The Best Proxy Servers of 2021

Here's our take on the best proxy servers for personal and business use.

By
&
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Oct 1, 2021
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Oct 1, 2021
VPN iPhone

Looking for some extra privacy online? Proxy servers can hide your IP address, let you access blocked websites, and give you a little more anonymity. Today, we take a look at five of the best proxy servers on the market. Whether it’s for personal or business use, these are the best proxy servers for you.

Our Top Picks

Best Free Proxy Server

HMA VPN

Editor's Rating
9.8
/10
HMA Logo
Editor's Rating
9.8
/10
HideMyAss offers web proxy servers that you can access through a simple browser interface for free, with no need for subscriptions or software downloads.

Best SOCKS5 Proxy Server

IPVanish

Editor's Rating
9.7
/10
IPVanish VPN Header
Editor's Rating
9.7
/10
IPVanish's SOCKS5 proxy servers provide fast internet speeds and low latency, perfect for peer-to-peer file transfers and anonymous browsing.
Features HideMyAss IPVanish Oxylabs Smartproxy Blazing Proxy
Rating 9.8/10 9.7/10 9.5/10 9.4/10 9.2/10
Ranking 1st
Best free proxy server
2nd
Best SOCKS5 proxy server
3rd
Best for data scrapers
4th
Best for sneaker bots
5th
Best for gamers
Proxy server protocol HTTP, HTTPS SOCKS5 HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS5 HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS5 HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS5
Number of server locations 6 14 88 195 30
Rotating IP addresses Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dedicated IP addresses No No Yes Yes Yes
Minimum monthly cost $0.00 $3.75 $300 $75 $4 (5 servers only)
Uses Personal Personal Personal or business Personal or business Personal or business

Summary of the Best Proxy Servers of 2021

A Detailed List of the Best Proxy Servers

  • 1. HideMyAss - Best Free Proxy Server

    Editor's Rating
    9.8
    /10
    What We Liked:
    • Lets us access proxy server on browser directly
    • Works with popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge
    • Doesn’t require manual configuration
    • Lets us access blocked websites easily
    What We Didn’t Like:
    • Covers one tab per connection
    • Collects data, including our IP addresses
    • Only six server locations
    • Doesn’t block malicious content

    Proxy Servers Always at Your Disposal

    HMA’s web proxy tool is accessible, easy to use, and free, which is why it’s our go-to proxy server whenever we want to access blocked websites or hide our IP addresses. All you have to do to use HMA’s proxy tool is open your browsers, go to HMA’s web proxy page,1 and type in the URL you want to visit. You can even configure whether to encrypt URLs, disable cookies, and remove scripts to load pages faster.

    Feature-wise, however, HMA’s web proxy tool doesn’t have a lot to offer; for instance, it doesn’t block malicious content, and it has only six server locations. However, it does a good job of unblocking websites and hiding IP addresses, so we’re convinced it’s the best free proxy server around.

    FYI: Web proxy tools and proxy servers that use HTTPS and HTTP protocols support webpages only. If you’re looking to use a proxy server for apps such as online games and peer-to-peer file transfers, you need one that uses the SOCKS5 protocol.

  • 2. IPVanish - Best SOCKS5 Proxy Server

    Editor's Rating
    9.7
    /10
    What We Liked:
    • Works with BitTorrent clients and Tor
    • Uses the SOCKS5 protocol, making it ideal for P2P file transfers
    • Fast speeds
    • Uses password authentication
    What We Didn’t Like:

    Proxy Servers for All Uses

    Of all the internet protocols proxy servers use, SOCKS5 is one of the most flexible. Unlike HMA, which uses HTTP, which works with webpages only, IPVanish’s SOCKS5 proxy servers work even on apps. We use IPVanish proxy servers for peer-to-peer file transfers via BitTorrent clients and browsing on Tor browsers in particular. One downside is that the proxy requires manual configuration, but once IPVanish is up and running, you can torrent and browse privately to your heart’s content.

    KNOW THE DIFFERENCE: Proxy servers are intermediary servers that stand between you and the internet. When you visit a website, it will see the proxy server’s IP address instead of yours. VPNs function the same way, but in addition, they also encrypt web traffic for better privacy.

  • 3. Oxylabs - Best Proxy Service for Data Scrapers

    Editor's Rating
    9.5
    /10
    What We Liked:
    • Servers in 88 countries
    • Includes Real-Time Crawler tool
    • City- or state-specific IP addresses
    • Residential and large-scale proxy management options
    What We Didn’t Like:
    • Full-service proxy management is expensive, at least $300 a month
    • Limited bandwidth
    • Requires a contract
    • No refund after 72 hours

    Strength in Numbers

    Aside from personal use, professionals and businesses use proxy servers for data scraping. Data scrapers need a large pool of proxy IP addresses to make their traffic seem normal and to avoid blacklisting or CAPTCHAs.

    That’s what makes Oxylabs a perfect proxy service for data scrapers. It has a pool of over 102 million proxy IP addresses in 88 locations, so you will not run out of IP addresses to use. On top of that, Oxylabs’ services include the Real-Time Crawler tool, an advanced scraping tool that uses AI to gather even complex data sets.

  • 4. Smartproxy - Best Proxy Service for Sneaker Bots

    Editor's Rating
    9.4
    /10
    What We Liked:
    • 10 million-plus IP addresses
    • Proxy servers near major shoe brand sites in the U.S., U.K., and Europe
    • 24/7 live chat support
    • No sub-networks on proxies, so fewer chances of mass banning
    What We Didn’t Like:
    • Starts at $75 per month for only 5 GB of traffic
    • Limited three-day money-back guarantee
    • City-targeting is not its strongest suit
    • Slow email support

    Proxy Servers for Sneaker Heads

    Believe it or not, the sneaker reselling industry is another major user of proxy servers. This is particularly true for sneaker buyers that use sneaker bots,2 which need proxies so websites won’t block them. So for sneaker bot users, the quantity of IP addresses, speed of servers, and proximity of proxy servers to store sites are the most important factors.

    Smartproxy does well in all those areas. To start with, it has over 10 million IP addresses that rotate after every transaction or after a set amount of time. The servers are fast, too, especially since Smartproxy has servers near major shoe stores that sell brands like Nike and Adidas.

    DID YOU KNOW: Sneaker bots can check out items in as little as 0.2 seconds after new stock drops.3 However, using proxy servers can affect the speed of your sneaker bots, so you have to choose a provider with fast connections.

  • 5. Blazing Proxy - Best Proxy Server for Gamers

    Editor's Rating
    9.2
    /10
    What We Liked:
    • Uses HTTP, HTTPS, and SOCKS
    • As low as $0.80 per month per proxy IP address
    • Free IP address replacement every month
    • Servers in up to 30 countries, depending on the subscription
    What We Didn’t Like:
    • Minimum purchase of five proxy IP addresses per account
    • Access to all 30 locations for accounts with dedicated proxy IP addresses only
    • Accounts with semi-dedicated and rotating IP addresses get North American and European servers only
    • Limited two-day free trial

    Blazing Fast Proxy Servers for Gamers

    The best gaming VPNs will let you access online games that are not available in your region. However, VPNs tend to increase your network’s latency due to the internet protocols they use,4 which could result in laggy gameplay.

    That’s where Blazing Proxy comes in. Blazing Proxy uses SOCKS5, which performs better than VPN protocols in terms of latency while allowing you to change your virtual location. And since proxies don’t encrypt data, data packets travel faster from proxy servers to your console or computer, resulting in less lag.

Methodology

We couldn’t cover all of the use cases for proxy servers. However, we included our methodology in choosing the best proxy servers here so you can make an informed decision when choosing proxy servers.

Here is what to look for regarding proxies, whether it’s a shared proxy, residential proxy, free web proxy, or a proxy with browser extensions or VPN services. You might also be looking for a private proxy or data center proxy. Regardless, our criteria are:

  1. Protocol: SOCKS5 is the most versatile proxy server protocol, as it can proxy your connections to webpages, apps, and even other computers (a.k.a. peer-to-peer). However, if you need to use proxy servers for browsing only, HTTP and HTTPS protocols are great alternatives.
  2. Server locations: Since unblocking georestricted pages is one of the most common uses of proxy servers, the server locations of proxy servers matter. Choose a provider with servers in your target location.
  3. Cost: There are lots of free proxy servers out there, but if you want the best features, expect to pay at least $3.75 a month for personal proxy servers or $75 a month for commercial proxy servers.
  4. Data privacy: Since most proxy servers collect data, be sure to read each provider’s privacy policy to see what types of data they collect.
  5. IP addresses: Depending on how you’re planning to use proxy servers, you’ll have to choose between rotating IP addresses or dedicated IP addresses. Some providers also offer IP addresses from legitimate internet service providers such as Xfinity or mobile carriers such as Verizon.

We also consider proxies with unlimited bandwidth, great customer support, a high number of IPs, fast internet connections, and access to social media. Look for proxies that offer easy downloads from the proxy site.

Recap

So there you have it: the best proxy server providers for the most common uses. If you wish to learn more about online privacy, be sure to visit our article about digital safety, as well as this informative guide about the differences between proxy servers and VPNs.

FAQs

  • What is a proxy server?

    A proxy server is an intermediary server that stands between you and the internet. When you connect to the internet through a proxy server, it hides your real IP address and instead shows the server’s IP address. Proxy servers can be useful in unblocking georestricted content, preventing websites from blacklisting your IP address, and achieving better online privacy.

  • What are the uses of proxy servers?

    The uses of proxy servers include unblocking websites, hiding real IP addresses, and navigating around content restrictions and IP address blacklisting. Businesses also use proxy servers for data scraping and automated sneaker copping via sneaker bots, as search engines and websites consider these to be suspicious activities. Data scrapers and sneaker bots avoid detection by using proxy servers.

  • Is it illegal to use proxy servers?

    No, it is not illegal to use proxy servers in the U.S. However, illegal online activities, like downloading or broadcasting copyrighted content without permission, remain illegal even if you’re using proxy servers. Some proxy server providers even reserve the right to report illegal activities on their servers to the authorities.

  • Are proxy servers better than VPNs?

    From a privacy and security standpoint, proxy servers are not better than VPNs. Proxy servers and VPNs both stand as intermediaries between you and the internet in order to provide online privacy. However, VPNs also encrypt online traffic, while proxy servers do not, so VPNs offer better privacy. On the other hand, if you prioritize speed over privacy, proxy servers often offer better speeds due to the lack of encryption.

Citations
  1. HMA. (2021). Access blocked websites from anywhere in the World with the HMA Free Proxy.
    hidemyass.com/en-us/proxy

  2. Smartproxy. (2021). What is a Sneaker Bot and What Does It Do?
    smartproxy.com/blog/what-is-a-sneaker-bot

  3. Highsnobiety. (2020). WHO IS ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE SNEAKER BOT WAR?
    highsnobiety.com/p/sneaker-bots-2019/

  4. CloudFlare. (2020). How VPNs affect Internet speed.
    cloudflare.com/learning/access-management/vpn-speed/