In this article, we will talk about why and how to test proxies using different tools.
Let us recall why you might be interested in using a proxy in the first place. A proxy protects your online identity by hiding your real IP address. It also allows you to bypass geo and other firewall restrictions. These are impossible if the proxies you use do not work properly or are not fast enough. Low quality proxies, for example, can leak your real IP address leading to you getting banned by a website you are accessing.
Whether you opted for free proxies or purchased some IPs from a provider, it’s a good idea to test them before using them.
What is Proxy Testing?
Serious businesses need proxies for web scraping, price monitoring, SEO tasks, and marketing research where a proxy failure is inconvenient, to say the least. The question is how do they establish if proxies are fast or slow, efficient or futile, provide anonymity or not?
They test proxies.
Why Do You Need To Test Proxies?
Proxies can be slow. You may have to wait several minutes every time you send a request and spend hours on tasks that usually take a few seconds to complete!
By scanning an IP for its location, you confirm that proxies actually provide you with an IP from a requested destination; hence, making sure access to geo-restricted content will be granted.
You also do not want to have proxies that shut down without a notice, forcing you to start data parsing from scratch, or leak your real IP address.
Proxies must work as long as you need them to and as efficiently as they are advertised.
What to Pay Attention to When Testing Proxy Servers?
You need to define what parameters are vital for you and which tools will help you test them.
If you need to target a website located in a specific country, you need to use proxies of that country. Otherwise, you would not be able to complete your task. It’s also a common practice to choose a “low risk” geolocation using proxies. Website administrators usually trust locations from the United States or Europe.
When you have proxies with reliable and diverse geo-locations, you save yourself from a lot of stress in the future.
You need to look at the speed of your proxies. Some proxies (usually free ones) work very slowly. Do you want to spend a whole day waiting for a connection? It’s up to you to decide if you are ready to compromise speed for the sake of cost savings.
Using proxies for business purposes you need to find reliable ones with good uptime. Proxies with a low uptime ratio may not be active when you need them the most. So you have to test them first to make sure they hold up and will not let you down once you start actually working with them.
How to Test Proxies Correctly?
Now that you know the criteria of efficient proxies it’s time to look at tools you can use to test them. There is a range from simple online tools to custom-made ones.
Below are different options of how you can go about testing your proxies:
Build Your Own Scraper for Testing
If you have the necessary skills and are very serious about proxy testing, you can write your own scraper. It is then up to you to decide what exactly you want to check and code the scraper accordingly.
Use Proxy Tester Tools
Coding your own scraper requires knowledge, patience, and resources. You do not have to go that far to test proxies. Some online tools can measure speed, define locations, and uptime ratio quite well:
- Web browsers
You can track the activity of your proxies by setting them up in a browser. After you modify proxy settings in Chrome or Firefox, you can check if your IP location has changed.
This website reveals your current IP address and location.
3. Hide My Name
Hide My Name detects a proxy type, its ping, location, speed, and level of anonymity. It also shows whether web servers see your real IP or you stay hidden behind a proxy.
Angry IP Scanner pings every IP in a given range (you can scan local networks as well as the Internet) to check if the available IPs are active. It also tests the latency of proxies, resolves hostnames, scans ports, etc. You can extend Angry IP Scanner functionality by making a JAVA plugin.
Proxy Verifier tests connection speed and ping ratio. It also verifies anonymity level, detects an IP location, and checks protocol types. A key difference between Proxy Verifier and other testing tools is that it verifies traffic to and from the proxy, acting as a client and a server.
InfobylP checks the level of anonymity. Transparent proxies show the IP in the HTTP header. Anonymous proxies identify themself as a proxy, but do not reflect the user’s IP address or send a fake one. Elite proxies provide the strongest level of anonymity and do not show any information in the header. Also, InfobylP determines the country, state, and city of the IP address.
7. IP databases
There is a number of databases that contain information about IPs and give you an overview of their usage history (e.g. to identify the country, region, city; to determine an Internet service provider and a domain name, to discover IP ranges, to establish the type (mobile or WiFi) of connection and its speed, to detect an anonymous IP and a threat level, to track down spammers and hackers, etc.)
IP2Location database is considered to be the most accurate because it is updated on a regular basis. Here one can check the details of an IP address, its location, level of anonymity, and an IP type.
The FOGLDN estimates the speed and the timeout rate of proxies. You can also set up your own custom settings. It would not reveal a proxy location, its type, and the anonymity level because it works with a specific website.
The famous Nmap determines available hosts, services these hosts are offering, operating systems they are running, what type of filters or firewalls are in use, and dozens of other characteristics.
Now you have an all-around overview of various tools for checking proxies. Even if you have bought proxies from a reliable seller, we recommend you to check if their location, speed, and uptime meet your expectations. Better safe than sorry.