We here at ProxyScrape have been providing a free proxy list for quite a while now, but admittingly we have to say that free proxies aren’t always safe to use. This is because free proxies do not always provide the anonymity you did expect while browsing the internet and might be malicious. They can be malicious in various ways, such as by injecting ads, tracking your activities, and logging your data such as phone numbers, emails, and location.
In most cases, you will be better off with alternatives such as datacenter proxies or residential proxies, which are maintained by professionals with no malicious intent.
In this article, we will go more in-depth into how public proxies might be unsafe to use.
For some people, proxy anonymity matters a great deal because they do not want their original identity revealed.
There are three types of anonymity levels:
Transparent proxies are a significant problem when it comes to free proxies, especially with HTTP proxies. Analytics on the public HTTP proxies that we have checked show that at least 55% of the proxies are transparent. Transparent proxies will show your original IP address to the target. 6% of the public HTTP proxies are anonymous and will show to the target that you are connected via a proxy. Only 39% of the shared proxies are elite and will not reveal any traces to your target that you are hiding behind a proxy.
When you want to stay anonymous, make sure to only use elite proxies!
People who host a proxy can modify the content you see when visiting a website. These modifications can be malicious.
Research shows that 38.21% of all HTTP proxies perform some sort of content modification. Luckily only 5.15% are malicious.
Forms of non-malicious proxy content modification:
Forms of malicious proxy content modification:
When you use a public proxy, you must stay aware that the proxy you are using might be modifying what you see on the website. Some of the modifications that proxies make might be more malicious than others.
As you already know, public proxies get used by a tremendous amount of users; this causes a lot of load on the proxy servers. Research done by the University of Washington estimates that each public proxy could be using up to 300 MB of data per second. As a result, most open proxies’ lifespan is very short since it is very resource-intensive to operate one. It is estimated that the median lifespan of a free proxy is only seven days long.
Another huge problem with public proxies is that they get blacklisted very quickly from known websites.
There are two main reasons for this:
Since free proxies are blacklisted quickly from many targets, they may not be of great use to you, and you might want to look at their alternatives.
Since free proxies aren’t the best choice most of the time, what should you choose? It, of course, depends on your use-case.
There are two main types of other proxy categories:
When should you use them?
Datacenter proxies are maintained by professionals and generally have a faster response time and greater bandwidth than their alternatives.
Most datacenter proxy providers price their service by the number of proxies you buy instead of by the traffic you consume.
Here are some scenarios you should consider datacenter proxies:
Residential proxies are the more expensive and are often priced by the amount of traffic you consume, but you are less likely to be banned.
You should choose residential proxies in one of the following scenarios:
Other advantages of residential proxies:
In most cases, we would suggest against using free public proxies and go with alternatives like datacenter proxies or residential proxies instead. The reason being that most free proxies are not safe is because they are either not anonymous or are performing something malicious with your browsing activity.