ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PROXY SERVERS



WHAT IS A PROXY SERVER?
A proxy server is a computer or software that acts as an intermediate between your computer and the internet. In a company proxy servers acts as a gateway between the company's primary server and other computers in the network. Use of proxy servers can mainly enhance your performance and security. Many companies deploy proxy servers to monitor their employee's usage of outside networks.

When you have a proxy server in place, every data coming into your network is filtered through a port and is distributed to the rest of the computers using the network. In this way when direct access to the network is blocked, you can easily protect your network from hackers to get inside your network and steal your information.

HOW PROXY WORKS?
A proxy server is a universal gateway that helps in safely redirecting your internet requests. Generally, when accessing a webpage (say amazon.com), your internet service provider will send the request and connects you to the desired URL. However, your IP address is revealed here to the outside world. With the use of a proxy server, all your online requests are rerouted from a different server, and your IP address will not be revealed. 

A proxy server can be a single server or a group of servers that helps in filtering and blocking internet usage. Say for an example, when a computer in your network accesses the internet, every request is made through the proxy server, and only if the website is allowed, the response will be sent to the computer. Hence, in this way, the company can efficiently manage and control internet usage in the company or at home to prevent users from accessing unwanted websites.

WHY DO YOU NEED A PROXY?

Many people use proxy servers for various purposes like outlined below:
In schools and colleges, proxy servers are used to block certain websites to students
When you want to access specific information without revealing your IP address and your location, you can use a proxy server

When you are in a different country where internet usage or accessing certain websites are blocked, then you may indeed need to seek the help of a proxy server to access the internet or specific websites

When you want to post comments on a blog without revealing your original IP address
When your employer blocks you from accessing social media in the office, there are specific proxy servers to help you circumvent the restrictions

When you want to cache web pages and increase the performance of your internet


  • When you are looking to share an internet connection with many computers on a network.
  • To fasten your internet surfing speeds
  • To enforce internet usage restrictions in your workplace and to monitor the usage of the internet by people in your office
  • To control bandwidth usage in your workplace
  • To enforce internet filter process of restricting access to specific web pages.
  • To protect against data leakages and to scan all kinds of outbound content.



TYPES OF PROXY SERVERS

Proxy servers are classified in various types based on their functionality and usage. Below we've listed some of the commonly used proxy servers:

WEB PROXY

The most commonly used proxy server is the web proxy which responds to all requests raised by the user by transferring the relevant data from either the cached pages or from the internet. This ensures quick response to the users as only of the requested page is not available in the local cache a request is made to the internet to get the data to the user. 

TRANSPARENT PROXY 

A transparent proxy is a type of proxy that is mainly used for caching web pages and also to circumvent basic IP restrictions. However, as the name suggests, these proxy servers don't provide any protection over your IP address as your original IP address is exposed to the outside world. Generally, these types of proxy servers are not configured on client systems.

ANONYMOUS PROXY

This is the kind of proxy server that is typically used by people who want to be anonymous to the outside. However, your original IP address doesn't stay completely hidden. With relevant methods, your IP address can be easily detected.

DISTORTING PROXY

Another kind of proxy server that modifies the HTTP headers to some extent to disguise your IP address. Hence your original IP address is not revealed.

TUNNELING PROXY

Also known as gateway proxies, the tunneling proxy server is one that doesn’t modify the client request and response in any way.

FORWARD PROXY

Another type of proxy, the forward proxy is one that responds to all user requests by getting data from various internet sources. It is also known as internet facing proxy.

REVERSE PROXY

Reverse proxies are used to retrieve information requested from the user from more than one servers and return the data to the user. By this way, the user never knows the originating source of the response.

ADVANTAGES OF PROXY SERVERS

When it comes to proxy servers, there are many advantages to using a proxy server. Some of them are listed below:

PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT:

Use of proxy servers mainly enhances the performance of your servers. This is achieved by proxy servers caching all the user requests in local storage. So any request made to the same webpage is sent from the local storage without needing to access the internet. Hence users can see a faster response rate. This also helps in bandwidth usage reduction as most of the user's requests are met through local cache storage and also reducing the bandwidth costs of the company.

MONITORING AND FILTERING USER REQUESTS:

Another significant advantage of proxy servers to enforce complete control over the network. Proxy servers help in filtering all requests made by the users in the network and block access to unwanted and illicit websites. Content filtering is mostly used in schools, colleges, and offices that wanted to implement strict internet policies. Server administrators can also enforce restrictions over the use of specific keywords apart from providing restrictions to certain websites.

ANONYMOUS BROWSING:

Another significant advantage of a proxy server is to enable anonymous browsing as it helps you not to reveal your original IP address and location to the outside world. So all requests made by the user is redirected to the proxy server before going to original server requested. Hence the requested server never will know the originating source of the request at the point of time. Only the proxy server knows the originating source.

TRANSLATION:

Translation proxies play a significant role in translating the content in the local language from which the user request came from. When a user requests for a data, these translation proxies identifies the location of the user and provides the request in the relevant language.

WHAT IS A PROXY URL?

A proxy URL is not a proxy server, but just a different kind of URL to a particular web address. People often use proxy URL to circumvent censorship blocks or to evade content filtering enforced in offices. Say, for example, if a specific web address like www.bestvpn.com is blocked in a particular country, then a proxy URL like www.bestvpn-china.com can be used which won't be blocked in the country. By using this proxy URL, you can access the content in the original web address www.bestvpn.com without any issues.
HOW TO CONFIGURE A PROXY SERVER?

When you are using a private proxy service like a VPN service, then you may get all details regarding setting up and configuring the services in detailed user manuals. There are also several free and open proxy servers available in the market

To configure a proxy server in Firefox:


  • In Firefox, go to Options  Network Proxy
  • Click the Settings button
  • Under Connection Settings, you will see various proxy settings
  • If you want to specify your proxy server details, then select “Manual Proxy configuration” and provide the proxy server details
  • However, if you want to auto-detect the proxy servers in your network, select "Auto-Detect Proxy setting for this network."
  • Click “OK” to confirm


DISADVANTAGES OF PROXY SERVER:
Even though proxy servers offer you many advantages, there are still some disadvantages in using these proxy servers.

Additional Investment

While big corporate companies can invest money to buy one or more proxy servers, it is generally not the same way with small companies. Apart from the installation and purchasing costs, there are also some maintenance costs involved.

Configuration

Configuration is an important aspect when setting up these proxy servers. It needs to be done very carefully as even if a single port is open, then it becomes much easy for hackers to access all your relevant data.

Cache Data


Even though proxy servers cache data locally, it is not always the best process as you may never know that the data received is always the latest information.


CONCLUSION

Proxy servers do play a significant role in content filtering and hiding your original identity. Open and free proxies usually are slow and unstable and not advised for regular use. However, with the use of private proxy servers, organizations can take complete control over the network and provide a safe and secure environment. Even though proxy servers are simple and easy to set up, many organizations still prefer VPN services over proxy servers. However, overall proxy servers are excellent regarding enhancing your performance and making your servers safe from unwanted outside access.

One of the best part is that you can get free proxylist from proxyscrape

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