Is Using Your Phone's Hotspot as Good as Buying a Dedicated Proxy?

Read this article to know if using your phone hotspot is as good as a paid proxy. Know if it offers the same advantage as a premium proxy service and if it doing all that you are trying to achieve with your phone hotspot.

Many people have started to wise up to the benefits of using a proxy for their daily browsing, especially those with an active subscription for streaming services. However, a proxy is a subscription in itself – while there are free options, they hardly work as well as you would expect for something like Netflix, Spotify or another streaming service. Using free proxies is also out of the question for work-related activities, as you can't afford the risk of compromising your communications. After all, your data has to travel through the proxy server.

Your phone might be a good substitute for a proxy, but this comes with a few caveats. It's not a perfect alternative and understanding the implications of using your phone as opposed to a regular proxy subscription is important.

Both Are Viable Options

That said, your phone is a perfectly valid alternative for an individual proxy. As long as you have a relatively new smartphone, you can easily configure it to work as a local proxy server, routing all of your connections through it. This can allow you to retain the same IP address no matter where you go. Even if you're surfing from another town, it wouldn't matter – from the perspective of the sites you're visiting, your address will stay the same. This is also great if you have some resources you need to keep protected – you could whitelist the IP of your phone and use it as a proxy between those resources and your other devices.

On the other hand, a regular dedicated proxy can also have its benefits in certain circumstances. It's a more flexible option that doesn't require you to carry your phone around wherever you go (though that's hardly a problem for most people). It's also more reliable and comes with certain guarantees about availability and connection speeds. Not to mention the fact that a proxy can be located anywhere in the world and would allow you to access data restricted to some countries. In general, a dedicated proxy will be a much better option for people with more advanced needs.

Difference Between Your Phone and a Dedicated Proxy

When you're using your phone as a proxy, you're connecting through a real, physical device. You can take this device with you wherever you go, and you can easily leave it somewhere for extended periods. But you're still responsible for the care and maintenance of that device, down to the smallest details like keeping it charged.

On the other hand, a dedicated proxy is based on a server located in a data center somewhere. It's often virtualized – a single machine may be used for handling multiple connections – and it's designed to be reliable, safe, and an option worth paying for. However, on the downside, you don't have any real control over the proxy server from your end. It's locked down and you can't change any settings other than the ones directly relevant to your subscription. If your proxy's server has an overload from other users – you are done for.

Benefits of Using Your Phone as a Hotspot

Your phone can work quite well for addressing certain problems that most people would normally get a full-blown proxy subscription for. Since it's your phone, its IP address will not be used by hundreds of other people. That is a major advantage because most internet proxies are used by countless other people. As you might imagine, that gives some advantages to using your phone as a proxy. For example, you won't have to deal with captchas at every step. Your connection won't be throttled either, and you will be able to avoid getting banned by sites that are looking out for IP address changes and similar signs.
And as long as you're trying to connect to servers in the same country, you'll be able to enjoy faster connection speeds as well. Even considering the implications of a mobile connection, you'll still be able to get your content delivered faster and more reliably. Of course, that's valid as long as you're connecting to local sites.

When Your Phone Isn't Enough

If you're trying to evade country blocking, your phone might not be an ideal option. After all, you're still connecting through the same country due to the way your mobile plan works. The only exception is when you're running on a roaming plan, but it's often unreasonable to rely on something like that for running a proxy server.

It's also not a scalable solution. Setting up more than one hotspot on your phone is already difficult enough, especially when you have to connect to a different network and so on. Getting multiple IP addresses on the same smartphone? Impossible. On the other hand, when you have a subscription to a proxy network, you have a theoretically unlimited number of proxies to pick from, and they're all just a few clicks away. This can be incredibly powerful when you're trying to maximize the content you have access to, or if you want to use your proxy for work-related purposes, like data scraping.

Last but not least, remember that when you are on your phone, all your traffic is eating through your mobile data plan. The cost can quickly add up if you're not careful. Even so-called "unlimited" plans still have limitations that you have to observe and may eventually reach. Don't be surprised if your connection gets throttled at some point. Or worse, you might get hit with unexpected extra charges.

If these concerns matter to you, then you might want to look into getting a proper dedicated proxy subscription instead of using your phone as a proxy. You'll get several extra benefits that you simply can't ignore, and the overall cost will not be as high as you might think. If you search for a while, you may be able to find some great deals on proxy subscriptions here and there.

Author bio: James Keenan. The automation and anonymity evangelist at Smartproxy. He believes in data freedom and everyone's right to become a self-starter. James is here to share knowledge and help you succeed with residential proxies.


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