What is a proxy?

You may have a general understanding of a proxy server, but this article will help you understand this technology better and see all the benefits of using a proxy server. So what are they, how do they help us, and why should we use a proxy server?

A proxy server acts as an intermediary between a web user and an online resource. When you visit a website directly, you send a web request containing information about you (the server or PC you are using, your location, browser fingerprints, IP address, etc.). In response to this, the website provides you with the requested content.

Unlike a direct connection between users and websites, a proxy-based connection provides a gateway for your web request and the data you will receive back from the site. Proxies can hide or modify your web request data and filter website content, preventing you from obtaining unwanted information. Firstly, proxies can be divided into two types: shared and dedicated proxies.

Proxy classification

Datacenter proxies

Public proxies

You can easily get this type of proxies by making a simple Google search. You will find plenty of lists containing hundreds and even thousands of unreliable, dangerous and expired proxies.  In addition, browsing the Internet via these open proxies is pretty much risky, as they can be used by providers/hackers/government agencies to collect and steal personal information.

Shared proxies

A shared proxy is a public proxy that anyone can easily access. Generally, you can get shared proxies for a small payment, with no restrictions on the number of users they serve. These servers often get overloaded with hundreds or even thousands of users. This slows down the connection and often results in delays and even crashes.

When using shared proxies, you will have to wait several minutes for a website to load, making it impossible for you to surf the web. 

There are also semi-dedicated proxies that have a limited number of users. They are suitable for small groups of people, such as businesses or schools, to create a shared network connection.

Dedicated or private proxies

A dedicated proxy allows you to use a proxy privately, which means that you are the only one using it. This will enable you to browse entirely anonymously and securely with a high page load speed.

Residential proxies

These are the best by far option because they use IP addresses belonging to real physical devices. These are almost impossible to detect allowing users to avoid geographic restrictions or cloaking.

4G proxies

 

Proxy server types

Forward Proxy Server

Forward proxy servers are used by institutions, schools, universities and some companies that use an internal network. Each request, that a client sends, to connect to a particular website, it goes through a Forward proxy server which decides whether tge client is allowed or not to access that resource. If so, the connection request is sent to the external server, which does not see the client’s IP address but only sees the connection request sent by the forward proxy server.

Thie type of proxy server is used as as a shield that allows administrators to restrict access to unwanted web resources when using that specific internal network. 

Reverse Proxy Server

This type of proxy is just the opposite of the foward proxy server. A reverse proxy server is used by the websites (or web services) to hide their IP addresses from the external users and also helps dispersing the data between the internal servers to prevent overloading.This type of proxies also protect against hacker attack.

Rotating proxy server

This type of proxy allows both forwarding user’s requests and receiving responses from websites. Open proxy servers do not require authentification, thus they are not very safe to use.

Why Should You Use a Proxy Server?

Access to restricted Websites

When we think about home entertainment everyone’s thoughts go to spending time on Instagram, facebook or Twitter, listening to the newes hits on Spotify and watching their favorite TV shows on Netflix. But what do you do if you live in Russia? Many European and American services and online stores are not accessible to countries like Russia, China, South Korea or Egypt.

First of all, how do these websites know where are you from? The answer is simple: when you are trying to access a website/platform, you inevitably send them a lot of information about yourself, including location data. If you country is not among the website’s supported countries you will receive a polite message telling you that you cannot access their services or products.

Imagine that in another country (where all of these services work), there is a server you can use to change your IP, thus making Netflix think you are in a supported country. This is a proxy server and thousands of these servers are spread in almost every country in the world. The proxy server allows you to change the location and bypass access to certain restricted websites.

Privacy

By changing the location, the proxy server hides your real location. Sites cannot know where the proxy is sending information. Therefore, your other data, including the IP address, is only known to the proxy server.

To find out who used the proxy, you must contact the server administrator. The administrator will only transmit the data upon decision of the local court. If the server is located in another country, it will be necessary to obtain the very complicated interstate bureaucratic procedure to obtain the information. 

Improved performance

A web proxy saves in the cache memory all the websites you accessed. Next time you want to load the same website, the proxy server will check for changes, and if there are no changes, it will show you the cached version of that website.

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