It is very likely that you already know a thing or two about proxies. You may even know the difference between datacenter proxies and residential proxies. But what kind of a beast is an SSL proxy? What differentiates it from other proxy types? In this article, we will explore what makes SSL proxies the unique proxy type that it is.
First of all, the SSL / HTTPS proxy type belongs to a group of proxies denoted by the protocol that is used to connect online. Another example of such a proxy would be the SOCKS5 proxy type. Now that we have classification out of the way, let’s get to the matter at hand.
What is an SSL proxy?
In technical terms, an SSL proxy is any proxy server that uses the SSL protocol (AKA SSL proxy server), which stands for Secure Socket Layer. Alternatively, an SSL proxy is also called an HTTPS proxy, the abbreviation meaning Hypertext Transfer Protocol over SSL.
To put it briefly, an HTTPS proxy is a proxy that uses the HTTP protocol over SSL.
The HTTPS protocol has today become the standard for most websites and online services. The reason for this is simple – it ensures a much higher degree of privacy and security. How is this achieved? Let’s take a look.
How does SSL proxy work?
The keyword is encryption. As already mentioned, an HTTPS proxy utilizes SSL to encrypt all information going between an endpoint and any outside server you might want to access. Technically, the process is the same as connecting to a regular SSL-certified website. SSL encryption means that your connection cannot be intercepted and all modern browsers will give a warning if you try to connect to a website without an SSL certificate.
What benefits does an SSL proxy server offer?
SSL proxies offer two huge advantages, both stemming from encryption. They are safer overall and they are also more anonymous.
1. SSL proxies are safer
The SSL certificate protection layer encrypts the connection between your device and the target, which means that even if traffic is intercepted, there is virtually no chance for the attacker to read the information. This is especially important for sensitive communications, such as connecting to your bank account online.
2. SSL proxies are more anonymous
Thanks to encryption, SSL proxies also ensure a higher degree of anonymity. Although regular HTTP proxies provide reasonable anonymity, SSL proxies add an extra layer because they remove the risk of identification from intercepted data.
Contrary to HTTPS protocol, the older HTTP has no traffic encryption. This makes the transferred data readable, thus making it vulnerable to interception by a third party in transit. This attack vector is rather common and it is known as a man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack. MitM attacks are no joke as according to IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2018, more than one-third of the exploitation of inadvertent weaknesses involved MitM attacks.
What can SSL proxies be used for?
Although this proxy type offers more security and anonymity, SSL proxy use cases are more or less the same as those of other proxy types. Just as a refresher, they include:
Web data scraping
The internet offers an endless supply of public information that is incredibly valuable for various stakeholders. However, collecting it on a large scale is a lot more difficult than it may seem at first. Most popular scraping targets automatically prevent large scale data gathering by blocking IP addresses that make a much larger number of requests than the average. Scraping the web with rotating SSL proxies allows to bypass these restrictions placed on the freedom of data.
Managing social media accounts
Many social media management platforms utilize proxies to aid marketers and social media managers in account creation and/or management. Registering and consequently using multiple accounts from the same IP (or, alternatively, the same person) is indiscriminately forbidden by the largest social media platforms, which can be a burden for legitimate marketers.
Hackers and fraudsters use sophisticated methods to fake ad traffic. This means that a huge number of ads are never actually seen by real people and it also brings big losses for businesses. Due to this, an increasing number of companies use proxies for ad verification in order to detect fraud, improve ad performance, and check advertisers’ landing pages anonymously.
Cyber attacks and intellectual property theft can result in severe damage to a business, including financial costs, loss of clients and a hit to a brand’s reputation. SSL proxies can help protect a brand by increasing network security, filtering malicious emails, helping monitor internal internet usage and more.
It is obvious that SSL proxies are the go-to choice for businesses conscious about privacy and security and with their many use cases, they are a great tool to get things done. Here at Oxylabs, you can use our residential proxy network to communicate with websites via HTTPS so you can be sure to get the highest level of privacy and security while performing your operations.