Yesterday I talked about how my journey down the path of SEO enlightenment led me to the use of proxies and today I’m going to talk about the different types of proxies available and when and why you would use them.
In my opinion there are three categories of proxies:
- Public Proxies
- Low Grade Private Proxies
- High Grade Private Proxies
Public proxies are the easiest of these to get and they can be 100% free. There’s software out there (I use one called proxy harvester) that lets you push a button, go do whatever you want for half an hour and there will be 300 or so proxies waiting for you when you get back. These are HORRIBLE quality proxies that a ton of other people will be using as well. Later that night only 220 or so of the proxies will be working, the next day the number will be in the mid-100s and so on. When you’re using these you need to run a fresh list daily.
If you’re wondering what (besides the complete lack of reliability) makes these proxies so low in quality it’s that tons of other people are probably using the same proxy and you have no idea what horrible, horrible spam filled task they’re using them for. If you tried to use these proxies to do things tied to a specific account (like twitter) in any way that account probably wouldn’t last too long. These proxies are only good for a few things like scraping the internet looking for footprints or other automated bots that search the internet, but don’t try to post any content.
You’ll see a lot of services advertising you send you free daily lists of clean proxies to use. I’ve never tried any of them because they’re extremely quick and easy to fetch for yourself.
Low Grade Private Proxies
This category isn’t nearly as cut and dry as public proxies but it does exist. No place will say that they offer “low grade” private proxies just “private proxies”. In fact they will all claim to be high quality. How do I tell the difference? By the reputation of the provider.
The bad news is that private proxy services are tough to judge. The good news is that it usually doesn’t matter. I have ten private proxies through what I’m sure is a low grade private proxy provider that I found on some forums. The provider has a ton of positive feedback and cheap prices (under $11 a month for 10 proxies). The proxies have already changed once in the last month which is a good thing for some users but a bit of an inconvenience for me. I haven’t used this service long enough to recommend them but if I’m still pleased with it in a few months I’ll do a post on them.
I bought these ten proxies to help speed up my SEO rank checking and research efforts and they work great. I trust nobody else is using these at the moment and I feel comfortable with them running queries that are tied in some cases to my Google accounts (keyword research). People that use automated posting tools say they use private proxies because the success rate for posts or directory submissions is far higher with private proxies than with public ones.
I saw a study a few weeks ago where a user submitted some sites to 66 different internet directories multiple times. One batch was with public proxies scraped from the internet, one with private proxies and one with no proxy at all, just his natural ip address. After 45 days about half of the private proxies and no proxy links were alive and well while NONE of the public proxy links survived. This isn’t why I use private proxies but it’s the reason most people do.
High Grade Private Proxies
A private proxy is supposed to guarantee that for that period of time, nobody else but you will be using that ip address. What they oftentimes can’t guarantee you is what the last person who used that ip address did with it. There are a few proxy services out there that really strive to provide a high quality product and luckily for me my first (and second) proxy purchase was from a quality provider. I’ve been using MyPrivateProxy.net for almost a year now and have had nothing but great results. When I bought my first proxy from them I got an email asking me what I was going to be using it for. I thought that was really weird but I told them to check my search engine rankings and they quickly set up my proxy.
Down the line I learned that the reason they asked that question is certain blocks of ip addresses get burned for certain uses, especially twitter. If I had said that I was going to use that ip address for tweet adder then they would have made certain to give me an ip address in a block that is twitter friendly. That kind of attention to detail is not common in the proxy world.
The only twitter account I have is the one I started last week for this website but a lot of people have a lot of twitter accounts for different websites, businesses etc. The danger is that if twitter gets upset enough to ban one of your twitter accounts they often ban all of them. Depending on your business model this can be a devastating blow. One safety precaution that some use is to keep their twitter accounts separate from each other including using a different ip address for each account. A lot of users say that it’s safe to have up to five twitter accounts from an ip address but with proxies being as cheap as they are, it’s probably better to be safe if building multiple twitter accounts is going to be a big part of your strategy.
If you’re going to buy proxies for use with twitter, stick to companies that have been around for long time, that have a long history of great reviews and say that they are safe for twitter. Make sure you spell out ahead of time exactly how you plan to use these proxies and place the priority on protecting your twitter assets rather than trying to save a dollar or two a month.