If you are reading this, then you likely already know what a proxy is. You also might know what a data center proxy is and what the differences between them and residential proxies are.

What this guide will focus on is whether data center proxies are still active in 2020. You’ll learn if you could be compromising your business cybersecurity by using a data center proxy service right now.

Still, let’s do a recap to start on a proper footing, shall we?

1. What is a data center proxy?

Are Data Center Proxies

A proxy is a server that uses its virtual address to hide your computer’s real IP address from the rest of the world online.

Your IP is assigned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

That IP address can reveal your personal information to everyone on the internet who’s got the time, interest, and necessary scraping skills to find information such as your approximate geolocation and some browsing habits.

Now, a data center proxy is a virtual address that is not provided by your ISP.

It is provided by an independent cloud service provider that has a physical data center.

Ordinarily, a data center proxy would be based on a single physical address.

But modern technology allows data center proxy services to use specialized software and hardware to create even thousands of IP addresses that are based on a single physical address.

2. What is the main difference between a data center proxy and a residential proxy?

Because the entire data center proxy operation is based out of one physical location, it tends to be cost-effective and easy to work with.

The cost savings are passed on to the data center proxy user, which makes data center proxies the most common proxy types in use today—compared to residential proxy services.

Residential proxies are based on thousands or even millions of different physical addresses.

As a residential proxy user, you can rotate through dozens of IP addresses in a single month for that reason.
Not one of those is easily traceable back to your real IP address.

3. Datacenter proxies worth it in 2020?

With the above understanding in your grasp, picture this:

  • The 2017 Identity Theft Resource Center report showed data breaches exposed over 158 million social security numbers
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed it processed 1.4 million fraud cases, leading to a startling $1.4 billion in losses
  • Identity theft was the third most prevalent of the fraud reports with 167,000 people reporting credit card fraud concerns

Yet there has been a noted exponential increase in cyberattacks each year since 2016.

So, there has never been a better time to invest in good quality proxy services to protect your identity online—at the very least, your company or individual IP address.

Datacenter proxies do hide your real IP address, are cheap, and work fast.

In case you have an issue with a data center’s IP address, your cloud service provider can quickly and easily replace it for you with another out of the thousands they typically have.

4. The problem with data center proxies

And in those data centers, proxy advantages also lie the biggest challenge.

Because a data center proxy service provides fast, affordable, multiple proxies on the same connection, they can get flagged or blocked from target websites.

Or, it can be applied in actions that are beneficial in the right direction.

Datacenter proxy uses in 2020 benefit companies in several critical ways, including:

  • Reduce chances of data breaches;
  • Do thorough keyword research and gather reports to help boost your SEO strategy;
  • Help protect your company network from bans and hacks that can result from employees accessing inappropriate or unsecured sites via your network.

But misuses can expose the entire data centers’ proxies to bans.

Let’s look at an example.

One of the best proxy use cases in web scraping.

Businesses use targeted web scraping to gather business intelligence on their competitors.
That is information such as competitors’ pricing, special offers, and discount strategy, as well as product listings and placement.

This is perfectly legal, judging by a 2001 ruling.

In 2020, many brands’ websites can identify whether you are using a data center proxy server.
And they can block data center proxies from accessing their site.

5. They can go further, still

If such a website identifies a certain threshold of requests coming from the same data center, it can block all proxy servers originating from the data center.

Here’s the not so small problem with that:

While scraping is a reality many businesses and online tools use daily, there are also spammers, hackers, and other damaging cyber attackers that you could be sharing the data center proxy service with.

If these illegal parties pulled a stunt that got the data center red-flagged by both search engines and websites, all IPs associated with that data center could be banned from accessing either.

Internet browser software has become good at detecting proxy servers as well. And they’ll block any activity that raises a red flag to prevent Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) Attacks.

On the flip side, residential proxies are associated with reputable ISPs. So they are seen as less likely to suffer a ban. The ISP is contacted and informed about the issues first instead of getting an outright ban.

6. So, are data center proxies ineffective in 2020?

Yes or no?

It is not that plain of an answer to dish out.

And here’s why.

Using free data center proxies can land you in trouble. There is no reason to trust an open data center proxy service.

As many as 68% of free proxy servers could be unsafe, according to a survey Austria-based researcher, Christian Haschek did a while back.

But premium data center proxies are much more reliable. The most secure, fastest, and overall best data center proxy services are paid ones. The pay provides an incentive and responsibility to provide top-notch services.

The best data center proxy companies can afford high-tech software, hardware, and skilled engineers to help them protect their servers. Cyberattacks are nipped off before they can affect you.

One way to get the best data center proxy service provider taking care of your online interest is to choose a private proxy service that uses modern encryption.

You’ll want to check if the vendor permits secure HTTPS web traffic.

According to Christian Haschek, 79% of proxy servers forbid HTTPS secured traffic in 2015.

While there are no 2019 figures to compare improvements made, you can expect many proxy services not to support HTTPS traffic. So choose the few that do.

Such data center proxy service will be pricier than one that forbids secure traffic.

But the subscription cost is not in the tiniest comparable to the cost of losing your personal information to identity theft attacks and or data breaches.

7. Datacenter proxies worth it in 2020? Verdict

If you want a safe and dependable data center proxy service for personal use, use a premium provider.
And if you are a larger brand looking to protect your company network and competitive edge, use enterprise-class proxy technology for assurance.

In either case, you’ll want to avoid free proxy services in 2020. So doing some due diligence can help you get the best data center proxies. And those would be worth your investment right now and going into the increasingly online future.