information private. Only in some rare cases, if an authority demands it or if there is an information leaking from your provider, someone could find who you are.
If you want to access a service that is restricted to a particular geographical area.
Probably you already know that even Google is showing different search results depending on the country you live in. Some other services simply refuse to deliver content to visitors that are outside a certain area.
In this case you can use a proxy server that has an IP address located in that area.
If you need multiple IP connections to an website.
There are some online services that will deny your access on too many requests from the same IP.
Be careful not to fall into black hat activities. Unfortunately proxies are used a lot for black hat activities like spam, automatic comments posting etc.
If you have more important information about proxies or if you know some other services please comment below.