Private proxies are a way to secure your safety and anonymity on the web. However, they’re also not bullet-proof to security issues. Even though you bought a private proxy, you need to protect it to make sure that you are the only one using it. This is why you should make sure to find a private proxy provider that offers an authentication system for its proxies.
Two most common ways of proxy authentication are:
- Username and Password Authentication
- IP Authentication
While they both increase your security, the jury is still out on which method is better. Both systems have their pros and cons, which is why we compared them and tried to help you determine the perfect system for your needs.
Username and Password Authentication
This is the most frequently used authentication method around the web. We use username and password for various account types, including e-mail, social media and bank accounts. Internet users across the globe accepted this method as a good way of authorizing access to their accounts, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they are also commonly used when it comes to proxies.
Once you purchase a proxy from a provider, they will send you a list of IP addresses that will look something like this:
Let’s break it down to make it clear:
“456.7.890” – the IP address of your private proxy
“80” – the port number of your proxy. Other common port numbers include 3127, 3128 and 8080
“username” – your username
“password” – your password. When you choose a password, make sure to make it as strong as possible. A good way to strengthen your password is to use both lowercase and uppercase letters and add numbers and symbols
The list of IP addresses will be different for each proxy you purchased, but other data is often the same. This simplifies the process as you can use the same username and password to connect to all proxies that you bought.
Why Your Provider Should Allow You to Change Passwords
Most providers allow users to change the passwords for their proxies. For security reasons, you may want to change your password frequently. Also, you may want to use a different password for each IP address to increase the security of your proxies.
Providers will usually have a web-based interface allowing you to modify your proxy settings. Once again, you will need to use your username and password to sign in (they might be different than the ones used for proxies). Once you successfully log in, you will have a control panel where you can change your password and take a look at other settings, including the status of your proxies, your subscription plan and so on.
Advantages of Using Username and Password Authentication
The familiar concept of using usernames and passwords might be the biggest advantage of this system. We all feel comfortable using passwords, which makes this way of authorizing access perfect for beginners.
Another advantage is the fact that you have complete control over your proxy access. You can change the password as frequently as you want and you can use different passwords for each IP address. If you are worried about someone hacking your proxy, changing the password is the perfect way to protect it.
Finally, having a username and password for your proxy means that you can access if from anywhere. That makes this authentication perfect if you travel often or change locations from which you use your proxies.
Disadvantages of Using Username and Password Authentication
Having a password also means you have to remember it. Different passwords for different IP addresses also means a bigger number of passwords to remember. You might overcome this by writing them all down but beware of someone stealing them.
Aside from stealing, you also need to worry about someone cracking your password. A good way of protecting yourself from hacking is to change your password often. On the other hand, that takes time and increases the chance of forgetting your current password.
IP authentication uses the IP address assigned to you by your internet service provider (ISP) to authorize your access to proxies. Using this authentication method is not as common as using username and password, but it doesn’t mean it’s less secure.
The process is simple – once you purchase a proxy, you need to whitelist your IP address with your proxy provider. Whitelisting an IP address means that you can access the proxy from that address and that address only. The good news is that the majority of proxy providers allows whitelisting of up to 15 different IP addresses.
Advantages of Using IP Authentication
Whenever you want to use your proxy from the IP address (or addresses) you previously whitelisted, you can do it automatically. There is no need to enter your username and password or any other information. This is a great timesaver if you use a big number of proxies. For example, imagine that you have 30 proxies and that you need to enter different passwords for each of them. IP authentication completely automates this process.
Experts argue that IP authentication combined with VPN or VPS service is the way of reaching true anonymity on the web. To cut the long story short, you can use a VPN to always have the same IP address regardless of where you are. Whitelist the IP address you use for VPN and keep VPN always on to enable a double layer of protection.
Disadvantages of Using IP Authentication
IP authentication makes it hard to use private proxies if you travel a lot or access the internet from many different places. IP addresses vary from one location to another and, even if you whitelist 10 IP addresses, the chances are you can’t access your proxy from a coffee shop because you haven’t whitelisted that IP.
While some ISPs will give you a static IP (one that never changes), others use a system of dynamic IPs. That means that they can change your IP address frequently and without warning. They actually do this for your security, as IPs that are constantly changing are harder to hack. However, that means that you would have to whitelist a new IP address for your proxy each time your ISP changes it.
Using VPN or VPS is a way to overcome both of these disadvantages. However, VPNs require some IT knowledge and they are not recommended for beginners.
There are differences in cost and some providers might offer only one of these two options. In the end, it all comes down to your needs. If you are a beginner who’s not looking for an advanced level of protection, you should choose a username and password authentication. On the other hand, if you are looking for professional protection that can secure true anonymity on the web, then IP authentication should be your choice.