What Is Proxy? – Features, Types, & Uses
Every user has encountered such a concept as a proxy at least once in his or her life, or rather a proxy server on proxy store, but only a select few, i.e. sysadmins, know what it is and how it can help you surf the web.
A proxy server is an opportunity for unhindered and secure access to content, especially in cases where the provider has blocked access to it. A proxy server is also considered a gateway that ensures the flow of information data simultaneously in both directions: from the user to the network resource.
Why Are Proxies Needed?
A proxy server for proxy store is a good solution for ordinary users for several reasons:
- It replaces the real Ip addresses of a resource with the IP addresses of a proxy server and circumvents restrictions on access to forbidden resources. As a rule, the access speed will be lower than directly, but it is better than nothing at all.
- A proxy hides the user’s true location, allowing you to browse sites anonymously (as with Tor). The only way to get the data about the person who used the proxy is through a local or international court decision (it depends on the location of the user and the intermediary).
- This all takes time, so it is unlikely that anyone would do such a thing. But this does not mean that one can commit illegal actions on the Internet with impunity.
In this case, the administrator of the proxy has the right to transfer the data after the completion of all the formalities on the part of law enforcement agencies.
Many companies restrict employees’ access to social networks and entertainment sites for the duration of work.
When To Use Proxies?
When it is worth using a proxy, other than the desire to hide the IP address:
- Protecting a computer or network from some network attacks, ensuring privacy;
- overcoming restrictions to social networks and entertainment sites in the workplace;
- connection of several computers to the network with only one IP-address;
- desire to save traffic (this can be done by the so-called caching proxy that runs on the computer);
- providing prompt access to information and reducing the load on the Internet channel.
Types Of Proxy Servers
All proxy servers are divided into two big groups – transparent and reverse.
Let’s look briefly at the features of each of them:
- Transparent Proxy. In this scheme traffic is redirected to the proxy server through the router. The main advantage of this type is the possibility to enjoy all the capabilities of a proxy without having to change any settings. But at the same time it deprives users of choice.
- Reverse. This is a proxy, which is needed to balance the network load between servers and to increase the security of the Internet connection.
Here is another addition to this classification;
- HTTP. This is the most versatile and sought-after type of proxy, used for most tasks. HTTP proxies are adapted to work with almost any software. Here is an example of an ipv4 proxy, which you can also buy there.
- Socks. The strange name, which translates from English as “socks,” describes another, not very popular, type of proxy. The point is that only some programs are compatible with it. To use this type of proxy, you need to install additional software in your browser.
- CGI. Also known as anonymizers. Were extremely popular in the zero’s, but have one serious drawback: you can interact with them only through a browser. Other software does not support CGI.
- FTP. This is a type of proxy that is often used in corporate networks and acts as one of the tools of a complex system to protect equipment from external threats.
Proxy servers are most in demand in the corporate segment. It is with their help legal entities go from local networks to online networks.
Such popularity of proxies became possible due to the following advantages:
- they are supported by all modern browsers;
- In any operating system you can be use it;
- increased security of the corporate network due to the lack of access to the Internet in other protocols;
- complete access control, accounting and traffic filtering.
The disadvantage for ordinary users is the need to pay money for usage. But the price is usually several times lower than in the case of buying access to the cheapest VPN. Apart from this you can differentiate between VPN and Proxy to know which one Is better.
Paid And Free Proxy Servers
Proxy server can be both paid and free. What are the differences between the paid variant and the free one, and which type has more advantages? We will answer these questions.
Advantages Of Paid Proxies:
- The ability to independently select a server by suitable characteristics (speed of operation, response time, caching efficiency);
- Stable operation of the server;
Disadvantages Of Paid Proxies:
- Strange as it may seem, the need to pay money for the use;
- Difficulty in creating a chain of proxy servers (relatively expensive);
- Difficulty in switching between different proxy servers;
Advantages Of Free Proxies:
- Complete free of charge;
- Ease of use of several proxies;
- In some cases, free proxies are as good as paid ones;
- Difficulty in tracking when using anonymous proxies;
- Possibility to build a chain of proxies;
Disadvantages Of Free Proxies:
- Frequent failures and sometimes slow operation speed;
- Unsecure for your computer (viruses can catch them);
- Difficulty in finding quality free proxies
The Main Features Of Proxy Servers:
- Accelerating access to the Internet
- Surfing the Internet anonymously
- Ability to visit blocked resources and forums
- Ability to visit sites blocked by the administrator
- Ability to bypass restrictions related to geographic location
- All the advantages, except the first one, we have discussed. Anonymity is possible due to using the IP address of the proxy server, for the same reason you can access blocked sites. But how, you ask, can you speed up access to the Internet? About this we will talk further.
First Of All, The Acceleration Of The Connection To The Internet Is Due To Two Factors:
- Proxy-server is situated closer to you than other sites (if you are visiting foreign sites, then it is recommended to use proxy of your country, if more sites are from your country, then proxy located in your town should be used).
- The proxy server has a quality communication channel (by using a dedicated line or optical fiber).