Free proxies are often seen as a dream come true but can quickly turn into a nightmare, and finding a free proxy list can feel like striking gold, only to find that the motherload has been claimed by too many other prospectors.
In other words, free proxies for web scraping are often too good to be true. New proxies might work for a while, only to be blocked by more and more sites as their usage increases. Paid proxies can also be banned, but have a lower risk because the proxy addresses are not plastered on a public proxy list like most free proxies are. And with free proxies, the provider has little control over the use of their proxy addresses, so IPs can be blacklisted for a variety of reasons.
When you use IPs from a free proxy list, you are sharing addresses with other web scrapers and anonymous web surfers who often care little about maintaining a proxy’s viability, foregoing IP rotation, or other means of avoiding proxy bans. With free proxies, it’s not what you did to get an address blocked, it’s what someone else did to get it blocked. Even so, there is one major benefit to getting proxies for free: the obvious one. They’re free. But what are the best free proxies to use? Not all free proxy lists are equal, which is why we have listed the top 10 best free proxies for web scraping.
ScraperAPI is a paid premier proxy provider that also offers 1,000 API requests for free. One reason this proxy scraper tool tops this proxy list is that, unlike the other providers, you get proxies for free after a quick signup process. Why is this good? Well, free proxy lists just leave proxy addresses out in the open for anyone and everyone to grab, leading to IP misuse and bans rather quickly. With ScraperAPI, free users have access to quality IPs just like the paid users, but without the free-for-all mentality of most free proxy lists. The free plan offers 5 concurrent requests and IP locations across the globe. And unlike most of the other free providers, they offer 24/7 support to answer questions related to using their proxies for web scraping or any other needs.
Spys.one is a proxy list database with IPs from 171 countries around the world, though many countries have only a handful of addresses originating from their locations. There are more than 800 proxies available from each of the top three countries on the list: Brazil, Germany, and the United States, and thousands more from any country you can imagine. The HTTP proxy list is broken down into subcategories, with sorting options like anonymous free proxies, HTTPS/SSL proxy, SOCKS proxy, HTTP, and transparent, so users can narrow down the type of proxies they are searching for. Each address is rated for latency, speed, and uptime. As expected, most proxies have high latency and low speed, with uptime percentages averaging around 70%. Proxies are also listed with a “check date,” indicating when a proxy was last checked to be live. About a quarter of all proxies have been checked within the last 24 hours, another quarter checked within the last week, with the remaining half of all proxies on the list having been checked over a week ago. Some of the more obscure countries haven’t been checked in over a month, and are most likely dead.
3. Open Proxy Space
Open Proxy Space Overview:
Open Proxy Space presents free proxy lists in three types of batches: SOCKS4, SOCKS5, and HTTP/S. Each batch is labeled based on when it was created, with each list containing only active proxies at the time of creation. The lists are tagged with when they were created: 3 hours ago, 1 day ago, 2 days ago, etc. Users can explore lists that were created months ago, but the older the list, the more dead proxies it will contain, and newer batches are going to contain the active proxies from those past lists anyway. Once a list is selected, users can choose which country or countries to include or exclude from the list, then export the IPs in a text document. The sorting options are limited for freeloaders, with paid premium members having access to custom API scripts, ports, and more.
4. Free Proxy
Free Proxy Overview:
Free Proxy looks like something fresh out of Bel-Air, and the list of over 17 thousand proxies is easy to sort and browse. Users can select from different protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS4, SOCKS5, and anonymity levels like elite and transparent. This provider has some interesting options that most of the others on this list don’t have. Selecting the “Proxies by category” option at the bottom opens a page with some unique lists: proxies by port, proxies by region, and proxies by city. Essentially, a user can select a free proxy from a proxy list by country and even specific cities around the world. Ideally, this would be to emulate a certain location or to test access to content based on a world region. These sub-lists are alphabetized, but unfortunately cannot be sorted in other ways.
ProxyScrape has your standard-fare list of free proxies with straightforward sorting options like country, anonymity, and SSL. Sorting by country can be a little confusing, as it uses two-character country codes rather than the full country name or even a vastly more understandable three-character country code. One stand-out feature is a “timeout” slider which permits a user to limit proxy results to those which meet or exceed a certain timeout threshold, measured in milliseconds. Like several others on this list, they offer a premium service with rotating proxies and other advanced features. However, ProxyScrape doesn’t have a free trial, so users will need to pay for those benefits, which defeats the purpose of getting free proxies to begin with. Those who are more charitably-minded might be interested to know ProxyScrape donates to several charities including Teamtrees and the Animal Welfare Institute, although how one might help to contribute by using their free proxies is uncertain.
6. Free Proxy Lists
Free Proxy Lists Overview:
Free Proxy Lists has one of the simplest and easiest to use layouts of all the free proxy server providers reviewed. It has HTML and HTMLS proxies exclusively, so those looking for SOCKS will need to search in another drawer. You can specify search criteria like ports, anonymity options, and country. Beyond that, the free proxy list can be sorted by region or city, but to find a specific location one must sort the list then click through up to 38 pages of proxies in order find the city or region desired. This is the only major blemish to an otherwise easy-to-use list. Each address has two color-coded bar graphs next to it depicting the response and transfer levels, but there is no numerical data indicating what each level means, so it’s only useful as a vague comparison to other proxies listed side-by-side. Luckily, uptime is measured with a percentage.
7. SSL Proxy
SSL Proxy Overview:
SSL Proxy has a tagline: “SSL (HTTPS) proxies that are just checked and updated every 10 minutes.” This is not actually true, although all the proxies on the list have been checked within the last hour. The free proxies are from various countries worldwide, but with a meager 100 proxies on the list, the availability is limited. As expected, users can sort by country – this time with both the two-character country code and the whole name spelled out – and anonymous options, with nearly every proxy on the list being labeled as either anonymous or elite. There is also a field labeled “Google,” presumably having something to do with Google’s acceptance of the proxy or possibly a proxy originating from a Google source. When we reviewed SSL Proxy, all of the addresses listed “Google” as “no,” so we were unable to test its usage. As one might expect from the name, this list contains only HTTPS proxies, with HTTP and SOCKS proxies being offered for a price.
GatherProxy offers a table of free proxy IP addresses not unlike almost every other proxy source reviewed here. The means of sorting these proxies is a little different and somewhat refreshing. The homepage features a list of the 50 proxies most recently checked, complete with the time each proxy was updated, country of origin, anonymity level, uptime, and response times. There is a field for “city” data but the entries are blank. The page auto-refreshes every 30 seconds or so, although the proxies are not actually updated this frequently. Often the addresses at the top of the list will show an update time from over 5 minutes ago, though it’s unlikely most of the free proxies will cease working in such a short period of time. Instead of using an uptime percentage or bar graph, GatherProxy displays uptime date in the form of a ratio, with “L” for live and “D” for down on the left and right respectively. Yet the most powerful feature is the assortment of tabs at the top of the page, featuring: proxy by country, proxy by port, anonymous proxy, web proxy, and socks list. Selecting one of these options takes the user to a sub-page with links to filter the proxies based on criteria. There is even a count listed for each country and port, making it ideal to choose from a pool of particular proxies. Of the total 11,000 proxies in their database, half of them have been confirmed active within the past 24 hours. They also offer free web scraping and proxy checker software, complete with videos on how to use them.
Proxy-List contains over 5,000 unpaid proxies and the list is checked every 2 hours. Standard sorting functions provided by the other free proxy providers apply to Proxy-List as well, with the main lists sorted into four options: HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS4, and SOCKS5. One nice feature is the ability to export the proxy lists as a text file, or the data can be copied into one’s clipboard with the press of a button. They offer API access to the proxy list, and provide a Chrome extension for web scraping, which most serious web scrapers probably already have, but still might be worth trying out.
10. Proxy Nova
Proxy Nova Overview:
Proxy Nova also provides a list of unpaid proxies that sorts the freshly-checked addresses to the top. But unlike GatherProxy, visitors to this website must manually refresh the page, which we kind of like. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a great free proxy IP address, only to have it disappear because the page auto-refreshed and you have no easy way of finding it again. The proxies do stay pretty up-to-date; in our experience, proxies at the top of the list were never more than a minute old. Their speeds, uptime, and locations are all listed as well. One peculiar field on the table of proxies says simply “YouTube,” but it was blank for all the proxies listed. Sorting options are limited to country and anonymity only, and despite the frequent updates there is no way of knowing how large the pool of free proxy IP addresses is.”
“You get what you pay for” is a phrase most of us have heard our entire lives, but in the case of getting proxies for free this is only mostly true. Paying nothing for proxies should result in a list of 100% dead addresses, but as you can see, there are some quality providers offering active proxies in exchange for nothing in return or at the most a little ad revenue from visiting their websites. And while top-tier proxy providers do have paid packages for access to their exclusive proxy lists, a couple of them offer either free trials or free API calls outright. The biggest caveat with any proxy gleaned from a free list is longevity. It is inevitable that unpaid proxies will come and go, requiring web scrapers to refresh their lists of proxies on a daily basis. What’s more, even free proxies confirmed to be active could be blocked by ISPs and websites, leaving users who paid nothing for those proxies feeling ripped off.