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What is a proxy server? Why and when to use one?

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  • 3 min read

It’s not often people stop considering the actual ways in which the internet works. The problem with that is the obvious risk of data security infringements and identity fraud that comes along with cute animal pictures, 24-hour mainstream media updates, and useful web deals.

Blocked out of a website or an app due to your geolocation? Or has your school/college blocked several sites from being accessed via their connection’s IP? A proxy server is an answer to your problems.

A proxy server can serve as a gateway between you and the internet. It is a server that separates end users from websites they navigate. Depending on your use case, requirements or corporate policy, proxy servers provide different levels of usability, security, and privacy.

If you use a proxy server, the traffic on the proxy server flows to your requested address. This request is then sent back via the same proxy server, and the proxy server then transmits to you the data gathered on this website.

Why bother with a proxy server if this is all it is used for? Why not just go straight back and forth from the website?

Advanced proxy servers do much more than forwarding web orders as they also help in data security and network performance. Proxy servers function as a firewall and web filter, offer mutual and shared network connections and optimise data to accelerate web requests.

A good proxy server protects the internet and its users against malicious things such as malware, virus, ransomware or phishing on the web. Finally, a high level of privacy is possible for proxy servers.

Also read: Should you also be taping your webcam?

How does a Proxy Server work?

A distinctive Internet Protocol (IP) address is necessary for each computer on the internet. Consider this IP address as the physical address of your computer. The internet knows how to send correct data by IP address to the right equipment.

In principle, a proxy server is a computer with your IP address on the Internet that your computer recognises. When a web request is sent, it is first sent to the proxy server. Then your proxy server requests on your behalf and returns the reply from the web server — providing you with the web page data to view it on your browser.

If the proxy server transmits your internet requests, the data you submit can be modified and the information you are expecting to see will still be provided.

You can alter your IP address with a proxy server so that the internet server does not learn where precisely you are located. It can encrypt your information in operation so that it can never be read. And finally, a proxy server can prevent IP address based access to specific internet sites.

Why and when should you use a Proxy Server?

There are many reasons to use a Proxy Server of which some are listed below:

  • Control internet usage of employees or children.
  • Privacy advantages.
  • Improved safety and security from the web.
  • Bandwidth savings and accelerated speeds.
  • Access to blocked websites due to location barriers.

Also read: What is DNA cache poisoning? How to protect your PC?

Rajiv Kulkarni

Rajiv Kulkarni