There’s little doubt that more and more people are using proxies. That said, there are a lot of questions surrounding the topic. And the most important revolve around just what points people should consider when choosing one. There are as many important points in choosing a proxy as there are reasons for having one. But some of the most important considerations apply to almost every possible need.
Where is the proxy located
Most people are very aware of location when considering a proxy. The problem is, they’re usually more concerned with their own location than they are with that of the proxy.
One of the more common uses of a proxy involves masking one’s current location. As such, it’s quite natural for people to come at the topic with their own location in mind. But that’s really only part of the larger picture.
People also need to consider the geographic scope of IP addresses offered by the proxy. Some options, like TorGuard, have a broad enough range that almost any popular country’s IP should be covered. But it’s not uncommon for a proxy to only offer an IP address within a single country.
It’s important to consider laws within any given country as well. The laws of a country can easily change how a company is allowed to operate. For example, a company located in the located in the UK might incur restrictions from their data protection act.
The overall speed of the proxy can also be very important. A proxy will always have some overhead when it comes to latency. It essentially adds more steps into the basic communication protocol between computer networks.
That said, the speed difference doesn’t have to be off-putting. The overall latency of many proxies is small enough to be almost unnoticeable. There’s also the matter of how fast data travels over the proxy. But in general, this should be fairly comparable to a standard connection.
A proxy needs to operate almost without thought. It should be second nature to one’s overall computing experience. Most people don’t give a lot of thought to whether or not their internet connection is in a usable state or not. Nor should they need to worry about it. These days a working internet connection is vital to the computing experience.
But if one needs a proxy then it’s tied rather heavily into the internet. Waking up to find the proxy’s server is down really can be the same as the internet connection as a whole being unavailable.
That’s why it’s important to look at a proxy provider’s overall record. One should consider how long they’ve been around, whether there are many reports of the service going offline, etc.
Devices and operating systems
Most proxies are easily integrated into either a browser or operating system’s network settings. However, there are exceptions to that rule. It’s always a good idea to consider what devices one wants to use with the proxy. Then, make sure that the proxy service offers active support for it.
One of the reasons for platform lock-down comes from ease of use. Some proxy companies try to make the setup process easier by using proprietary software to configure systems for customers.
However, there’s a second option which provides the same ease of use but without much restriction on a user’s platform. This involves the use of browser extensions. One should consider whether a proxy server offers browser extensions which can make configuration a little easier. Even if one is used to setting up a proxy, there’s still quite a bit of value to be had in browser extensions.
These extensions can come in simple forms that just create the initial proxy connection. But others might allow for rapid switching of IP address or more complex management. This can be a significant time saver after a while.
Value for the cost
People often say that you get what you pay for. That’s certainly not something that can be applied to every situation. But one should keep it in mind when shopping around for a proxy.
People need to ensure that they keep all the previous points in mind when comparing prices. It’s easy to fall into a trap where one starts to wonder if various features are really needed. Especially if it means lowering the overall cost. But there are enough examples in the world right now of a proxy’s necessity.
The features listed so far are all important. How important and how it translates into a dollar value can differ on a person by person basis. But one should always consider the overall value of any service that’s purchased.