Should I Use an Open or Closed Proxy?

A proxy server is a system that essentially acts as a gateway between users and the Internet. But for those who choose to use one – whether it be to filter web content, avoid content blocks, or generally be more anonymous online – there’s a choice to make. Should you use an open or closed proxy? In this article, we’ll cover the differences between the two types of proxy so that you can choose what best fits your needs.

What is an open proxy?

An open proxy is a proxy server that is freely available to anyone who wants to use it for their connection. It provides public access to everyone, which boosts speed and makes a larger cache of IP addresses available for use.

Open proxies are ideal for users who want to use the Internet anonymously or run a virtual private network (VPN). They allow users to do things like change their IP address in order to access streaming libraries in different countries or avoid the bounds of a content filter at work or school.

However, with open proxies, the servers are configured to treat all traffic equally. This essentially means that servers permit both malicious and safe connections to use the proxy. For underground cybercriminal networks looking to exploit other users, open proxies are a good option. They can use the proxies to link up botnets and control hubs or trace the traffic of hundreds of users at once to distribute malware onto their machines. An open proxy does not encrypt or filter data or users like a closed proxy.

Open proxies are not well-monitored. That means you risk getting a virus or damaging your computer’s functionality while connected. Most open proxies can also be detected, which means that while you’ll get a certain level of anonymity while connected to web servers, it’s possible that other users or computers can register that you’re using a proxy.

What's the difference between an open proxy and closed proxy?

What is a closed proxy?

A closed proxy performs the same functions as an open proxy. It allows users anonymity and the ability to disguise their IP address. However, closed proxies structure themselves as specific, pre-defined networks. They are only available to members who know the address and password to use the server.

Closed proxies are thoroughly monitored, so much so that members are vetted before they are allowed access to the servers. Such a personalized approach means that cybercriminals are shut out, preventing other users from being hacked or tracked. It solidifies the link between anyone who might be on the server at a given moment to a known, verified identity. It offers the ability to track the source of a problem if one should arise. Only legitimate Internet users can access websites through closed proxies.

Choosing between an open or closed proxy

When comparing between open proxies and closed proxies, the choice may seem clear. A closed proxy holds the dangers of the open web back. Because these proxies only permit a carefully-selected list of participants to use the server, security is not a big concern. This, ultimately, increases the speed for all users connected to the server and anonymizes their activities with greater accuracy. Closed proxies offer a premium experience, though at a price, since they require membership.

However, for users who don’t plan on using proxies frequently, open proxies are a solid choice. They’re free to use and open to anyone since they don’t require a membership. This makes open proxies the cheaper option, which is good for those on a budget. There are other security measures – like solid antivirus software – that you can use to protect yourself if you choose an open proxy.

No matter whether you choose an open or closed proxy, you’ll be getting a greater degree of anonymity when browsing the web. Each individual must make their own choice, as the decision will depend on your personal needs. Our guide is all you need to understand the difference and make the correct choice for you.