What is a proxy server?
A proxy server is a system that routes traffic between networks or protocols. It is an intermediate server that separates users from websites. Proxy servers provide varying levels of functionality, security, and privacy depending on the use case.
When you use a proxy server, traffic is routed through that server on its way to the address you requested. Then, the request is sent back through the same proxy server, and that proxy server forwards the data it receives from the website to you.
How does it work?
The proxy server has its own IP address, so it acts as an intermediary between your computer and the Internet. Your computer knows this address, and when you send a request on the Internet, it is sent to a proxy server, which then receives a response from the web server and forwards the page data to your computer's browser.
The proxy server acts as a firewall and filter. At the same time, it analyzes the data coming in and out of your computer or network. Then it applies the rules so that you do not have to reveal your digital address to the whole world, but only the IP address of the proxy server is visible. Without your personal IP address, people on the Internet can access your data directly.
When installed, web requests are sent to a proxy server, which then connects and retrieves what you want from the Internet. If the server has encryption capabilities, passwords and other personal data get an extra level of protection.
Types of proxy servers
There are different types of proxy servers, and each of them has its own unique capabilities. The following list describes only some of them.
Transparent Proxy Server
The advantage of a transparent proxy server is that it ensures a smooth interaction with the user. This type is ideal for companies that want to use a proxy but at the same time do not want to inform their employees.
Anonymous proxy server
The main feature of an anonymous proxy server is that it makes internet activity untraceable. It accesses the Internet on behalf of the user and hides their identity and information about the computer.
Such a proxy server is best suited for users who want to remain completely anonymous when accessing the Internet. Although anonymous proxy servers offer the best protection for personal information, they are not without their drawbacks.
High anonymity proxy server
A high anonymity proxy server is a proxy server that further increases your anonymity. It deletes your data before the proxy attempts to connect to the destination site.
This type of proxy is best suited for users for whom anonymity is an absolute necessity, such as employees who do not want their activities tracked within the company. On the other hand, some of them, especially the free ones, are decoys designed to trap users in order to get their personal information or data.
Distorting proxy server
The distorting proxy server disguises itself as the website's proxy server. It does this by changing its IP address to a false one.
Distorting proxy servers are a good choice for those who want to hide their location when they go online. This type of proxy server can make it appear that you are visiting websites from a specific country. However, some websites automatically block distorting proxy servers, which can prevent the end user from accessing the correct websites.
Proxy VS. VPN
At first glance, proxy servers and VPNs may seem interchangeable because they route requests through an external server. Both also allow you to access websites that may be blocked in your country. VPN offers greater anonymity as all traffic usually goes through the VPN server and individual protocols go through the proxy server.