Anonymous Proxy: Definition and How It Works

8 min read
Anonymous Proxy_

In this guide, you will see:

Let’s dive in!

What Is an Anonymous Proxy?

An anonymous proxy, also known as an anonymizer, is a type of proxy server that aims to make activity on the Internet untraceable. In detail, its goal is to mask the user’s identity, location, and privacy.

A specific user browsing the Web through an anonymous proxy server will appear as a generic anonymous user to the destination server. More specifically, the web server will not be able to track any personally identifiable information about the user the request comes from.

Note that all types of proxies can serve as anonymous proxies. A proxy server is considered “anonymous” based on the way it acts between the user and the target website, not on the type of proxy it is.

How an Anonymous Proxy Server Works

An anonymous proxy server works just like any other proxy server, acting as an intermediary between the user’s device and a target site. In particular, here is what happens when using a proxy:

  1. The client makes a web request to an online destination (e.g., a web page, an Internet resource, etc.)
  2. The request is intercepted by the proxy server.
  3. The proxy server forwards it to the destination on behalf of the client. 
  4. The destination responds to the proxy server with the required resource.
  5. The proxy server sends the response back to the client. 

In short, the destination does not see incoming requests as coming from the source client. Instead, it sees them as coming from the proxy server. This process inherently hides the IP of the client, as the target server will see the requests as coming from the IP of the proxy. Since IPs are used to locate users, that also means protecting the user’s location.

What sets anonymous proxies apart from other proxies is their emphasis on privacy. When forwarding the requests to the target server, they add an extra layer of anonymity by stripping identifying information from the user’s requests. Based on the way and what data they hide, we can classify them into three categories. Learn more in the section below.

Levels of Proxy Anonymity

Anonymous proxy servers can be divided into the following three different groups, depending on the level of anonymity they provide.

Elite Proxy

Elite proxies offer the highest level of anonymity by completely concealing the user’s personally identifiable information. They hide the user’s IP and do not transmit any other user-specific information. To keep the user completely anonymous, elite proxies tend to remove the following headers from the request to the destination:

  • Authorization: Contains credentials that authenticate a user with a server.
  • From: Stores an email address that identifies the human user who controls the requesting client.
  • Proxy-Authorization: Has the credentials to authenticate a user agent to a proxy server.
  • Via: Added by proxies, both forward and reverse, to track requests.
  • X-Forwarded-For: Stores the original IP address of the client using a proxy server to connect to a web server.

Anonymous Proxy

Anonymous proxies improve privacy by masking the user’s IP address. They offer a high level of anonymity, but can still reveal some information to the destination server. For example, they can leave some headers in the requests. Also, they can add proxy-specific headers that help the destination servers identify their requests as coming from a proxy and block them accordingly.

Transparent Proxy

Transparent proxies are not true anonymous proxies. They include the user’s IP in the X-Forwarded-For header and store the proxy’s IP in the Via header. While they do serve as intermediaries used by servers to forward requests, they are usually never used by end users. The reason is that they expose the client’s online identity and activities.

Anonymous Proxies: Use Cases

Anonymous proxy servers offer a myriad of use cases for both personal and business activities. For individual users, the primary benefit is secure browsing. Anonymity protects users from targeted advertising, geographic restrictions, and potential censorship, promoting a safer and freer online experience.

In the realm of business and developer-oriented applications, anonymous proxies play pivotal roles in:

  • Web scraping: Enable the seamless extraction of data from multiple sources, avoiding blocks and IP bans. This elevates your online data scraping capabilities to the next level. For example, companies and individual developers can retrieve data in parallel from multiple web pages without raising alerts.
  • SEO analysis: Keep an eye on your competitors’ SEO performance. Anonymous proxies make it easy to monitor keyword rankings, backlink profiles, and other crucial SEO metrics without exposing your company’s IP addresses to your competitors.
  • Marketing and ad campaign monitoring: Test the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, ensuring unbiased results by hiding your identity. For example, companies can evaluate the impact of advertisements on different platforms without altering the resulting data.

These are just a few examples, but remember that the possibilities are limitless!

Why You Should Use Anonymous Proxies

Hiding your identity (e.g., your IP address) from online actors (e.g., servers, services, social media) is paramount for numerous compelling reasons, such as: 

  • Avoiding ad frauds and targeted marketing: Defend yourself from both targeted and fraudulent online marketing and advertising strategies. By concealing your true identity, you can mitigate the risk of falling prey to manipulative marketing tactics.
  • Bypassing of geo-blocking and censorship: Bypass geo-blocking and evade censorship, ensuring unrestricted access to online content. This is possible when you have access to proxy servers in many regions of the world, making your exit IP appear as coming from the selected location.
  • Keeping your search history confidential: Shield your search queries from prying eyes, adding an extra layer of confidentiality to your digital footprint.
  • Enhancing security and avoiding identity theft: Reduce the likelihood of identity theft and unauthorized access to your personal information.

Online privacy is an invaluable asset, and you must defend it at all costs. That is exactly what anonymous proxies are all about. They prove particularly indispensable in web scraping, allowing for discreet and efficient data extraction.

At the same time, do not take the privacy guaranteed by proxies for granted. The vast majority of free anonymous proxy services are not reliable. How can they maintain a worldwide server architecture without charging users? By selling users’ data or acting as malicious software created by hackers or government agencies! That has also been proved by some studies. Plus, anonymous proxy free solutions usually do not support HTTPS and advanced protocols like SOCKS. Learn more in our SOCKS vs HTTP guide.

Thus, stay away from free providers and opt for commercial, powerful, reliable solutions like Bright Data!

How to Address the “Anonymous Proxy Detected, Click Here” Error

When using a proxy, you might receive the “Anonymous Proxy detected, click here” error page as below:  

This means that the target server has detected that you are connecting through a proxy. There are several reasons why that can happen, including: 

  • Some actor in the process is disclosing your IP address.
  • Making too many requests from the same proxy server.
  • Using a poor-quality or free proxy.

Typically, the main reason is to rely on low-quality or free anonymous proxy servers that provide unreliable IPs. To fix the “anonymous proxy detected” error, try taking the following actions:

  1. Terminate all applications that connect through the proxy.
  2. Clear your browser’s cache and cookies.
  3. Request a new IP through proxy rotation. If you do not know how to do this, check out our article on how to rotate an IP address.

If none of these workarounds work, you will need a better proxy provider.

Note that the error “Anonymous Proxy detected, click here” is not the only error you can get using a proxy. Numerous other types of errors that may occur. As shown in our guide on proxy error codes, you can solve many of them quickly and easily.

Conclusion

In this article, you learned what anonymous proxies are, how they work, what level of privacy they offer, and why you should use them. In detail, you also saw that reliable proxy service providers allow you to avoid the “anonymous proxy detected, click here” error. The problem is that there are dozens of proxy providers, and reviewing them all will take months. Save time and money and choose the best in the market, Bright Data!

Bright Data controls the best anonymous proxy servers in the world, serving Fortune 500 companies and more than 20,000 customers. Its offer includes a wide range of proxy types:

That reliable, fast, and global proxy network is also the basis of a number of web scraping services to effortlessly retrieve data from any site.

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