How to Detect if an IP Address is a Proxy

Last Updated: September 26, 2021

Jason

Jason

Generally, people or entities who want to identify if an IP address is a proxy are those who want to block access to a proxy or a person using it.
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In this article, you will get to know about different methods to recognize if a particular IP address is a proxy.

Generally, people or entities who want to identify if an IP address is a proxy are those who want to block access to a proxy or a person using it.

This blog post is geared towards proxy users and not blockers. It provides them with the right tools so they can better comprehend the technology and run tests on proxy providers and free proxies.

So, if you are a proxy user, then this blog is for you.

Detecting that IP Address

There can be several reasons behind why a user of proxies would like to check an IP address.

Free Proxies

One of the main reasons is to determine the legitimacy of a free proxy. This includes checking for elite, transparent, and anonymous levels, the type of agent user, and the original source of the proxy.

You must know the place from where a proxy comes if you are using a free one.

Elite proxies, also called high anonymity proxies, are the ones that make users completely anonymous.

These proxy connections are not revealed via connection signatures, which is why a lot of fraudsters use them to commit cybercrime.

Their servers do not receive any details about the real IP address when anyone connects to them.

Transparent proxies are the weakest ones. Their servers intercept the connection between the internet and the device. These proxies can reveal the real IP address of the user.

These are generally used by employers and parents. Fraudsters and hackers do not use these as they employ advanced proxies so that it gets difficult to discover them.

Anonymous proxies are quite complex to identify as compared to transparent proxies. This proxy server works as a privacy protector between the internet and computers.

It provides partial anonymity, but it can still be identified and traced by a few sites.

Residential vs. Datacenter Proxies

One of the other reasons is to check the services that sell particular proxy servers, especially residential ones.

There are several companies that rotate residential proxy servers for sale but actually they are making use of well-hidden datacenter proxy servers.

You must know the difference between these two proxy servers so you can save your money as well as to be aware if a business is dishonest with their products and services.

Datacenter proxies, also called artificial proxies, are not linked to an ISP; they are provided by a different firm via a data center.

The proxy server is located in a physical data center anywhere in the world and the requests of users are routed through this server.

These types of proxies are popular among companies that carry out web scraping.

Residential proxies, on the other hand, provide IP addresses of particular physical devices. All user requests are transmitted through these devices.

These are legal and real IP addresses that are connected to physical locations.

Other Research

Even if you are not running a business, you might want to learn about proxy servers and the type and number of proxies offered by various firms.

You might want to know if the IP is really a proxy and what is its type.

This article covers all of this through particular detection cases.

Five Ways to Detect if an IP is a Proxy

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Five methods to identify whether an IP address is a proxy are listed below.

1. Web Applications

One of the main ways to know if an IP number is a proxy or not, along with other pertinent information about it, is via a web app.

Web applications are generally free tools that firms develop so you can click on an affiliate link, sign up for their fairly relevant service, or visit their site.

However, you can still use their free service without doing any of these things. You can also use paid web apps, but you do not need such powerful and complex apps for this.

Plus, why waste your money when you can do the same thing free of cost. 

Free web apps allow you to:

  1. Check your IP number and know if it is a proxy service or not
  2. See the name of the organization and ISP (Internet Service Provider)
  3. Check the name of the IP host
  4. See the country of the IP address
  5. Check the state or region of the IP address
  6. Roughly identify the city of the IP address
  7. Roughly see the longitude and latitude of that location

These are a lot of details about an IP address. All this information shows why you or anyone else would like to use a proxy server.

And, if you are not using a proxy, then all these details will tell the other person your location and ISP.

All of this information can tell you if the IP number is a proxy or not. You can use any free web app for this. One of the known names is What Is My IP Address proxy checker, which is a simple website with not a lot of ads.

The website can tell you the proxy used by your device or PC.

Plus, the tool lets you check some other IP addresses as well, the one you are not using. You can use their IP Lookup option. There, you just have to enter the IP address and the tool will show all the details mentioned above.

But, you still need to know more about IP addresses and proxies. The below-mentioned steps can help you with this.

2. Location

One of the other methods to check if an IP address is a proxy server is to use a web application like the one used above and then know the location.

You need to see if the location seems realistic where a person can reside and buy the internet.

However, the answers to such questions can differ, which is why you must know the framework behind them. There are two main types of proxies, including residential and datacenter proxies, as discussed above.

These types of proxies tell how good a proxy functions and if it’s a proxy in reality or not. 

Residential means that the IP number is linked to the ISP, paying user, and the house of the user.

On the other hand, data center means that the IP number was made in a big server center wherein hundreds of thousands of IP numbers were pumped out, which are used by people as proxy servers.

You can ascertain the status of the IP address proxy by looking at the location.

Server centers or data centers are generally in flat, big places where large PC warehouses are built. This includes places such as Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska in the United States.

There are data centers in a majority of the states and almost everywhere, but generally they are in the center of the U.S.

Since you can see the city and latitude and longitude coordinates in the lookup, you can determine if the IP address is used and owned by someone in a house or a big center in a field.

Outside Your Country

There is also the outside your nation proxy version. You can see a proxy from outside your country. This is quite common as proxies are used from across the world to get past geolocation.

Therefore, for example, if you discover an IP number is in Norway, then it is most likely a datacenter proxy.

This is a bit hard to know, but generally an IP address that is used outside your nation is a proxy, except if it is advertised differently.

3. Look at the Internet Service Provider

Then, you can look at the Internet Service Provider or ISP on the IP Lookup option. This can tell you whether the IP number is a proxy. Generally, the ISP of an IP number is its manufacturer and owner.

Some of the known ISPs in the U.S. include Comcast, Spectrum, Cogent, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, etc.

These are the big brands that install internet in houses, for which they provide you with an IP number. This works in a similar fashion in other nations as well, just the companies are different.

So, when you see the details on the IP Lookup, then take a look at the ‘Organization’ or ‘ISP’ section.

You have to see if the internet provider is recognized in your nation or not. Or, if it is a company that has words like server, cache, proxy, host, etc. in its name.

And, if it is a company that is not very well-known, then also it means that the IP number is manufactured and owned by a proxy firm and mostly in a data center.

This is a reliable and quick way to know if an IP number is a proxy or not. There are several proxy hostnames. Two of the popular ones include Hostgator and OVH.

Moreover, ASNs (Autonomous System Numbers) or ISPs with fewer IP addresses assigned to them have more chances to be identified as proxies.

4. Inspect the User-Agent

Apart from looking at the details of an IP address on the lookup, you can also see the user agent of an IP address. A user agent comprises some identifying factors that an IP number sends to a site.

These include things like the browser used by the user and the OS of their computer. 

This information allows sites to send the latest coding and graphics to you in order to provide you with a seamless internet browsing experience.

However, this only works with a regular ISP IP number. This is because a proxy can alter the user agent manually or via a proxy provider’s pre-sets.

Therefore, in order to determine if an IP number is a proxy, you need to examine its user agent and seek strange or outdated things.

For instance, if an IP address is showing a four years older Internet Explorer version, then most likely it’s not a real person since they would have already updated that version. The same is true for an OS system.

How to Inspect the User-Agent

Just like web apps that analyze your IP details, such as the host and location, there are several free tools for checking the user agent of an IP address.

UserAgentString is a great tool for doing this. It presents you with a detailed report of all the aspects of user agents.

The site checks your current IP address. You need to enter your IP address into your web browser and then visit the website to detect its user agent.

If you see a lot of false info about your PC, then it is a proxy server.

You can employ AtomURL in order to see your ISP IP user agent string or you can put in any proxy to detect its user agent string.

But, this method might not always work since a lot of proxy servers, especially the good ones, do not modify the user agent.

This is because changing the user agent can drastically alter what you see on an internet page, which is not right for the users.

Due to this, you must employ this step with others in order to get accurate details of an IP address. Plus, you can alter your user agent string using User Agent Switcher.

However, this information is about using proxies; it will not let you identify them.

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5. Inspect Time on Page and Pages Visited

The key rule of employing proxy servers is to make them look like humans.

This is done so that proxies are not blocked or banned by Google and other web search engines since such engines are made to be used by humans and not machines.

A proxy can be identified when it examines the pages of a website and the number of pages it goes to. If it goes to 1,000 pages within a minute and inspects an internet page for two seconds, then it is a proxy server.

This is not possible with a human.

Even if they are having lots of coffee and have robotic hands, then also they cannot click so quickly. You can identify whether an IP number is quickly traversing through the web using this formula.

This can inform you if it is a proxy server or just a regular ISP IP.

How to Inspect Time on Page and Pages Visited

The process of doing this is quite hard. It depends on many things, such as whether you know the IP address, you have a particular internet network for monitoring the usage, or you are viewing the IP number from the outside.

You can easily monitor the usage of your own IP address. However, most likely you would already be aware if it is a proxy server or not.

You should not use a tool similar to Scrapebox in order to augment the number of pages visited and time on every page to know whether the IP number is a proxy or not. If it is a proxy, then it will be banned and even if it is not a proxy, then also it will be banned.

In both cases, it can get banned and in the second case, it could cause problems with your ISP.

In case you own a website and would like to know more about a particular IP number that visits your site, then you can take a look at the usage stats provided in the analytics section, such as Google Analytics.

From such sections, you can get to know if an IP address is visiting lots of web pages within short periods. You can do some extra research and know if it is a proxy service or not.

If the result you see seems impossible for a human, then it is most likely a proxy. You can also use crazyegg.com, which is a great tool for website heatmap and A/B testing. It records the actions of users on your site so you can easily evaluate their actions.

Wrapping Up

All the five ways provided above to detect if an IP address is a proxy are quite easy to use and free of cost. They can help you, irrespective of why you want to find out if an IP address is a proxy.

You can consider using all these methods together in order to know about an IP address, its functioning, process,  and source so you can better decide if it is a proxy or not.

Written by Jason

Hi! I’m the editor at EarthWeb. I have a deep interest in technology and business. I also enjoy testing products out. Contact me to be featured!

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