A proxy server acts as an intermediary between the computer, tablet, phone, etc, and the internet.
For example, let’s say you live in the UK and you want to access a video on a website in the US. You could use a proxy server to maintain your position and access content as if you were in the United States. This is a low-risk situation, which does not require any encryption.
Another example would be browsing the internet through a server in a location where the plane ticket is cheaper. Yes, airlines are doing this kind of stuff! It is also important to know that these proxy server connections are configured differently from application to application, which means that you must configure the browser to accept the proxy connection.
Types of proxy server protocols
The older of the two types of proxies, HTTP proxies, only works for web traffic. To use an HTTP proxy, connect the proxy server to the configuration file of your web browser or use a browser extension if the browser does not support native proxies. All web traffic will be routed through the remote proxy.
SOCKS proxies offer support for non-HTTP traffic, such as SMTP, FTP, and Torrent traffic.
More information regarding the two proxy server protocols you can find in this article: SOCKS proxy versus HTTP proxy.
Who is the best proxy provider for you?
Before laying down our list, the last thing we need to mention is that not all proxies are equal. There are several free proxy services that you can take advantage of, but, when it comes to confidentiality and performance, you have to pay. Free proxies are free for a reason. In general, they have a short operating time, are full of advertisements and dangers. These are sometimes run by hackers who seek to steal your information. If you want to know more about the risks you expose yourself, read the following article: Confidentiality risks.
Smartproxies has over 40 million IP addresses with unlimited connections and threads. You have the option to choose the targeted country and if you want a sticky proxy or a random one that changes every 5 minutes. The price varies according to the subscription plan you choose regarding data consumption limits. It is simple to use and easy to work with.
Luminati is the leading proxy network with over 72 million IP addresses. This huge IP pool is partially owed to the fact that they give free access to Hola VPN in exchange for your IP address. The only downside is that a good brand renders a higher price. The cheapest subscription is 500$ and it might be too much for a tight budget.
StormProxies has around 70.000 IP addresses which might not impress you like the other proxy services above. But, if there was a top of beginner proxy providers, this one would take the first spot. Mainly, because a wide variety of users would enjoy the pricing subscription plans and decent quality found here. Also, you have the option of purchasing a single port subscription.