Free vs. Paid Proxies
The value you get from not paying for proxies might end up wasted in time and effort dealing with problems that come with free proxies.
There are various proxies available for consumers and private companies to browse the web, from private to public proxies, but in this article we will be focusing on one of the major factors that determine the quality of a proxy-- their pricing. Is it better to go free or pay a certain amount to use a proxy? Let's go over the differences and see which would be a better choice depending on the use-case.
The first obvious advantage of free proxies is that they dont cost anything-- or at least for the vast majority of the proxy’s use will be free while some extra features would include an added minor cost. With a free proxy, a user’s IP address is concealed when accessing websites, and they are also widely available since they can be found with a quick search engine search or on mobile app stores.
Now with being free comes some sacrifices, such as greater security and privacy. Free proxies are still exposed to external threats from hackers, surveillance/spying, and software infections, which stem from it’s low-level encryption of a user’s information when surfing the web. Another issue is poor reliability of the free proxy since its server is not consistently maintained by the provider nor does there tend to be adequate-if any-customer support for any problems with the service. In addition, since the proxy is free which comes along with several potential consequences, no one is held reliable for any issues that a user may experience except for the user themselves, since they understand all the risks. Furthermore, the majority of the proxies available are shared proxies that many other internet users have access to, which leads to the IP becoming banned quickly, or no longer work properly (known as a dead proxy). One last issue is connectivity speed, i.e. how long it takes for a user to access a website or software application with the proxy, which is usually slow when the proxy is shared or low quality - most free proxies are low quality.
Are free proxies worth it?
Given some of the disadvantages to using a free proxy, why bother? Well they operate best when used for simple tasks: accessing geo-restricted websites (to watch tv shows not available in one’s own country for example) and hiding one’s IP address when browsing. Other than this, when it comes to data privacy and security, free proxies should not be relied on.
In contrast to free proxies, paid proxies are the superior product since they offer greater privacy, security, reliability, connectivity speed, and customer support for any unforeseen issues. Lets quickly go over each of the added benefits.
Paid proxies offer greater protection of a user’s online data; from sensitive information like credit card numbers to geographic location. The only entity that has access to this data is the proxy provider itself which must follow strict online protection laws. A paid proxy is sourced from a high quality selection of IP addresses that are not blocked by websites (they are whitelisted) and guaranteed dependable.
Paid proxies also have the benefit of being privately accessed only by the user, as opposed to being shared with others. For instance, a residential proxy is a paid private proxy which sources its IP address from real user electronics which are connected to their home network. The residential proxy essentially allows the proxy user to appear as another real user from a different location, which websites won't block as a result. Along with this, paid proxies have their IP’s be constantly rotated to guarantee adequate functioning each time for the user-- providing full reliability.
Paid proxies are important as well when it comes to online privacy since they help conceal the user’s identity, and allows for the option to choose what geographic location to source the alternative IP address from. Here at Spider, we have a selection of over 70+ million residential IPs available, and we give you the option to choose the specific location of the IP address used. These features offer enhanced privacy for the user as well as ease of mind since one can remain anonymous when using the internet-- going far beyond the capability of free proxies.
Having online, 24 hours a day 7 days a week support for using paid proxies is not only expected, but a standard for paid proxy services. At Spider, we offer on demand customer service through numerous options, from email to chat support.
One last benefit of using paid proxies is fast connection time when accessing websites. Unlike free proxies which share IP addresses with loads of other internet users, paid proxies are private and therefore are not stifled by outside interference since the proxy is exclusive to the sole user, thereby eliminating any loading times for accessing websites/applications or initial connection to a proxy server. Therefore, a paid proxy is the faster option.
With all this in mind, the clear decision between the two choices is the paid proxy service if the user cares more about online security and protection from external threats, or if a private company uses proxies for commercial interests. However, if the user does not care too much about these concerns and wishes to use a proxy for ordinary use, then a free proxy is the right option.