The use of proxies has changed greatly since I started in IT about 25 years ago. Then most company networks in medium sized companies usually managed with a single proxy running something very simple or annoying like Microsoft ISA server. Of course most corporate networks still use proxies, however now they’re needed to cope with internet access on the desktop and adding an extra layer of Anti-virus protection to the client PCs.
However it’s outside the world of IT support that I’ve seen proxies change the most. Nowadays you’ll see all sorts of people using them, for all sort of reasons ranging from privacy to online businesses. You’ll also see big corporations and marketing companies investing in proxies in order to analyse and support their online businesses.
One of the problems of the internet as far as international companies goes is that it’s sometimes difficult to assess what your advertising or web presence is like in another country. A large company will often spend to create a presence in lots of different countries but it’s difficult to assess how those efforts are working sometimes. For example a US company will find it difficult to assess how they look in South Africa if they’re sitting in an office in New York.
It’s because so many components of the internet are becoming localized. Search engines and advertising sites will tailor their results based on the location of the user and it’s difficult to bypass this effectively. The only certain way is to use an IP address in your target country, however to do this you need someway to deliver that experience to your computer.
Also IP addresses are expensive and often abused so decent residential based IP addresses are even more costly and difficult to obtain. To accomplish lots of task especially marketing and research you need an awful lot of them too. Fortunately there are now solutions which offer the facility to gain access to lots of these addresses without huge costs previously involved.
The solution to this issue is to stop the actual assignment of individual addresses to specific proxy servers. Instead a concept has been developed called residential backconnect proxies, which focus on providing address pools to proxies which can be switched easily. The IP addresses are stored and allocated through a central database which assigns to individual connection request either randomly or sequentially.
So when a request comes from the client to visit a certain website, the proxy is then allocated an IP address from it’s pool. It’s at this point the type and location of the IP address can be determined, so a French address could be assigned if the client requested a French resource for instance. Also other important factors can be assigned – perhaps a residential address or one allocated for use on a specific social platform. This means that many people can gain access to a huge pool of IP addresses without concurrent connections. This is important especially with social networks, where many concurrent connections from individual IP addresses can raise red flags.
It also ensures that the expensive addresses like residential ones are not abused or end up getting blocked or banned. Having central control over which addresses are used is much more efficient than selling access to them individually to different people. Also being able to maintain a list of residential addresses and a list of Netflix addresses means that the resources are not misused by mistake.