What are shared proxies?

There are two different proxy types: shared and private proxies. In this article, we're exploring shared proxies: what they are and how you can use them.

What are shared proxies?
John Garfield
John Garfield 6 min read
Article content
  1. What are shared proxies?
  2. The pros of shared proxies
  3. The cons of shared proxies
  4. What about free shared proxies?
  5. Use cases for shared proxies
  6. Frequently Asked Questions

Proxies are useful for many business and everyday needs. However, there are so many types of them that it’s easy to become overwhelmed. We’ve already figured out in detail the difference between rotating and static proxies, and all the nuances of residential proxies. In this article, we will focus on shared proxies — what they are, how you can use them, and all their pros and cons.

What are shared proxies?

Shared proxies, as their name suggests, are proxies that you share with other users: It means that you connect to a proxy server or a device along with other people, and, consequently, all of you share the same IP address.

Multiple users connect to the same proxy server

The number of users who will simultaneously connect to the same proxy depends on two factors:

  1. The size of the IP address pool that your provider has and
  2. The number of their customers.

Shared proxies vs. private proxies

Only a single user gets to connect to a private proxy — that’s the difference between shared and private proxies. By choosing the latter, you will get a pool of IP addresses that only you can access. As long as you’re renting these proxies, you remain the only user who can connect to them and apply these IPs to the traffic.

Each user gets their own proxy server to connect to

Of course, it makes private proxies more expensive than shared ones as the provider can’t distribute the costs between several customers. This type of service is useful for specific needs -- a good example is web scraping for lead generation. In most cases, shared proxies will do.

The pros of shared proxies

Even though the concept of sharing your proxy address with other users might seem confusing, it’s a widely-used approach that has a lot of advantages.

First of all, shared proxies are very affordable: Since a provider can sell the same proxy to several customers, it’s easy to lower the price without affecting the provider's income stream and the quality of their services. That’s why shared proxies are a great choice for those who just begin using this technology.

It’s uncommon to get the pool of proxies banned if the user doesn’t know how to use them correctly, though. Therefore, shared proxies become a great opportunity to test approaches and learn how to utilize this tool properly.

Moreover, they’re still highly anonymous. The fact that several users around the world share the IP address with you makes it virtually impossible for someone to uncover your real identity. Therefore, they’re rather suitable for data gathering and most business and everyday needs. Despite the belief that shared proxies are not as efficient as private ones, they’re just as effective if you’re using them correctly.

Also, the efficiency of shared proxies largely depends on the provider. For example, we at Infatica check every our customer to understand what for are they going to use our proxies. Thus, we make sure none of our clients is using proxies for malicious purposes — it helps us keep the IPs clean and our customers protected. That’s why Infatica shared proxies are always efficient.

🤖 Further reading: How to make sure you’re using an ethical proxy provider

The cons of shared proxies

Of course, there are some disadvantages to this service, and you should be aware of all the nuances to make the right decision.

If your proxy provider is not as meticulous as Infatica, you might experience issues due to your “neighbors”. As you share the proxy with other users, they may connect to it with some malicious intentions, or they simply might not use the proxy correctly. As a result, this IP address gets banned, and you suffer from consequences — your scraping process gets jammed, for example.

Also, using shared proxies, you might experience lower bandwidth since you share it with others as well. It depends on the number of clients a provider has, and the way it distributes proxies among them.

Finally, because you share the same IP with others, you might encounter CAPTCHAs in Google. But the risk that this happens is quite low because several users can have the same IP address if they’re connected to a WiFi spot in a public place.

What about free shared proxies?

You can find shared proxies given away for free. But we recommend you to stay away from them as they might be unreliable. A free proxy distributor doesn’t really care about the quality of its service, and it’s unlikely such a vendor will check its customers to make sure they don’t use proxies for illegal purposes.

Google's reCAPTCHA interface

Therefore, chances are high that you will experience lots of blocks, CAPTCHAs, and other issues if you try using free shared proxies. Infatica’s proxies are affordable enough for you to not feel the need to choose between free and paid ones — flexible pricing plans will help you stay on budget.

Further reading: Paid vs. Free proxies: What’s the real price to pay?

Use cases for shared proxies

These proxies can be used for virtually any task that requires proxies. Since both datacenter and residential proxies can be shared, you only need to choose the type that fits your needs. For example, if you just want to change your IP address to access a geo-restricted site or to view the content as a user from a certain country would, datacenter proxies are sufficient.

If you need to gather data from the internet, test the interface or the performance of your service, perform research that requires you to Google things, and so on — residential proxies are your choice. They will let you appear as a resident of a particular country, and it will be almost impossible for a destination server to detect that you’re using proxies.

Shared proxies are still great for data gathering

Shared proxies cover almost any situation when you might need proxies. You might need private ones only for some advanced tasks or for when you’re gathering data from complex websites. It’s easy to understand if shared proxies are not enough for you anymore. If you are using proxies correctly but keep getting blocked, or you feel like you need a higher speed, you should try switching to private proxies.

If you have any additional questions about proxies, feel free to contact us. We will help you choose the right option and a suitable pricing plan. And if you have unique needs, we can create a tailored solution for you.

🚀 Further reading: Exploring rotating proxies: Use cases and comparison with static proxies

🧭 Further reading: Residential proxies: A complete guide to using them effectively

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but it would require some heavy-lifting on the other end: Proxies change your IP address, which can still be tracked by ad agencies, for example. Still, the other party will be unable to track your real address or other parameters.

Private proxies provide exclusive access to a single user, unlike shared proxies, which are typically shared between several users. Private proxies' IP addresses are less prone to getting blocked because anti-scraping systems observe less suspicious activity associated with them.

Residential proxies are key for any business which needs reliable access to accurate and relevant data: price aggregators, SEO data providers, brand protection, marketers, academic research, uptime and performance services, protecting corporate data, cybersecurity firms, and more.

Yes. More importantly, different proxy types change your IP address differently: Infatica's residential proxies, for example, provide you local IP addresses from residents from major cities.

Yes: Proxies are simply a network tool, not unlike VPNs. If your proxy provider upholds their ethical code, they make sure to protect your web traffic and provide transparent terms of service.

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