Managing multiple proxy servers from different service providers can be daunting. This is not only because you have to navigate through different menus, windows, and tabs to get to each proxy but also due to the fact that you have to configure each proxy separately. So, what if there was a way to manage these proxies in a single window? With a Chrome proxy extension, you can achieve precisely this.
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What is a Proxy Server?
A proxy is an intermediary – software or hardware – through which internet traffic from your computer passes on its way to the target webserver. The proxy assigns the outgoing requests a new, unique IP address, effectively anonymizing your browsing. This online anonymity makes proxy servers an integral part of processes such as web scraping, ad verification, bypassing geo-restriction, and more.
At the same time, proxies an external basis against which to debug web-based applications. For instance, when a website uses a single server, it may be impossible to identify any network or security issues. But a proxy, particularly a datacenter proxy, introduces a third-party server that provides a new template for debugging a connection. Datacenter proxies are also deployed in website performance testing, as they can help simulate access from multiple users positioned in different locations.
Additionally, proxy servers provide security, load-balancing capabilities, and more. But it is worth pointing out that different proxies provide these functions – one proxy type cannot provide universal coverage. In that regard, there are different types of proxies, including:
- Residential proxies
- Datacenter proxies
- Transparent proxies
- Forward proxies
- Reverse proxies
- HTTP/HTTPS proxies
- SOCKS proxies
- Dedicated proxies
- Shared proxies
- Rotating proxies
- Shared proxies
As a proxy user, you may opt to use two or more of these proxy types to take advantage of their individual characteristics. For instance, you may choose to use residential proxies for large-scale web scraping or social media management. At the same time, you may opt to separately use a datacenter proxy to provide online anonymity by preventing unwanted disclosure of private data when using application programming interfaces (APIs), for example.
Similarly, you may elect to take advantage of the different service providers’ offers and benefits. This means that you might have several proxy servers at your disposal. So, how do you go about managing a large number of proxies? The answer lies in a Chrome proxy extension.
What is a Chrome Proxy Extension?
A Chrome proxy extension is a browser extension, available and downloadable via the Chrome Web Store, that enables you to manage proxy servers. In addition to being free to download and install, this extension enables you to work with any proxy provider. In addition, you can seamlessly switch your proxies on or off from the same window without having to individually navigate to each of the service provider’s dashboards.
To use the Chrome Proxy Extension, simply launch the Chrome browser and head over to the Chrome Web Store. Type in the extension’s name and download the extension. Upon launching the extension, you will notice that you have to add a proxy or multiple proxies to continue. Simply follow the instructions contained in the documentation to know how to proceed. To see more benefits of such an extension, check out Oxylabs’ blog post.
Advantages of a Chrome Proxy Extension
The Chrome proxy extension offers the following benefits:
- It allows you to manage multiple proxies: it enables you to add as well as seamlessly switch between multiple proxies
- It is free to download/install and use
- The extension can be used on any other Chromium-based browsers, including Chrome and Microsoft Edge
- It enables you to work with proxies from any service provider
- The Chrome proxy extension saves you time: with this extension, you need not tweak any settings every time you have to use a proxy. Instead, it allows you to connect to any proxy from any provider with just one click.
- The extension prevents Chrome from caching proxy credentials: by caching proxy credentials, the browser maintains sticky sessions, i.e., the assigned IP address does not change throughout the browsing session. However, the Chrome extension has a special feature that prevents caching. This way, it promotes rotating sessions, further preventing IP blocking.
- The Chrome proxy extension allows you to refresh the proxy session
- It works with the primary types of proxies as well as protocols (HTTP/HTTPS, SOCKS, and SOCKS5)
There are different types of proxies, each of which serves a different function. And because you cannot utilize a single proxy server for separate purposes, it implies that there are cases in which you will be required to have different proxy types at your disposal. In such a case, you would also need a proxy management tool, and that is where the Chrome proxy extension comes in. Available for free via Chrome Web Store, this tool allows you to add an unlimited number of proxies (it supports all the major proxy types). Additionally, this tool lets you switch between the various proxies within a single, unified interface. Simply put, the benefits of the Chrome proxy extension are endless.