What Is a Shared Proxy?
A shared proxy is an IP address used by multiple users at a time. While they are a good choice for some, shared proxies are generally considered to be at the bottom of the proxy ladder, especially when compared to private (dedicated) proxies.
Why are shared proxies thought to be inferior to other proxy types? A lot of the time, shared proxies are prone to something called “the bad neighbor effect”. It refers to when someone has abused a proxy and consequently, its IP gets banned from sites you might want to target. This is a significant risk with shared proxies and even if the proxy is not banned, its prior use history on a specific website might mean that your scraped data is polluted.
The Main Uses of Shared Proxies
- Geo-location unblocking. Some users choose the safer way of accessing the web by paying for proxies from trusted providers. While a VPN in this case could be a better choice, some people find proxies to be less binding by long term contracts and easier to set up for one time use.
- Hiding your IP. Same as with dedicated proxies, shared proxies can be used for security reasons, to stay anonymous on the web. But, again, a VPN could work better for this, if one would be ready to invest in some long term collaborations. We’ve all seen Youtubers promoting VPNs, so it seems that significant discounts are only available when you sign an even longer contract than usual.
- Torrenting. We’re big believers in respecting authors by paying for content, but, obviously, not everyone is. Shared proxies work great for torrenting and no one will be able to track your IP. And dedicated proxies are not the best choice for such a small task.
- Web scraping – data gathering. If you are not planning to scrape on a big scale, or the websites you are targeting aren’t known too well and you know it – semi-dedicated proxies might be a good option.
When to Choose Shared Proxies vs Dedicated Proxies
- You are just starting out with web scraping and just need the tech to experiment
- You don’t have the funds to invest in a dedicated proxy
- The websites you wish to target are relatively unknown
- If you choose a semi-dedicated proxy server to share it with people you know (eliminates the bad neighbor effect)
Frequently Asked Questions About Shared Proxies
Where Can I Buy Cheap Shared Proxies?
You can buy cheap shared proxies from any of the proxy providers on our list. Some of them will cost more than others, but all of them are generally light on the wallet.
Can I Buy Shared Proxies with Backconnect IPs?
Yes. Providers like Smartproxy and Luminati let you access the whole shared proxy pool when you buy a plan.
Why Shouldn't I Get Free Shared Proxies?
You can try out shared proxies from a free proxy list, but we don’t recommend doing so. Such proxies will likely be slow and overused, giving you a poor experience. Also, you don’t know who’s controlling the proxy server, so a hacker might serve you fake ads or even steal your personal data. Be especially careful with HTTP proxies because they send all data in plain text.