Sunday, June 26, 2022

What is a Proxy Server and How Does it Work?

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Do you know what a proxy server is and how it works? Understanding the proxy server will help you to keep your browser safe and secure from hackers. It will also protect your device from malware and virus attacks. 

Have you ever used a proxy server? Maybe in your school or college, you have used it. But do you know what proxy servers are and how they work? In this article, I will explain the things that you need to know about a proxy server.

What is a Proxy Server?

A proxy server is the intermediary between you and the internet. That means proxies are the bridge between your browser and the web server. Usually, your browser connects to the server directly when you surf something on the internet. On the other hand, a proxy server communicates on your behalf with the web server by hiding your IP address. 

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When you use a proxy server, you don’t directly send requests to the web server. Your browser connects to the proxy first then the proxy forwards the request to the web server. That’s why proxies are popular as forwarding proxies. The proxy server then receives the response from the website and sends it back to your browser. So, 

Now, let’s look at the functions; a proxy server offers you. 

Function of a Proxy Server?

Being an intermediary on the internet, a proxy server provides you many functionalities. Here are some useful roles that a proxy server plays in securing your browser. 

Content Filters:

You may have known about this earlier in your school, or college, or workplace. Typically, the IT team of a school or a company set up proxy servers to prevent the students or employees from accessing some particular websites. 

Firewalls:

A firewall is a security system that prevents unauthorized access to the network. A proxy server can help you to host a firewall between a network and the internet. So, proxies also help you to prevent your network from unauthorized access. 

Caching:

Caching is another significant function of a proxy server. It stores frequently accessed data temporarily so that you can access it quickly in the future. It reduces the latency by caching websites that you visit frequently. 

Security:

security
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Along with hosting firewalls, it also secures your IP address behind the proxy server’s network. The users in the proxy’s network remain anonymous that makes hackers difficult to access the devices of the users. So, a proxy server also offers security to the users in a network. 

Internet Connection Sharing: Another potential use case of a proxy server is it allows you to connect multiple devices to a single internet connection. Although you can use the shared connection with proxy servers, a Wi-Fi router can also be an alternative solution. 

Now that you have learned about the functionalities of a proxy server, let’s know how a proxy server works.

How does Proxy Server Work?

How does Proxy Server Work

In the internet, every device and software comes under two categories; either a client or a server. Your web browser is a client that requests data from a server. When you are searching for something on the internet, you are sending requests to the servers of any website. 

Then the web server sends the requested data to your browser. Your computer directly connects to the server without a proxy. So, the web server can directly communicate with your browser. However, when you use a proxy server, it conceals the IP address of your computer. So, the web server only communicates to the proxy and the proxy server provides the data to your browser. 

Types of Proxy Servers

There are different types of proxy servers. You can choose the type of server you need according to your requirement. 

Transparent Proxy Server:

These types of proxy servers do not hide your IP address. They are suitable for content filtering but do not provide security and privacy.

Anonymous Proxy Server:

An anonymous proxy server hides your IP address from the server. However, they don’t provide very high protection like a VPN. 

High-Anonymity Proxy Server:

These types of proxies provide high protection and security by changing new IP addresses periodically. However, these proxies come with high pricing options. 

Proxy Server vs. VPN

Proxy Server vs. VPN

Although proxy and VPN act as an intermediary between you and the web server, they are not the same. A proxy server only forwards your request to the web server, but a virtual private network (VPN) encrypts all your data communication between you and a website. 

Both proxy server and VPN server have the primary function to act as a boundary between you and a website.  However, each of them has potential benefits and some drawbacks. So, you can learn more about a VPN server before you choose any of these two according to your requirement. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, the above information has given you some insights into a proxy server. Whether you are an individual or you have an organization, you may need a proxy server at some point. So, leverage this guide to set up your proxy server and hide your IP address from potential hackers. If you have any queries, please share them in the comments section. 

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