What Are Elite Proxies? A Handy Guide
If you’re thinking of using proxies for anonymity or automation purposes, elite proxies are what you need. This guide briefly explains elite proxy servers, how they work, and where to get one.
- What Is an Elite Proxy Server?
- How Elite Proxies Work
- The Other Proxy Types by Anonymity
- Elite Proxy Use Cases
- How to Check If Your Proxies Are Elite
- Where to Get Elite Proxies
Proxy servers are remote computers that let you access internet resources through themselves. These computers can be virtual private servers or real desktop and mobile devices. In any case, you get to use their IP address and location, which is what matters here.
So, what does the word elite have to do with it? If you’re using an elite proxy server, also called a high-anonymous proxy, it means websites can’t link the proxy server to your own device. In other words, they only see the server’s information, and not who’s behind it.
And no: not all proxies do that. Depending on their anonymity level, some proxy servers announce about you plain and clear. Others hide you but not the fact that you’re connecting via the proxy’s IP address. That’s why it’s important to pick the right kind for the task.
Every time you connect to a website, you send and receive something called HTTP headers. They include information about your device, preferences, and more. (For example, which browser you’re using, languages you prefer, and whether you’ve logged in before.)
When you use a proxy server, it has the option to send additional headers in web requests, informing the website that you’re accessing it via a different device. There are quite a few headers that can give you away, but the usual ones include:
- X-Forwarded-For with your original IP address.
- Via with the proxy server’s IP address.
Elite proxies scrub away any header which reveals that a proxy server is involved. With them, you send the same information as if you were connecting to the website directly. Naturally, it completely hides your real IP address.
In terms of anonymity, there are two other proxy types you should know:
- Transparent proxies which, true to their name, make no effort to hide your original IP address. You’ll often find transparent proxy servers in public places like airports and cafes. They’re used for authentication purposes, logging and filtering traffic. They’re no good for anonymity.
- Anonymous proxies which hide your original IP address but still announce that someone is connecting via a proxy server. They can work for anonymity purposes but websites will always be on guard for suspicious behavior. Some may straight out block you as a preventative measure.
Then, of course, there are elite proxies. They also go by the name of high-anonymous proxies. Both terms mean the same thing, though the distinction sometimes becomes muddled. Some commercial providers market their proxies as anonymous for marketing purposes, even when they’re actually elite. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to ask.
Elite proxies are preferred for most use cases that involve anonymity, web scraping, or automation. This is the type to get if you’re scraping Google, managing multiple social media accounts, reselling sneakers, comparing prices, and doing a whole range of other tasks.
Anonymous proxies are simply inferior, and transparent proxies have a different set of uses. So, your main concern will be finding IPs that are actually elite.
Alright, so how do you verify that the proxies you’ve bought make you anonymous? The best way is to check the HTTP headers. If you see no headers with the words Forwarded, Via, or headers that start with X-, the proxy server is probably elite.
Don’t worry if that sounds intimidating: there are many proxy checkers online to help you. For example, Proxy DB searches for 57 headers and evaluates the anonymity level of your current address. Other proxy software lets you enter the whole list at once.
It’s easy to find providers selling elite proxies. In fact, there might even be too much choice. In any case, you’ll first have to decide what kind of proxy server you need. This depends on your budget and use case. The main types are:
- Datacenter proxies. They cost the least, perform well but are simple to detect. You can get a list of static IPs or a service that rotates them automatically. I suggest starting out with datacenter proxies and moving on if you experience too many blocks. We recommend some providers here.
- Residential proxies. They cost more, charge by traffic, and need to rotate after a while. However, they’re very hard to identify with the right setup. Residential proxy servers are used with protected websites like Google, Instagram, or Footlocker. We provide a list of trustworthy providers here.
- Mobile proxies. The most expensive but also most effective option. They’re often used for social media, emulating mobile devices, or working with app stores. You can choose from a list of great providers here.
Is It Worth Using a Free Elite Proxy List?
That depends on your aims, but the short answer is no. Free proxies are public, and public proxy servers have some serious drawbacks: unpredictable uptime, slow speed because of overuse, and some of them modify the content you send through, putting you at risk. I’d only recommend using them if you want to play around with proxies and get accustomed to how they work. Even then, proceed with caution.