Sunday, Sep 27, 2020
You might have seen or heard word proxy. In fact, we all have used it in our college lives. We used to mark the absent guy present by keeping ourselves hidden! In everyday use, the word “proxy” refers to someone who is authorized to take any action on your behalf — such as voting in an important meeting that you can’t attend. So, in generic terms, proxy means working as a middleman between two entities or representing someone on his behalf.
Similarly, a proxy server in the computer world acts as a Gateway between you and the Internet. If you want to understand What is a proxy server, how it works, Proxy Server definitions, why to use Proxy server, Proxy server benefits, etc, you are at the right place. But, before moving ahead with a web proxy server, it is important for us to understand IP addresses. So, first, let’s understand the mechanism that brings free proxy sites into play.
Yes, whenever you are browsing online and going to search for anything, the online connection will give your computer the address to the site you are connecting with. In this way you allow yourself to send information that includes emails, web pages, and more to you back from the computer. This address of your computer is acknowledged as your public IP address. IP here refers to Internet Protocol. Without the use of an IP address, you will not be able to access the Internet and be available online. It is because of the IP address; you are able to connect with the world.
You might be thinking, what defines an IP Address?
You have to thank the Internet Service Provider to help you with the IP address right at your home. From your computer to your smartphones, uses your IP address to help you connect with the world. It has literally convinced most of the people and they are all satisfied with the way the things operate.
But there are certain concerns as well that still needs to be checked, take a look:
- Your IP address knows where you belong and that too at the street level.
- It is used by many websites to block you from getting access to the content.
- It ties up your home address and name to create an IP address as someone is paying for the respective Intent connection from the given address.
Yet there are still few ways, you can skip these ground realities and access the block content. How? This is when a proxy server or proxy service takes over!
Proxy Server Definition
If you have ever been part of a school, company, or other similar organization, you have likely used a proxy server. A Proxy server works as a gateway between you/team/organization and the Internet. It is a bridge between you and the rest of the internet. Instead of you (your system) connecting directly to a website on the Internet, you connect to a proxy and the Proxy communicates with the website on your behalf.
There are multiple types of proxies in today’s world. But by default, when we talk about proxy, the default word “Proxy” talks about Forwarding proxies. Forward proxy means when you use a proxy, your browser first connects to the proxy, and the proxy forwards your traffic to the website. A proxy will also receive the website’s response and send it back to you. So, it acts as an ambassador on your behalf and communicates to the Internet on your behalf to safeguard you and for providing multiple benefits, as described in the below blog thread.
What is a Proxy Browser?
A Proxy service is basically an intermediate between an online resource and a web user. When you are connecting with a website directly, you will send a request containing all the information about yourself. Accordingly, the response to you will be made. But, if this is done with the use of a proxy website, you will be benefited with a gateway to request for connection and the data shared by the resource. The proxy servers will completely hide or change the information about you while requesting the data.
So, you will be getting the data you wanted without any restrictions, and all thanks to proxy-based connection. It filters the website content that was preventing you from accessing the respective site. It also assures that you will be able to relish anonymous data collection and web browsing without any kind of hassle at all.
Proxy Site: A Substitute for Your Online Session
With the help of a proxy server, you will be able to browse online using different IP addresses. This doesn’t mean that you are changing your Internet service provider, you just need to look for a free proxy site and get ahead with the list you get. This will help you go online without any kind of difficulties at all.
It is as simple as this. You just need to find proxies and things will go without any prevention at all. But, finding the right one for your browsing needs will need some research work. For this, you need to first understand How a proxy site operates. Don’t worry, we’ll help you with the same!
How does a Proxy Site operate?
When it comes to proxy servers, it is basically a computer present online with a modified identity. It redirects your responses and helps you browse successfully crossing over all the hurdles with the changed identity.
When you put a website name, the ISP will make a request for you and help you connect with the destination. It will share your real IP address as your identity. But, when you will be using a proxy server for your online requests, it will certainly get rerouted. The ISP will share your Internet request to the destination, but the proxy site will mask your real IP address with the ones they have on their list. So, it will help connect with your destination without any blockage at all.
Why You Will Be Opting for Proxy Servers?
You will fall short of reasons to opt for proxy sites. But, to help you out, we will share the reasons where the proxy servers can prove to be quite beneficial, check it out:
- Being a college or school student, you might have noticed that the educational institutes block certain websites. Here as a student, you can use proxy sites to get access to it.
- You might want to look for something online but without being traced. So, here proxy server can help you big time.
- If you are in the foreign land and are unable to connect with the websites back home, you can consider falling for proxy websites without any hassle.
- If you have feedback to provide on a particular website but you don’t want yourself to be traced, proxy servers can be a help in this situation.
- There are organizations that block certain website content like social media platforms. You can access that with the help of a proxy server without any kind of difficulty.
- Even major website/Application operators hide their servers behind a proxy server to avoid any hack or misuse of the same. Clients connect to the webservers via proxy and the server’s real information (possible vice-versa too) is ripped off during the transaction. It provides more security and central traffic management capability to the website/Application owners.
This shows how a proxy server helps one on a regular basis. So, it makes your web browsing experience quite seamless and without any kind of restriction.
Benefits and Uses of Proxy Services
Some of the major benefits of using Proxy servers are as below:
- Increased Security and Privacy
- Avoid getting tracked and monitored by Marketing and Advertisement agencies
- Bypassing content filters
- Browse Geographical-locked contents
- View local pages from other countries
- Save bandwidth and Improve website performance by caching pages
Note: Few companies use Proxy services to identify the data being traverse through their network to identify the legal and compliance issues with respect to Data Privacy Laws like GDPR, PDPA, CCPA, LGPD, etc.
Illegal usage of Proxy Servers
The anonymous nature of proxy servers opens the door to a wide range of illegitimate uses.
- Bad actors often use proxy servers to obscure their location while engaging in illegal activity.
- A proxy hack or person providing you a proxy will have a full view of your information and can misuse your information to a greater extent /significant risk.
- Hackers can use free proxy services to harvest unused bandwidth from other computers on the network, essentially turning it into a botnet, or run ‘man in the middle’ attacks to infiltrate other networks.
- Some people misuse proxy sites/servers for illegal purposes like pornography, online gambling sites, spam email, link-spamming, “black hat” marketing, promoting illegal activity, torrenting files, or distributing files without the rights to do so.
All such use cases must be discouraged and there are provisions of legal actions against such offenders.
Different Types of Proxy Server
Yes, the prime objective of all the proxies is to help you get access to websites with ease and enhanced security. But the behavior in which they act can be different. To help you with it, we have categorized below the proxy servers, let us dig in:
The most commonly available and used methods by newcomers. Public proxies or “open proxies” are usually free proxy websites and services. Public proxy servers come with a number of risks, most importantly, your security and browser performance. The IP address you are assigned typically does not last for long, which may affect your browsing experience, and they frequently crash if not set up to handle a high volume of activity.
Private Proxies assign a dedicated IP to each user, resulting in higher speeds and better reliability. A private proxy service has the benefit of sustained, reliable connections that don’t require you to reconfigure your settings over and over. These are much more secure than Public Proxies.
This type of proxy server goes the way it is named. It will let the website know that it is a proxy server and will pass through your IP address any which way. As transparent as it can get! Transparent Proxy servers are majorly used for Content filtering purposes. For example, to block or allow, certain websites for the end-users. Schools, Colleges, Universities often use a transparent proxy.
This type of free proxy site will acknowledge itself as the free proxy server, but it’ll not share your IP address to the destination website. So in addition to the content filtering, it also provides you additional security in terms of preventing identity theft and keeping your browsing history/habits private.
It exclusively identifies itself as a proxy and to make it easy for you to reach your destination, it shares incorrect IP addresses for you. Bypassing along with a “substitute” IP address, the distorting proxy protects you from targeted marketing and can help you get around content restrictions.
High Anonymity proxy
Here the respective proxy server doesn’t share the identity of itself as a proxy site and also it keeps your IP address a secret as well. So, a destination site will see that just a random other website is connecting.
While most proxy servers are designed with the end-user in mind, a reverse proxy mainly exists for the security and benefits of the web server in question.
A reverse proxy, also known as web server acceleration, usually fulfills requests for information from the web server’s cache (rather than querying the website every time). This allows the server to store commonly requested information, reducing the load on the server, and improving overall performance. It also works as a load balancer to distribute client traffic to multiple servers in the backend. From the client’s point of view, the reverse proxy appears to be the webserver and so is totally transparent to the remote user.
Some of the benefits of Reverse Proxy are – Controlling and Load-balancing Network traffic, Securing the Web Infrastructure, enhanced protections using WAF and DDoS protectors, SSL Offloading at the proxy level, and Improving performance due to content caching.
Socks (which stands for SOCKet Secure), is a type of application. Socks is an internet protocol that restricts content to authorized users and keeps track of individual connections using sockets. A SOCKS server is often used within a company firewall and it can be built into specific web browsers for easy use. SOCKS proxies often support any kind of internet traffic, but it can be a slower process, so not very popular in the market.
When using a rotating proxy, each request you make will use a different random IP address.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
VPN are actually a form of proxying to enable enhanced in-transit security in mind. VPN is often used by large enterprises that want to create a permanent connection for all communication. VPN’s typically encrypt all traffic passing through the connection, providing an extra layer of security.
So, these are the proxy server categories and their different approaches. You will be able to find these proxy servers easily online and that too without any kind of extra charges. But, yes, you need to research precisely about the proxy server sites so that there is no risk attached during your browsing session.
Is Proxy Server Safe?
There are proxy servers where you will be benefited from security prospects with privacy protection. You will be able to configure the proxy site so that they encrypt the requests you send to reach your destination. In fact, with the help of proxy servers, you will also be able to prevent yourself from malware sites.
There are organizations that combine their proxy server with VPN or Virtual Private Network so that the remote users will be able to access the Internet with the help of the company proxy. With the help of the VPN, it becomes easier for the companies to provide network facilities to remote and external users. So, things will be a lot more secure and protected.
But, still it is important that you be cautious while choosing the proxy site for your needs. There are few risks also attached that can harm your potential benefits, check it out:
- It has been observed that using the free proxy server can turn out to be quite risky. So, you need to research well before getting your browsing started. The free proxy server means that they are not investing much when it comes to encryption or backend hardware. So, you might find performance issues, and also a lot of security-related hurdles can be your way.
- The proxy server has the original IP address and the information you are looking for. So, you need to check whether the proxy server saves and logs the data. They can use it for their purpose as well and exclusively add to your risk as well. The vendor can sell your data and put your sessions under big risk as your confidential data can be accessed by the third party.
- If the proxy service is not helping you with encryption, then you must not use the respective proxy network. So, the data is being shared without any kind of security. Your usernames and passwords will be easily readable.
These are a few things you need to take a note of and have your proxy server chosen. It will certainly help you have your browsing session covered without any kind of difficulty.
List of Free Proxy Servers and sites
Some of the freely available Proxy sites are as below. Readers can go through these websites and select the one which they find most appropriate and secure:
Proxy vs VPN
When it is about VPN, it is basically a lot similar to a proxy. The system you are using for your browsing needs is actually configured to get you connected to another server. The proxy server will redirect your online requests but when it comes to VPN connection, it is capable of anonymizing and routing all of your network traffic.
With VPN, you will also be benefited with encryption. You will have no stress of the hackers disturbing you and your data. Your personal information and data will be completely safe and it will not be compromised at all costs.
Proxy vs Reverse proxy
There is not much of a difference between the two. The difference in names is because of the position the proxy is in while serving the client. In both the dimensions, you will have the proxy in the opposite direction of the connection.
When it comes to a proxy, it is basically an intermediary that is taken ahead by the client between the source and the respective server. But, when it is about reverse proxy, it positions itself on the other side. Yes, here the server will find itself between the client and the proxy site.
So, a reverse proxy is basically a path to reach the server-side compared to the proxy, where it is the path to get connected to the internet on our side.
Proxy vs Firewall
There are many who are claiming the Proxy and Firewall to be the same thing. But there is a difference between the two. When it comes to the Firewall, it will be able to monitor and filter all the outgoing and incoming traffic on the local network itself. But, when it comes to proxy servers, it connects you to external servers so that you can reach your destination without any blockage.
Firewalls will block all the connections that will try to reach you from an unauthorized source or network. But, when it comes to the proxy, it prioritizes connections over the network. The firewall also filters the data by actually assessing IP packets traversed. But, when it comes to the Proxy side, the client-side requests are filtered so that it becomes easier to connect to the network.
So, hopefully, you are clear with the difference between Firewall and Proxy server sites. It is important that you research well and then get connected to one of the best proxy server sites that can help you have a seamless browsing session.
Hopefully, now you are completely clear about the proxy servers. You just need to find the right type of server that can help you have a risk-free browsing session. It has actually become one of the hot items in different industries these days. But it certainly helps the users to have unlimited sessions without any kind of restrictions whatsoever. There are several advantages when compared to the disadvantages. You will have security protection in place to keep your data completely safe and secure.
So, all you need to do is to analyze the different proxy servers available there online and get your browsing session started with the most secure one. You will surely have your needs covered without any kind of abnormalities related to your data.
Some Relevant reads:
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – Personal Data Protection law for European Citizens.
Personal Data Protect Bill (PDP) – India – Personal Data Protection law for Indian Citizens.
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) – California, United States – Personal Data Protection law for Citizens of California.
The Brazilian Data Protection Law — LGPD Brazil – Data protection act of Brazilians.
External References / Citations:
This Website/document does not constitute any professional advice. The information in this document has been obtained or derived from different sources believed by dataprivacyacts.com to be reliable but dataprivacyacts.com does not represent that this information is accurate or complete. Any opinions or estimates contained in this document represent the judgment of Dataprivacyacts.com at this time and are subject to change without notice. Readers of this publication are advised to seek their own professional advice before taking any course of action or decision, for which they are entirely responsible, based on the contents of this publication. Dataprivacyacts.com neither accepts or assumes any responsibility or liability to any reader of this publication in respect of the information contained within it or for any decisions readers may take or decide not to or fail to take.
© dataprivacyacts.com. All rights reserved.