What is a proxy server?
People do not think about how exactly the web works. The problem with this is the constant danger of getting your details stolen as you click through pictures, Today’s news, and temptations online.
What happens when you surf the web? Maybe you use a proxy server in your workplace, On a VPN, or you may be one of the slightly more nerdy ones using a proxy of some kind.
A proxy server acts as a middle man between the Internet and you. It is a web server that separates you and the Internet from each other. By using a proxy, it’s possible to provide several different levels of functionality, online security, and sensitive private information depending on how you use the Internet, needs, or workplace policy.
A proxy server works by having the Internet connection go through the proxy and to the Internet address you have requested to view. The request is then sent back through the same proxy server (there are exceptions to this rule) and ensures that you receive the requested website.
If that’s the only thing it does, why bother with a proxy server? Why not just go straight from the web site and back again?
Modern proxies have many other features than forwarding web requests.
A proxy can have many functions, both with a focus on data security and network performance. It can also act as a firewall or web filter that provides shared network connection or cache data to speed up the web requests that the user requests. A good proxy offers the above features and thereby protects the user and the internal network from malicious threats that live on the big Internet. Thus, a proxy can provide a high level of privacy.
How Does a Proxy Server work?
All computers that visit the Internet have different Internet Protocols (IP) addresses. Your IP address is used as your computer’s home address. Exactly like when the postal service sends your letters to your home address, the Internet knows how to send the IP address the correct data to the right computer.
When you visit a specific website using a proxy, your computer first sends a site request that goes through the proxy server, and then it sends your request to the website using its IP address. When the website receives the request, it sends the response back through the proxy server, which eventually sends data to your browser. A proxy is just a computer that has access to the Internet.
When the proxy sends your requests, it can change the data you submit, and you still get the information you expect to see. A proxy can change your IP address, so the server will not know where you are. It can encrypt the data you send, So your data becomes unreadable. A proxy also can block access to specific webpages based on IP addresses.
Why should I use a proxy server?
There are lots of reasons why individuals and organizations use a proxy.
- Parents and organizations can monitor and control their children’s and employees’ Internet use by setting up a proxy server. Many organizations have strict rules about using the Internet. Which pages their employees may visit during working hours, and therefore can configure the proxy to deny their employee’s access to specific web pages, the proxy can also be configured to redirect you to a message on the corporate network notifying you that this is not allowed. It is also possible to monitor employees and log everything on the net, and even if they do not block the web page, they know how long time you are spending surfing the Internet.
- Organizations can also get better overall network performance with a good proxy server. A proxy can cache (store a copy of the web site locally on the server) accessible pages on the Internet. So when you request the server at https://knowuproxy.com, the proxy then checks to see if it is the latest version of the website, and send you the saved copy then. This means that when many employees hit https://knowuproxy.com from the same proxy server, the proxy server simultaneously sends just one request at a time to https://knowuproxy.com.This will reduce both bandwidth and network performance for the organization.
- Both companies and individuals use proxy servers to surf the web much more privately. Some proxies can change the IP address while others are used to identify the info in web requests. In that way, the destination server can’t know who made the request, and This means that the destination server cannot track who made the request; in doing so, it will help to hide your info and online habits on the Internet. That way, the proxy server will help keep your private information and browser habits private using the Internet.
- A proxy server is capable of providing security benefits on top of privacy benefits. A proxy server provides security and privacy benefits. You can configure your proxy server to encrypt all connections online to stop hackers and ISPs from tracking your traffic. You can also prevent having access to known web sites with malicious content through the proxy server. It is also possible for companies to connect their proxy server with a VPN (Virtual Private Network, so employee always has internet access through a company proxy. In this real way, an employee still has internet access through the company’s proxy server. In this way, employees and external users can get direct access to the company’s network by using a VPN. When employees use a Virtual Private Network, the organization can confirm and verify that their employees get access to the right resources such as email and internal data. Besides, it provides a secure encrypted connection to the employees and thereby also protects the company’s data.
- Proxies can also be used to circumvent content restrictions imposed by companies or governments. Some countries hold their citizens in an iron grip and have a keen interest in blocking access to major news media, activists and journalists can bypass these restrictions by logging into a proxy server on the other side of the earth. When using proxies, it looks like they are in America, but in reality, they are in North Korea.
Now that you have a better insight into why different people and organizations are choosing a proxy server to let us learn a little about the risks.Be careful when choosing a proxy server: there are a couple of risks that you must know that can nullify some of the benefits:
Free proxy server and the risks
- A free proxy is almost always set up by mistake when it was configured and created. Some have tried to set up a network or set up a proxy server, but they did it wrong, and now their server is an open proxy. There are lots of people scraping the Internet to look for these misconfigured servers, and they do this by using a piece of software that scans IP addresses on the Internet for open ports that the proxy server usually uses.
Free proxies don’t last very long, and they can last anywhere from minutes to hours before they are fixed. Some live longer than others but are usually quickly banned by most search engines and pages and then are useless to most people. The majority of the use of free proxies is for an illegal purpose, such as hacking and DDOS attacks.
- There is a high risk associated with making use of the many free services, Making use of the free ones can be extremely risky. Also, those who make their money using ad-based revenue models.
- Free could be a sign that not enough money has been spent on encryption and hardware. There might also be issues with performance and data security. If you’d like to use a free of charge proxy server, You should be very careful. Some of them might be set up to steal your credit card info.
- If you are using a proxy server without encryption, it makes no sense to use a proxy server. In case the connection is not encrypted, this means that you send your requests in simple text. Anyone monitoring the connection could see account information, usernames, and passwords. Be sure that no matter what proxy server you use, it encrypts your connection completely.
Browsing history log
- It is also possible that the proxy server logs your web requests and IP address locally without encrypting them. It can be a great idea to find out what data your proxy provider is storing and whether they are saving logs and what law enforcement policy they are following.
Are you using the proxy server to stay anonymous, the provider may log and sell your data, and therefore you do not get the expected value for money.
Different types of Proxy Servers
- A transparent proxy does not hide your IP address and therefore does not give you any kind of anonymity. Transparent proxies are often used to improve network speed and access to websites by saving a copy of the called page, and thus the user has faster access to the content of the page. It can also be used by companies and schools to fillet and block access to specific sites such as social media and streaming services; the administrator also can monitor employee activity.
- When your internet connection runs through an anonymous proxy server, it hides your real IP address, but the website you visit will still be able to see that you run through a proxy server. Although the anonymous proxy server identifies itself as a proxy server, there are still some benefits. It protects your privacy on the web and prevents malicious individuals from stealing your sensitive information, as well as preventing targeted ads based on your location.
- Distorting proxy, also called Gateway proxy, is found in one of the middle levels of anonymity. When you use a Distorting proxy server, you can access web pages while your real identity is hidden; however, it will not hide the fact that you are using a proxy server to visit the website. Using an IP address other than your own protects you from malware and targeted marketing, and at the same time, it can bypass web pages blocked in certain countries, offices, and schools.
High Anonymity proxy
- A high anonymous proxy (also called elite proxy) offers you the highest anonymity and the same benefits as anonymous proxies. It does so by hiding all traces of your real IP address, and thereby the website you visit has no idea that you are using a proxy server. High anonymous proxies like the TOR project make it almost entirely impossible to track where and who you are as your connection goes through several servers. Each has a different IP address.