When to use an HTTP / HTTPS Proxy

If you are a seasoned proxy user, you may have come across terms such as HTTP proxy, Socks, proxies, or HTTPS proxy. However, for many in the industry, even those who have used proxies for years, these different proxies are a little confusing.

One of the main reasons you would use a proxy is to provide you or your company with a secure and untraceable connection. However, if you use the wrong proxy, you could provide nefarious characters and the opportunity to breach your security, or you may have issues with compatibility. 

This article will review what an HTTP proxy is, the types of HTTP proxies, and the difference between HTTP and HTTPS proxies.

What is an HTTP Proxy

First, let’s look at the very definition of HTTP. 

HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, and it is the standard internet protocol that you would use to access the web. However, when talking about an HTTP proxy, we can define this as a type of proxy that acts as an intermediary between a client and a web server. So, what happens when you use an HTTP proxy?

  1. When you send a web request to the website, the request does not go to the website. Instead, it goes to the proxy server as plain text.
  2. Then, the proxy server analyzes it and sends a new request to the website using the data bundled with the request and masks your IP.
  3. The website then receives your data bundle and sends back a response to the proxy server.
  4. Finally, the proxy server forwards the response to you.

This might seem like a fair bit of work, and it might take some time, but with the leading providers’ proxies, it takes mere milliseconds.

Types of HTTP proxies

VPN is a type of http proxy

In general, you will find three types of HTTP proxies. The differences come down to the level of anonymity you are looking to have when browsing.

Transparent Proxy

Schools, businesses, and governments use a transparent proxy to control internet usage and restrict access to specific data. You may have encountered this type of proxy when trying to get onto a flash game site or access a streaming site to watch a movie on your school or work laptop.

These proxies do not require a log-in and, instead, are active at all times. These proxies do not modify requests to websites, and sites you visit can still see your IP. Transparent proxies are, by design, a tool to limit usage and ensure riskily or otherwise deemed inappropriate websites are not accessed by workers, users or citizens on the network.

Anonymous Proxy

An anonymous proxy is a tool many use to mask their IP and is generally used by free VPN and IP proxy services. It works by stripping your IP address and replacing it with a proxy IP when a server requests information. The proxy identifies itself as a proxy to the website and can run into problems with streaming sites and other sites that need to enforce geo-blocks or other restrictions.

As such, users of an anonymous proxy may run into blocks as not all sites allow proxy IP’s to visit or stream from it. So, if you are looking to finally access US or UK Netflix from outside of these countries, it might not be the best tool for the job. 

Elite Proxy or Highly anonymous proxy

This type of proxy has two names, but they take HTTP proxies to the next level. Like an anonymous proxy, these proxies will hide your IP address and substitute their own. However, unlike an anonymous proxy that will tell the server it is a proxy, elite proxies will not do that, and instead, they will use techniques to avoid getting detected as a proxy.

Although elite proxies are great for keeping your browsing anonymous, they are still not the best tool for doing anything with money or when security is needed, since you send data with the HTTP protocol, missing the S (Secure). 

HTTP Proxies are relatively cheap and are good for testing your own app or scraping data internally. But not recommended for automating Instagram or scraping Amazon.

HTTP vs. HTTPS

It would be amiss to not touch on the difference between an HTTP and an HTTPS proxy. 

One of the most significant differences between the two styles of proxy is the communication between yourself and the proxy. For HTTPS proxies, requests are not sent to the HTTPS proxy to echo the website you intend to visit. Instead, when you send a web request, your proxy server creates a TCP connection, after which your request data can then reach the website. The only checked and notified is your IP address, which allows for true end to end security.

What proxy server is better

Naturally, the best proxy for your situation will depend on what you are looking to do. 

Great uses for HTTP proxies:

  • Streaming video or music content
  • Collecting large amounts of data with scraping proxies
  • Monitoring websites or e-commerce platforms
  • Working with automated tools
  • In-depth market research

Great uses for HTTPS proxies:

  • Everything an HTTP proxy does, and more
  • Secure and anonymous browsing
  • Completing banking or credit card transactions
  • When avoiding website tracking is essential.

Conclusion: Data volume vs. security 

HTTP proxies were one of the most popular options for many in the past decade. As technology has changed and many users are hyper-focused on security, they have generally fallen out of favour. The HTTP proxies are great when you use them as a VPN for streaming videos, but if you are looking to harvest data, HTTPS is the way to go.

With AnyIP, our HTTPS proxies provide an HTTP compliant option, with the bonus of being HTTPS. Thus, an AnyIP proxy is a win-win, which is rare these days in the proxy and VPN world.

Our two lead words are security and speed, in fact, we have the fastest residential proxy infrastructure in the industry. If you need to complete your scraping needs today, check out our pricing plans below.

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