Web Proxies 101:: Step 1: Building a Proxy

Building|Managing|Promoting|Monetizing

The following guide will lead you through the steps involved in creating, managing, promoting, and monetizing a web proxy. It will lead you through the beginning stages, all the way through to the more advanced stages of proxy development.

One thing which should be mentioned is that upon entering the proxy business don’t expect hundreds or even thousands of dollars overnight, although with continued effort this is possible. Don’t settle for an amount - always aim higher. Set goals and meet them, keep doing this forever. If you do not have goals you will never be able to compete with the bigger proxy networks.

What is a Proxy?

A proxy is a third party agent which acts as a middleman between two parties. In the context of web proxies, they act as a relay between a user and a destination (often a website). The most common uses of web proxies is to bypass filters, firewalls and other means of blocking access to parts of the web by ISPs, companies, governments and other groups which censor access. The process starts by going to a proxy site, enters the URL of the website they wish to visit and the proxy will relay the content to them anonymously.

Types of Proxies

You may have seen different types of proxies. The two most popular would be PHProxy and CGIProxy. They both have their advantages and disadvantages which will be explained

PHProxy as you may have guessed, is created using the ‘PHP’ programming language; which as you may know is mainly used for web applications. PHP proxies are often used for hotlinking. Hotlinking is an image on a webpage linking to a second site. This is controversial as it can be a form of “bandwidth stealing” which will ultimately mean higher costs for the owner of the proxy as the proxy becomes more popular.

There is protection for hotlinking and the newer versions of PHProxy have this specific protection built-in.

There are quite a few Advantages of using PHProxy. One being that it is undoubtedly faster than CGIProxy. This will play a big role in the success of your website due to the fact that a user wants a quick and efficient site to search anonymously on. Another advantage to PHProxy is that the memory (CPU) is well utilized and doesn’t use as much as CGIProxy. Popular proxies eat a lot of CPU resources as well as bandwidth so depending on your traffic levels this may become a key consideration based on server specs. Hosting information will be provided later on in the article.

CGIProxy is probably the complete opposite to PHProxy. CGIProxy is used mainly by people who use proxies on a day to day basis, with more important things to do rather than gaming and the like. These kinds of people are normally referred to as “End Users”. This is because the JavaScript compatibility is much higher than PHProxy so they can log into sites which require JavaScript to log in. These kinds of sites would include PayPal.com. When logging into an online banking system you would want piece of mind that you are browsing through a reliable site; hence the usefulness and appeal to end users. An advantage to CGIProxy is that image loading time is much slower than PHP proxies. This means less people hotlinking websites. Bandwidth is therefore saved. However, CGIProxy do not have built in Hotlink protection. A disadvantage to using CGIProxy is that the memory used is far greater than PHProxy, so the resource costs are higher.

If you are creating a proxy based on speed and efficiency, PHProxy would be the best recommendation. However, if you are serious about proxies and have a little bit more cash to invest CGIProxy is more for you.

Domain Name

A domain name is the actual address which people would type into their web browser to access your website. It may not play a major role in the development of a proxy; however it does play its part.

If you are serious about the proxy, I would recommend buying a domain that is a few years old. This is because search engines such as Google prefer the older .com domains when they are factoring in which results to display. However, even a cheap 99cent .info will do, even if it is for 1 year.

You have two roads to go down when choosing your name. Either including the word “proxy” in the domain name or not. An example of adding the word to your domain name would be, “Brilliant-Proxy.info” or “TheBestProxy.info”. The hyphen doesn’t really matter; however, if the web address is passed on via word of mouth you could lose potential traffic to those not familiar with using hyphens.

The other way to choose your domain name, would be avoiding the word. Alternatives such as: Anonymous, Bypass, Pass, Hide and Unblock etc., would be good as well. For example, “Bypass-School.com” or “Website-Unblocker.com”.

The word ‘proxy’ in the domain name would help search engine traffic, however due to the immense competition it wouldn’t make much of a difference in the beginning. The words in the domain are often a much lower factor for search engines than the actual content contained on the page.

Web Hosting

ProxyHost is set up as a Proxy Hub, helping you with everything related to proxies – especially hosting. Have a browse around and you will find lots of information on Proxy Hosting.

You may think this will be a simple step - finding any old $9.95 per month host and uploading your proxy website to it, however this isn’t the case. The majority of hosting providers do not accept proxy websites. To save you the hassle some of the big players such as Dreamhost.com and Hostgator.com DO NOT accept proxy websites. There are a few companies who provide shared hosting for proxies, however most do not. The best route to go down would be to purchase a dedicated server or virtual private server (vps).

A dedicated server is most suitable due to the immense amount of traffic you will be receiving in the coming months. You can get a decent dedicated server for around $100-150 per month. With the monetizing techniques which will be covered later on, you should be on target to break even in the first month, thus going into profits the month after (NOTE: this is not guaranteed, and it may be wise for you to run on a vps for your first dive into the proxy market).

Another way to go about hosting is a VPS server. VPS stands for Virtual private server. It splits 1 high specification dedicated server, into smaller, lower specification virtual servers, all with their own root access, the ability to install software and to reboot each 'partition'. This is a cheaper option compared to dedicated servers, and is often used by companies who require hosting customized to their environment.

Dependant upon you selecting PHP or CGI proxy you would need to choose the type of server. For example, as mentioned, PHP proxies require much less CPU and memory; however higher bandwidth, so if using this type of proxy you would base your decision upon it.

Once you have built your proxy you will need hosting. I wouldn’t recommend free hosting as this has a lot of spam and is not very appealing to the user, after all the user is the only person keeping your site alive. Pricing may be an issue so you might want to get off the ground before you move onto dedicated servers. Research, and compare pricing to make the right decision.