5 Reasons Businesses Started Using This Old School Anonymization Technology
Web proxy technology has been around since nearly the beginning of the internet and networking age, but it’s recently been brought to the fore with the rise of automation and digitization. Let’s explore what web proxies are and how businesses are using this old school technology in new and creative ways to enhance productivity and boost their bottom lines.
What’s a proxy?
A web proxy is a system or application that acts as a middleman between your computer and the internet. The process essentially boils down to your computer handing off-web requests to the proxy which then grabs the requested data from a web server. Since your computer and the web server never directly communicate, the identity and location of your computer remain hidden from the server.
Until recently, proxies were almost exclusively used for preserving anonymity when browsing the internet. However, with the increasing affordability of computing power and the rise of automation software, modern businesses have begun to utilize them for much more than simply security.
1. Web scraping
The internet is a seemingly endless bank of information. However, unless you’re Google, you have very little need for most of that information. Web scraping refers to the activity of accessing multiple pages and extracting very specific data from these pages. Thanks to new powerful automation tools, web scraping can be performed at incredibly high speeds, creating new marketing and business opportunities along the way.
One example of a new type of business born from the ability to scrape mass amounts of data from the web is travel aggregator sites. These aggregator sites use web scraper tools to dig through the internet for information relating to travel costs, such as hotel prices and airfare. They then serve all of this information in a format readable to the consumer.
Web scraping involves accessing and downloading large volumes of data from a single domain – often several thousand pages. Due to the stress, they cause on the network, many websites will automatically block any IP address attempting to make too many connections at a time. These aggregator sites get around this by using proxies to hide the fact that their web scrapers are all running from a single location. With rotating dedicated proxies, each web scraper connects to the internet through its IP address, circumventing these anti-scraper measures.
2. Social media marketing
As of May 2019, there are 3,499 billion active social media users. That’s 45% of the planet’s population actively using social media in one form or another. Marketing experts very quickly identified the potential for social media to increase customer engagement and influence brand awareness, and they’re using proxies to do so.
Many companies run multiple social media accounts that they use to spark discussion around a brand or product, often to the tune of thousands of different accounts. They manage these accounts using social bots, special software that simulates human behavior on the internet. Each bot is assigned to a different social media account and works throughout the day making posts, liking comments, and accessing online forums to understand how the market is responding to a product or campaign. Sometimes they play a more active role, directly commenting in discussions to steer the conversation in a certain direction.
Social media platforms don’t like social bots and will commonly ban any IP address that creates too many social media accounts. To get around this restriction, marketing experts use rotating proxies to change the IP addresses of every one of their bots. It does this every few minutes, ensuring that websites can’t detect them.
3. Traffic balancing
There’s nothing worse than trying to access your favorite online service only to find its servers are down. The solution is to store copies of your website on multiple servers throughout the globe, ensuring enough data redundancy that you’re never at risk of going completely offline. But if your website has copies scattered in different continents, how do you make sure your users know which one to access and when? Use a proxy server.
The proxy server acts as a single point of access to any of the dozens of servers your company has across the world. The user needs only remember one address, the proxy’s, to access the services she’s looking for. The proxy then automatically connects the user to the fastest server based on current load and proximity to the user, and it does it all with the user none the wiser.
4. SEO monitoring
Search engine optimization one of the most important parts of modern web design. Companies want their company’s site to rank highly in Google’s search algorithm for the keywords most relevant to their brand or product. In most cases, the keywords you’re targeting will be different for every region due to differences in language and culture. How can you know for sure that your website is ranking properly for the different keywords in Texas versus Seoul?
SEO experts use proxies to trick search engines into thinking they’re accessing them from a different location in the world. Say you wanted to know how well your company’s new backpack is ranking for the relevant keywords in Indonesia, if you tried to access the website from Tallahassee, all you’d get was results for America. By connecting through a proxy located in Indonesia, Google now thinks you’re in Indonesia and will show you the relevant results for that country.
Sometimes you don’t want your employees accessing websites with distracting or inappropriate content during work hours. If you’ve worked in a company that blocked YouTube or Facebook, you’re already familiar with this particular application for proxies.
Essentially, every computer in the company network connects to the internet through a proxy where the administrator can set traffic rules that allow, limit, or completely block access to certain websites. After 3 months of research Proxyway published 5 Best Youtube Proxies providers in the market right now:
- Blazing SEO;
We’ve taken a short look at what web proxies are and how they’re used. The short of it is that proxies are intermediaries between you and the internet as a whole. Though they’ve historically been used for maintaining anonymity when conducting online activities, companies are combining them with automation tools to perform work processes at unparalleled speed and scale.