It goes without saying that if we want to run a successful business, we absolutely must make our brand visible and available online. Additionally, like any other skilled marketer, we will want to know our competition just as well as our target group before drafting our campaign. This is where a shared proxy server comes in handy. However, it’s not without a number of drawbacks.
What Exactly is a Shared Proxy?
A proxy server acts as an intermediary between our computer and the endpoint we aim to reach, i.e., a website. This way, it offers us anonymity and better security, as it hides our IP address. In addition, we can choose from a variety of proxies, depending on our needs and our budget, of course.
The most common difference is between shared and private proxies. The former can sometimes even be free of charge, and these are often referred to as public proxies. The latter comes at a price, as they are exclusive to one user who benefits from the service.
The ‘shared’ in the Shared Proxy
A shared proxy, as we can discern from the very name, is a proxy server shared by many users. What does this mean to us? It means that the server assigns an IP address not only to us but to other users of the same proxy.
Shared Gains Mean Shared Pains
This kind of proxy server has presented itself as an efficient tool for market research, web scraping and keeping tabs on the competition. Nevertheless, although it serves well for improving our SEO results, the fact that even thousands of users share the same proxy raises a couple of issues. Some of these have in turn driven marketers away from using it and made them opt for other alternatives.
1. The Need for Speed
Marketers go for shared proxies because the cache information they gather and store results in better web page upload time. Consequently, Google, the most commonly used search engine, will improve their SEO and rank the page higher in the SERPs.
On the other hand, there is a limit to how much speed a proxy can deliver. Given that the number of users of a single shared proxy can amount to over a thousand, the bandwidth can get crowded. As the number of online users goes up, particularly during peak hours, the Internet connection speed dwindles down.
Additionally, the low bandwidth will affect the time our website would need to load. The poor network performance, as already described above, directly translates into poor Google search engine results. This, in turn, can hinder our attempts to spread the word about our business, as our web page will have a terrible search ranking.
2. Afraid of Blacklisting?
Getting to know the competition is the key to success for marketers. They use proxies for anonymous browsing and web scraping in order to get ahead of other similar businesses. Nevertheless, they tend to steer clear of shared proxies for legitimate reasons.
Namely, the downside of sharing our IP address with others is that some websites might recognize our activity as spam. As a result, this might have detrimental effects on our social media activities. Furthermore, if we try to promote through advertisements while using shared IPs, a web page can mark us as spam and block us.
And while sharing might sound amazing when it refers to lower expenses, it is not as pleasant when it comes to the risks that come with shared proxies. This particularly comes to light when one of the users falls victim to an Internet ban for some reason. In such cases, the ban will apply to all those who share an IP address.
3. Security Issues
The second we connect to the Internet, we expose ourselves to malicious malware. So, going the extra mile in order to protect ourselves online is something we must take into consideration. In order to achieve this, we can use proxy servers, which hide our IP address. Still, there is another side to this quality that gives marketers a headache.
The truth of the matter is that proxies, in general, provide greater security through hiding our IP address. Regardless, the cache information shared proxies collect renders us vulnerable to hacker attacks. The collected information can provide third parties with our details, such as our emails, telephone, and even bank account numbers. Basically, if compromised, the details can be abused, i.e., sold to companies, or used for illegal purposes. In the worst case scenario, they can be used for identity theft.
It is evident that proxy servers are a great tool for marketers and their online promotion. As already mentioned, the wealth of stored cache information can up our position in the SERPs. Besides, anonymity comes at a reasonable price.
Nevertheless, there seems to be a disadvantage to every positive aspect of this service. Evidently, there are ways in which shared proxies can actually hinder our marketing campaign. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that more often than not, marketers stay away from them. If we do not wish to risk the slightest possibility of a security breach and are willing to pay a little extra for better network performance, then we should explore other options.
Shared proxies are just one type of proxy server we can utilize to improve our business. Yet, although we might jump at the fact that they are a cheaper alternative to private (dedicated) proxies, there are many snags that turn the scales in favor of the latter.