Web proxies are becoming a hot topic amongst web masters as of late. They appear to be easy money and traffic but there are many considerations to be made before you seriously jump into the proxy hosting market. You should do your research if you are seriously considering joining the ranks of proxy web masters.
First off, proxy hosting starts with a web host. Most webhosting companies will NOT accept proxies. They are extremely resource intensive and can easily bring shared servers to a stand still if they get any decent amount of traffic. For anyone seriously considering hosting a proxy a VPS or dedicated server is a requirement. You need at least 256MB of ram on your server and 512 or above is highly recommended. Another thing to be careful of is control panels, cPanel, the most popular control panel amongst webmasters is very resource intensive and can use all 256mb of ram on a vps before your sites are even running. DirectAdmin and other lighter weight control panels are highly recommended to save resources for your users.
Disk space, proxies take minimal disk space. This should not be a huge concern in choosing a web host. A proxy acts as a relay of data, it plays a middle man of sorts between your users and the websites they wish to visit. This requires all websites use double the normal bandwidth of viewing a website. The first half of the data is your server requesting the website your user wishes to visit. The second half of the data is sending that website’s data back to the user. Popular proxies can eat a lot of bandwidth, make sure you have plenty to spare.
This covers the two main aspects of proxy hosting, ram and bandwidth. A decent processor such as a Core2Duo, Xeon, Opterons are a huge plus but generally this will become an issue after ram and bandwidth.
What should you be looking for in a web host when choosing one? Price isn’t everything. If you want to make money you better be prepared to spend some too. The $5 special on a shared server spells disaster if you plan on being successful. If a host lets you host proxies in a shared environment this might sound great and cheap but you have to wonder what else is running if they are going to allow you to use a lot of resources of the server. Only an irresponsible web host would let one user eat all the server resources, and you may not be the one using all those resources and then you will be very unhappy.
If you are going with a dedicated or vps solution as suggested you probably want good support response times in case something goes wrong. Depending on your skill level with servers, management may also be a good thing to have so you don’t have keep your machine securely patched and running yourself. Uptime guarantees are also a nice thing to have, a server that is not online isn’t making money.
Lastly, research what others have to say. If you think you found a good host check out reviews of the company, one or two bad reviews is common, but if there is a trend be careful. A good place to start is Proxy Host, a proxy web hosting directory and resource.