Proxy Anonymity Levels

Many important use cases are best supported by high levels of proxy anonymity. This article describes three generally accepted categories of proxy anonymity. The main criterion is the degree of exclusion of certain header information from requests over the Internet to a web-server.

As detailed below, the ProxyMesh rotating proxies and our static-IP world proxy provide the highest type of anonymity, called Level 1 Elite, while our open proxy is in the Level 2 Anonymous category.

Elite Proxies (Level 1)

Elite Level 1 Proxies, also called High Anonymity Proxies, provide the very highest level of anonymity. With this type of proxy, the server you connect to receives no information about your actual IP address. In fact, it cannot even detect that the connection was made through a proxy.

ProxyMesh's Elite Level 1 proxies enable this degree of anonymity in part by stripping out all identifying headers so that they're not passed along in requests. The following headers are removed to prevent proxy identification by the remote site:

  • Authorization
  • From
  • Proxy-Authorization
  • Proxy-Connection
  • Via
  • X-Forwarded-For

Both the ProxyMesh rotating proxies and the world proxy are Elite Level 1 High Anonymity proxy servers.

Anonymous Proxies (Level 2)

Level 2 Anonymous Proxies, also called Distorting proxies, provide a degree of anonymity acceptable for many purposes. Like Level 1, this Anonymous proxy hides your IP address from a target server; but the server will recognize that a proxy is making the connection. That's because a Level 2 proxy sends through some information – such as the Via header – omitted by Level 1 proxies.

A proxy is anonymous as long as the headers do not include your actual IP address. Keep in mind that some server administrators restrict proxy requests. But restriction is based primarily on log analysis, and it can be offset by rapid proxy rotation, with a new IP chosen at random for each request.

ProxyMesh's rotating open proxy provides Level 2 anonymity.

Transparent Proxies (Level 3)

Level 3 Transparent proxies do not hide your IP address from a server you are connecting to, so it does not provide anonymity. Although your address may not be immediately obvious, it's easy to find it out. Requests from transparent proxies pass in the proxy's IP address in the Via header and your IP address in the X-Forwarded-For header.

These proxies, also known as Caching proxies, can be useful for caching data and for speeding access to a list of frequently visited websites.

Since anonymity is a primary goal of our customers, ProxyMesh does not offer transparent proxy services.

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