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Beginners’ Guide to Proxies

By Mohnish On August 5, 2008 Under Guides and Tuts

Proxies are very popular, so I thought I’d make a quick guide to explain how to get started in the proxy business. I do have my own proxy network, but I’m not a “proxy expert”. Everything I say here has the disclaimer that your results may vary and like any investment, there is a risk of not making back your initial investment. I am in no way responsible for your results, good or bad.

Ok, that being said, it’s pretty easy to make back your initial investment, and hopefully it shouldn’t be too hard to make a profit too 🙂 . Of course, this is not the Word of God on proxies, and you don’t have to do anything I say, and you probably will be able to find a way to make some money. This is just the way I did it, and it’s worked well so far.

So, what is a proxy? A proxy is a website that basically plays man-in-the-middle for people who are blocked from accessing certain websites. People at work, students at schools, and people in certain countries are all blocked from going to different sites for one reason or another. A proxy gets around this by making sure they never actually go to the site they want, but instead the proxy does and then shows them the site. For example, instead of going to Facebook directly, a student would type in your domain and your proxy would get the page from Facebook. Then your proxy would show the student the Facebook page and the school would never know (in theory).

Great, how do I get started? Well, I’m glad you asked. First, you need a domain name. Godaddy is a popular option, and if you decide to go with them do a Google search for coupon codes. I host my domains with them (sort of, see below), and have been very happy with their service so far.
Of course, you can buy a domain anywhere. One of the most important things to keep in mind is not to have “proxy” in the domain name. Now some people say that doesn’t matter, but I’d rather not take the chance. The reason you don’t want that is because a lot of web blocking programs block domains with “proxy” in them automatically (or almost automatically). If someone can’t get to your domain because it blocked, it doesn’t do them a lot of good does it? Along the same lines, avoid any questionable content in your domain name if possible. So go with something with “cloak”, “surf”, “hide”, “browse”, etc. You want to make it easy for someone to tell their friend about your site, so avoid hard to communicate names , e.g. 4-hiddin-ur-stuffs.ws/you_get_the_idea.

Ok, I found a domain and shelled out no more than $8 (buzz, buzz). What now? You need hosting. Here’s where you need to decide how much you want to put into your proxies. Digital Point Web Hosting here has a million and half threads (or 12,000+, same difference), and you can find pretty cheap hosting (although that doesn’t mean it’s great). You can also probably find free hosting if you look around hard enough, or just post in the Freebies section and ask nicely. Of course, not every host allows proxies, and so you need to find out before you sign up. I think you shouldn’t spend more than $10 dollars a month per proxy, and you can find it cheaper. One thing you don’t want to do however, is buy shared hosting from Godaddy (or any of their lame resellers 😀 ), because it won’t be enough.

Alright, I got some hosting, and I know proxies are allowed. But how do I actually get a proxy on my site? Well my young Padawan, you must now find a good proxy template. Do a Google search for “free proxy template” or search on Digital Point. I really like Free Proxy Templates (who I have no connection to). You want to find a theme that has a lot of space for Adsense, that’s how you’re going to get back your investment. You also have a choice of what type of proxy you want. There are two different popular types. First is a php proxy, of which there are several different varieties, such as PHProxy, Zelune, and Glype. The other type is CGI. Php is easy to install and doesn’t take up much space or server resources, but chews through bandwidth. CGI is easier on bandwidth, but is harder to install and uses more server resources. Some hosting companies only allow php proxies (and some might only allow CGI, I just haven’t seen anything like that), so that’s something to keep in mind.

Great, I’ve got a freaking proxy! I don’t hear the money trucks backing up to my house. What gives? Ok, now the fun part. You want to make some money from your proxy, so you need to put Adsense on the front page. But only the front page!!!. Adsene is very picky about not being on the proxified pages, and it’s not worth getting kicked out of Adsense for a proxy. You want the ads to blend in, so set the colors of the ads to match the colors of the site. Now each template is different, but the basic idea is that you need to edit the config file and fill in all of your site’s info, like meta data, a few sentences so Google has some content to base ads on, and most importantly, put your Adsense Publisher Id in the Adsense code. You probably could get away with just swapping out pub-ids, but I would recommend making sure everything looks good and it all has your branding (e.g. the text has your domain name instead of some fake domain). This might require editing a logo file to have the name of your site, but nothing too complicated.

If you are a little more adventurous, you might want to look into putting ads on the proxified pages. Of course, these can’t be Adsense, but Adbrite allows their ads to be on proxified pages and you could also put a pop up (or under, as the case may be) company like Adversal’s ads on the pages. There is a guide about how to put the code in your template at Free Proxy Templates, or you can do a Google search as always. I should warn you, however, that Adbrite probably won’t do that well, and I can’t recommend a popup/ under company because users hate them. But it’s up to you.

Dude, I have a proxy that frakking rocks. But nobody knows where it is? How do I get people to my site? This might be the most important part, so pay attention. You need traffic to make money, and the more the better. How do you get traffic? By getting the word out. First you should submit it to Stumble Upon. It’s free and it will deliver traffic. Of course, it would be great if you could make sure your site got a lot of people to stumble it, maybe through some sort of …I don’t know…exchange, but I don’t have any idea how to do that (Google it 😉 ).

Next up, put the link in your signature here at DP. Make sure to monitor the threads for post about proxy topsites, newsletters, groups, etc. and reply with your proxy. Now most may not bring you much traffic (topsites, I’m looking at you), but as part of a concerted effort to promote your site, do as much as you can. Look for some people to do link exchanges with. With proxies, it’s about driving traffic, not Page Rank, so don’t worry too much about links from sites that are less than perfect. They send traffic just like everybody else.

Another way to reach your intended audience is to work MySpace and Facebook (and all the other social networking sites). Students are a big part of your audience, and they need proxies. Make a group and get the word out about your proxy. Post a bulletin to your friends about your site. Don’t spam, but give people a chance to discover your site. You may or may not want to make an account just for promoting your site. Your smart, do what you want.

One of the best ways to get targeted traffic is to post to Google/Yahoo proxy groups. Here is a big list of groups. Don’t spam, and don’t be stupid. Some of these may require registration, and who knows, by the time you read this, some may not exist anymore. This is not a complete list by any means. Be smart and find your own.

There are always the regular SEO ways of building traffic too, like commenting in dofollow blogs and what not, but I think targeted traffic is better than non-related links.

You might also want to buy advertising or a listing on a site like Proxy.org, but I think you’ll be alright without that. Once you see some money coming in, rinse and repeat.

Thanks to Anemene at DigitalPoint Forums for this Guide! 🙂


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