Shared Proxy: Pros, Cons, & Use Cases

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Since shared proxies are publicly available, they’re more commonly used and affordable. 26% of online users rely on shared proxies to enhance their web experience. 

Before you use a public proxy to do the same, read our complete guide to learn everything about its proxy providers, use cases, and types.

What Are Shared Proxies? 

All proxy servers are buffers between the user and the website they need to access. They work by hiding your IP address and displaying its IP. These IPs can be random, dynamic, fixed, or geo-specific, depending on the type of proxy you use.

Shared proxies will offer rotating (dynamic) IPs or a list of fixed IPs to choose from. This proxy type is also synonymous with data center proxies since you’ll be provided a list of IPs attached to real servers in a data center.

The public nature of shared proxies allows one IP to be used by multiple users at a time. Think of it like multiple students using one ID card. This communal usage also makes them much cheaper than other proxy types.

How a Shared Proxy Works 

Like any other proxy, a shared proxy is a virtual middleman between you and the internet. But instead of getting a dedicated IP address only you can use, you’ll get a communal IP address. Each user (up to three, in most cases) will connect to the same IP.

Shared proxies employ IP rotation, a method where the shared IP cycles through users to make it harder to trace. But this also introduces trade-offs like the risk of data breaches. According to a 2020 study, 94% of requests sent through shared proxies like Tor are malicious.

Server connections also play a crucial role in shared proxies. The shared proxy sends your requests through its server to hide the origin points. It’s like a security guard distributing entry tokens in a line.

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Types of Shared Proxies 

Here’s how the two types of shared proxies differ.

Shared Rotating Proxies

Shared rotating proxies provide dynamic IPs. You’ll get a back-connect gateway server, which looks like en.proxyprovider.net:10000. This server will connect you to a proxy pool, assigning you a random IP. 

After a dedicated period, you’ll get assigned a new IP. This will happen with every connection request or every 30 minutes or so. 

Shared Proxy List

A shared proxy list contains IP addresses in a text document; you can take your pick. The operation is pretty simple. These IPs are fixed and don’t offer the option to change the location with port modification.

These proxies are ideal for uninterrupted tasks like gaming, where you can’t afford to lose your connection. They’re charged per IP.

Best Use Cases for Shared Proxies

Shared proxies are great for accessing popular websites without spending too much. Here are their use cases.

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Low-Budget Market Research

Low-budget market research is simplified with shared proxies’ affordable and readily available nature. You can protect your company’s IP while researching and get access to previously-restricted data.

Breaking Geo-Restrictions

Shared proxies can be an affordable solution if you need to break geo-restrictions of something simple like streaming apps or eCommerce stores. While only 3% of online users choose shared proxies to bypass geo-restrictions, it’s still one of their main purposes.

General Browsing

Since shared proxies aren’t the most reliable option, it’s best to use them for general browsing. They’ll hide your online identity, prevent IP bans, and enhance your web experience. You can also expect faster speeds if you’re using an IP from a shared proxy list.

Social Media Management

Shared rotating proxies can be used to create multiple social media accounts for one business. This can help you boost your company’s social media engagement and perform market research. More importantly, it can help marketers preview localized ads for geo-targeted marketing.

Minute Scraping Tasks

Shared proxies work well enough for web scraping on a smaller scale. For example, they’ll help if you’re only planning to scrape a few pages or a website that’s not well-protected. You can avoid rate limiting and IP bans using shared proxies alongside a reliable web scraping tool.

Shared vs. Dedicated (Private) Proxies 

To reduce traceability, multiple users can use one shared IP at a time or cycle through rotating IPs. While they are pleasantly affordable, you’ll also need to expect drawbacks like IP conflicts and speed fluctuations. This makes them better for simpler tasks like general browsing or streaming.

On the other hand, dedicated (private proxies) can only be used by one person. You can enjoy consistent speed and better security, but they’re much more expensive. They’re best for sensitive data handling and large-scale web scraping.

If performance, security, and customization are your top priorities, we recommend investing in dedicated proxies. Save money for less critical tasks like gaming, browsing, small-scale experiments, etc., and opt for an affordable shared IP.

Pros and Cons of Shared Proxies 

Shared proxies have many benefits, but their public nature leaves room for certain errors.

pros cons of shared proxies

Pros

Affordable

There are two main types of proxies: shared and dedicated/private. Shared proxies are the cheapest proxy type available since multiple users are shouldering the cost. They’re about 10 to 20 times cheaper than dedicated residential IPs.

High Degree of Anonymity

If you opt for a shared proxy list, you can count on keeping your identity hidden without losing the connection.

Supports Public Data Scraping

Shared rotating proxies bypass IP bans and allow web scraping tasks on publicly available websites.

Diverse Pool of IPs

When you opt for a shared proxy list, you can pick from a diverse pool of IPs, finding one that suits your needs and preferred location.

Scalable

Shared proxies can easily be expanded to accommodate more users and meet increasing demands. They’re flexible without the need for major adjustments.

Cons

Low Speed

The most you can get is an IP on a 1 Gbps line, which you’ll need to share with many other users. You’ll probably have an internet speed lower than the global average of 60 Mbps.

Less Secure

When using a shared rotating IP, you risk losing your connection and exposing your data unexpectedly.

Neighbor Effect

Other users on your shared IP may abuse the proxy, getting your IP banned from certain websites.

Why We Recommend Shared Proxies in Certain Situations 

Here are a few situations where we recommend using shared proxies.

  • You’re looking for something affordable and accessible.
  • IP exclusivity isn’t important to you.
  • You want to perform low-scale or general tasks.
  • You have security measures to protect against the “neighbor effect.”
  • You want to hide your identity.
  • You want to change your location.
  • You’re using proxy servers for the first time. 

TL;DR

Shared proxies are one of the most affordable and readily available proxy types. They’re ideal for first-time users, but their public nature makes them vulnerable to cyber threats. Remember to find a reliable proxy provider and use shared proxies safely.

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Expert in mobile proxies, internet privacy, SEO marketing and sales.
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