A proxy list provides information about proxy servers web users can access for browsing. When people use proxy servers, they submit information to the proxy, which turns to the end destination for the data. It relays the data back to the user, who never actually visits the end destination. There are a number of reasons why people might want to use such service. Proxy lists optimally connect users with servers that may meet their needs.
Users can navigate through proxies for privacy and confidentiality reasons, to make it harder to see and track what they do online. A proxy list may also provide access to sites blocked by an office security system or a national firewall, where the government limits web access for citizens. People may have malicious reasons for wanting to use proxies, like wanting to leave nasty comments on a website without revealing their identity. The reasons could also be more benign; a proxy could cache data to make it load faster, for example.
Some are readily available to the public and can be found online on websites, forums, and other locations. These public lists can be organized in a number of ways. Some rank by reliability, putting sites that perform well at the top. Others can organize by location or Internet protocol (IP) address. Users may be able to select buttons to sort the list in several different ways to suit their needs.
Public proxy list resources may sometimes accept sponsored links. These sites will be ranked higher in the list to make them more visible to users. Users should be aware of this practice, as it may influence the display settings and they could end up on a proxy they do not actually want to use. Sites that accept sponsorships usually indicate this for the benefit of potential advertisers and users. Some also flag sponsored links to make sure users can identify them.
Private proxy lists are also available. People may pay for proxy services, in which case they receive access to servers limited to members only, which can be safer and more reliable. Their service providers generate and regularly update a list of the servers they work with. The private proxy list may also be maintained on a locked forum or secure website to make it harder for the general public to find particular proxy servers. Contents of a private proxy list may periodically change as new servers are added and old ones are removed.