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What Is a Proxy List?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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A proxy list provides information about proxy servers web users can access for browsing. When people use proxy servers, they submit information to the proxy, which turns to the end destination for the data. It relays the data back to the user, who never actually visits the end destination. There are a number of reasons why people might want to use such service. Proxy lists optimally connect users with servers that may meet their needs.

Users can navigate through proxies for privacy and confidentiality reasons, to make it harder to see and track what they do online. A proxy list may also provide access to sites blocked by an office security system or a national firewall, where the government limits web access for citizens. People may have malicious reasons for wanting to use proxies, like wanting to leave nasty comments on a website without revealing their identity. The reasons could also be more benign; a proxy could cache data to make it load faster, for example.

Some are readily available to the public and can be found online on websites, forums, and other locations. These public lists can be organized in a number of ways. Some rank by reliability, putting sites that perform well at the top. Others can organize by location or Internet protocol (IP) address. Users may be able to select buttons to sort the list in several different ways to suit their needs.

Public proxy list resources may sometimes accept sponsored links. These sites will be ranked higher in the list to make them more visible to users. Users should be aware of this practice, as it may influence the display settings and they could end up on a proxy they do not actually want to use. Sites that accept sponsorships usually indicate this for the benefit of potential advertisers and users. Some also flag sponsored links to make sure users can identify them.

Private proxy lists are also available. People may pay for proxy services, in which case they receive access to servers limited to members only, which can be safer and more reliable. Their service providers generate and regularly update a list of the servers they work with. The private proxy list may also be maintained on a locked forum or secure website to make it harder for the general public to find particular proxy servers. Contents of a private proxy list may periodically change as new servers are added and old ones are removed.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By browncoat — On Apr 06, 2013

@bythewell - I just can't bring myself to care. I know they are tracking me, but I also know they are tracking billions of other people, some of whom are "worse" than me, some of whom are "better". I'm just an average person, there's no reason to think that big corporations care about what I do as anything except one point of data among the multitudes.

I don't do anything really bad, like use ridiculously easy passwords or put my cell phone number all over the internet, but I don't really stress that much about using proxy for everything either.

I know bad things could happen. But the likelihood of them happening is so slim, I really don't think it's worth getting excited about.

By bythewell — On Apr 05, 2013

@Ana1234 - Honestly, the average user basically leaves a trail wherever they go on the internet, just by using Facebook. I'm not being paranoid either, they are perfectly upfront about this. If you are signed into Facebook they will know whenever you visit a website that has a Facebook plugin, and which website doesn't these days?

Google is just as bad and they also get to keep track of your searches.

So, yeah, personally, using proxies is the least of what I do to try and make sure that all my information isn't being stored somewhere so, if I ever have a trial or something in the future (and don't say it can't happen... the McCarthy era isn't that far behind us) then they can't use it against me.

By Ana1234 — On Apr 05, 2013

It's a really good practice to try and use a proxy, even if you don't think you're doing anything that you need to hide.

Even the average user is tracked by all kinds of different companies and organizations these days, for lots of different reasons. It might seem harmless, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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