Before you learn how to test proxies properly, let us first learn what proxies are, and their functions as proxy and proxy servers are a crucial part of the modern world we live in. So without any further delay, let's begin!
What is a Proxy?
A proxy or a proxy server is like a bridge that serves as both an intermediary and a gateway between a user's device and the internet. Any and all requests made by and made to the user are routed through the proxy. It then chooses what to do with those requests, i.e., accept/forward them, ignore them, etc.
There are many kinds of proxy servers available; now, let's see what their function is.
What Does a Proxy Do?
The primary function of a proxy is to control internet traffic. It does so by regulating and monitoring all incoming and outgoing traffic between a user and the internet. Think of it like an assistant or receptionist and a security guard, all combined into one. To help you better understand the functionality of proxies, here is a list of their functions:
To Control And Monitor All Instances of Internet Usage In an Ecosystem
An organization or a company may set up a proxy server to regulate all incoming and outgoing instances of communication. Whether for privacy reasons or just to monitor activity, this is an effective way of controlling that. Some use case scenarios include emails, browsing data, incoming and outgoing requests, etc.
To Add an Extra Layer Of Security
The importance of online security requires no explanation as it is known and understood by all at this time and age. It is never a bad investment when you are investing in increasing online security, as you can never be too secure these days.
To Control and Regulate Bandwidth
Proxies can also help you perform more efficiently and effectively by controlling bandwidth. For example, proxy servers can cache data and regulate website bandwidth speeds, increasing or decreasing the bandwidth based on both priority and efficiency. Furthermore, it also helps reduce the overall bandwidth of any ecosystem by better prioritizing and caching data.
To Add And Bypass Restrictions
Certain content on the internet is often blocked off or restricted. It could be for various reasons, from geographical location to privacy. Proxy servers help bypass these restrictions by changing your IP or masking it and hiding your location and identity online. Moreover, this same proxy server can also block off and restrict content in an ecosystem. For example, companies can block off sites like Youtube and Netflix in their workplace, so employees are always productive.
To Provide Anonymity
A proxy server can also be used to hide a user's identity. This is done by masking the user's IP address and replacing it with the proxy's IP address. This is useful for people who want to browse the internet anonymously, or for people who want to access websites that are blocked in their country.
What is Proxy Testing?
Simply put, proxy testing is a testing process to see if your proxy servers are working and functioning correctly and optimally. Proxy servers are a crucial part of an ecosystem in any company and organization, so ensuring that they work correctly is vital and critical.
Proxy servers must always be running at full capacity without any problems and crashes because vital functions, like scraping, crawling, etc., depend entirely on proxy servers to work and function properly.
Why is Proxy Testing Necessary?
If proxy servers are not appropriately tested, you may run into a lot of problems, for instance:
- Be susceptible to DDoS attacks.
- Getting banned and marked.
- Become prone to crashing and malfunctions.
- Lowered efficiency and speed.
- Inaccurate location and address.
- Connection issues.
- Compatibility issues.
Now, let's move on to the main event: how to test proxy servers.
How to Test Proxy Servers Properly?
There are two main ways of testing out proxy servers:
By Using IP Checkers
You can easily check if your proxy servers are changing and adjusting your IP addresses properly by following these steps:
- First, before you start any work, you need to check your actual IP address and make a note of it.
- Next, you need to start a regular working session and start your proxy server.
- Connect to it.
- Now after a successful connection has been established, you need to again check your current IP address.
- If it is changed, then you can be sure that your proxy server is working properly.
- If it doesn't, then that means your server isn't working properly or other things such as an error in connection, wrong settings, etc.
By Using IP Databases
Just like the name suggests, an IP database is primarily a database containing detailed information on IP addresses. This information includes things like location, ownership, domain, etc., which are vital. Moreover, this database also contains a list of blocked and banned IP addresses.
In order to check if your server is working properly, you can simply cross-check the information you know with that of the database. On top of all this, additionally, you'll also be able to see and check if your IP addresses or proxy addresses are blocked and blacklisted or not.
What are Some Proxy Testing Tools?
Angry IP Scanner
Angry IP Scanner works by checking the availability of any IP address. It does so by pinging all IPs within your input range and providing vital information like hostnames, ports, delay, latency, etc.
This free proxy checker not only checks proxies but also provides crucial information on those proxies, including things like speed, hiding IP, geolocation, time to respond, etc.
FOGLDN Proxy Tester
One notable feature of this proxy tester is that it shows you the speed at which the IPs work and connect.
What sets this tool apart from the others is that it has an extensive database of IPs and information on those IPs. This info has been gathered from reputable sources and is reliable. One of its most useful features is that it can show users the anonymity level of an IP address.
The unique feature of this service is that it effectively shows you the level of anonymity that is maintained by any IP address.
This year (2022) marks the 25th anniversary of this famous open-source service. There is a reason why they have been in the game for so long. One unique feature of this service is host discovery, OS detection, and port scanning. It analyzes the response from hosts and uncovers crucial information about the host.
One special feature of this service is that it can determine if there are any connectivity issues or if the proxy servers are working properly or not by checking the response times for accepting and handling requests.
The unique feature of this service is that it is Yahoo-based. It is a free service that can be used to check the status of any proxy server.
It is one of the best residential proxies out there that is reliable and efficient.
What is My Proxy
This free-to-use and relatively simple service show you various information about the IP address you input.
What Things to Consider When Testing Proxies?
You need to consider the following things when testing and checking the proxy server:
First and foremost, a proxy server needs to be efficient. The efficiency of a server depends on a lot of factors, such as
- Response time.
- The time required to establish a connection.
- Bandwidth and browsing speeds
- The number of requests that can be handled at a time.
When using proxies, you do not want to compromise on efficiency, especially if you are doing tasks that require you to handle massive amounts of data simultaneously and work with other systems on the internet.
One of the primary functions of a proxy server is to alter and mask your IP address. Much like your physical address, your systems also have an address as well. This can be traced to pinpoint your geolocation and global position. So it becomes vital that your proxy servers are able to mask and change your IP address and geolocation accordingly to access and communicate with websites on the internet. It also ensures you dont get banned and are less prone to cyber attacks from hackers and competitors alike.
Checking to see how long your proxy servers run each session is vital. It would be very unproductive and potentially cause you a significant loss if your servers suddenly stop working during a regular working session.
So you should always check that your servers run through the entire duration of your working sessions and maintain an appropriate amount of uptime.
What kind of problems can proxy servers face?
Problems proxies can face, and users can run into are unresponsiveness, malfunctioning, crashing, connectivity issues, etc.
Can I manually check and test proxies?
Yes, you definitely can, but it's unreliable, and you can't get vital information an automated service can.
How often do I need to test proxies?
You should text proxies at least once a month for safety.
I hope going through this article has been fruitful for you. I hope that the information on how to test proxies and the suggestion of tools I suggested come in handy for you, and yes, I hope you learned something new from this article! Additionally, you may visit this link if you want to learn about testing proxy API.
Happy Web Scraping, and don't forget that free proxies are not always the best option because of their speed and reliability ❌