Why They’re Called ‘Proxies’

From how to pronounce the word (hint: praak-see), and the etymology to how proxy networks help with request load balancing, distribution and management, as well as which solutions exist on the market, this guide has you covered!
4 min read
Proxies - Why are they called that?

In this article we will discuss:

‘Proxy’ – The word itself and different meanings

The word ‘proxy’ is pronounced phonetically as ‘praak-see’. The etymology of the word derives from the French-Anglo contraction ‘procuracies’ which originates from the Latin ‘procuratia’ or  ‘administration’. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, by 1610, the word proxy took on the meaning of ‘acting for another’, and by 1955 it took a modern twist in the context of the phrase ‘proxy wars’ i.e. a war happening between superpowers by way of smaller entities. 

With the advent of the internet, the word “proxy” started being used in the context of computer networking. ‘Proxy servers’ started to serve as a term for digital entities (known as applications) that worked as intermediaries between one party requesting information and a server that would supply the desired target data. 

Typically, one would request the resources they needed directly from their target page, but an acceptable practice for businesses has become to send their request to a ‘proxy network’ which uses a server that provides multiple benefits to users, including:

  • Request load balancing, distribution, and management 
  • An added layer of privacy and security
  • More accurate data, especially if the target data is geolocation-sensitive 

Bright Data proxy networks 

In this context, Bright Data offers four different types of proxy networks:

Residential Proxies 

Residential Proxies are unique IPs belonging to real users, with options available in most cities, and countries across the globe. Individuals who opt-in, are free to opt-out at any time and are rewarded for participation with a free upgraded subscription, for example. The main advantages of this option include being able to view content and collect data as a local, being able to reach extremely sophisticated target sites, as well as being able to send larger numbers of concurrent requests without experiencing lag in terms of response time. 

Residential Proxy pricing 

  • Experimenting: $300/month – $15.00/GB
  • Starter: $500/month – $12.50/GB
  • Production: $1,000/month – $10.00/GB
  • Plus: $3,000/month – $8.50/GB

ISP Proxies 

ISP Proxies are residential IP addresses provided to users via an ISP and hosted on servers. Even though these do not belong to real people, they are classified as real user IPs by target sites, which gives them an advantage in terms of success rates for tougher sites. The main advantage of these is being able to view content from a user perspective, so ad display or competitor pricing is shown more accurately, for example. 

ISP Proxy pricing 

  • Experimenting: $300/month – $17.50/GB + $0.50/IP
  • Starter: $500/month – $12.50/GB + $0.50/IP
  • Production: $1,000/month – $10.00/GB + $0.50/IP
  • Plus: $3,000/month – $8.50/GB + $0.50/IP

Data Center Proxies

Datacenter Proxies are IP addresses assigned to servers, not Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Typically, there is a large number of IP addresses called a ‘subnet’ that are assigned to a specific server through which data collection traffic is subsequently routed. These are usually static IPs that do not need to be rotated, offering users consistency and stability. Also, requests sent via a Data Center Proxy typically receive responses very quickly as the route and architecture are more straightforward than other options.

Data Center Proxy pricing 

  • Starter: $500/month – $0.60/IP + $0.095/GB
  • Production: $1,000/month – $0.55/IP + $0.085/GB
  • Plus: $3,000/month – $0.50/IP + $0.07/GB

Mobile Proxies 

Mobile Proxies are real cellular devices (3G/4G) that belong to users who opt-in to our SDK program, and are rewarded with an ad-free user experience, for example. This is specifically for companies that are concerned with collecting data or verifying content using geo-specific targeting. This is the most expensive, yet most effective option for applications, or any other mobile-based technologies or services. 

Mobile Proxy pricing 

  • Experimenting: $300/month – $35.00/GB
  • Starter: $500/month – $30.00/GB
  • Production: $1,000/month – $28.00/GB
  • Plus: $3,000/month – $26.00/GB

The bottom line 

A lot of the terminology around the word ‘proxy’ can sometimes be confusing. That is why, in many instances, industry professionals will use another phrase in conjunction with this term. For example, ‘proxy network’ or ‘proxy service’. This ensures that businesses that are looking for intermediary IPs, managed by sophisticated servers to help them collect target data, actually find what they are looking for.