A proxy or proxy server acts as an intermediary between users and resources on the internet. When using a proxy, the user’s request is first processed through the proxy server and then connected to the visited website to make the initial request. Using a proxy will allow the user’s real IP address to be hidden.
We use the internet everywhere we can to satisfy our wants and needs. However, like many people, we often overlook instructions and how the internet works. Then maybe one day, hearing something about data leaks, VPN services, torrent sharing, proxies, proxy servers and phrases like that pops up in everyone’s head the question of how the internet works. What is a Proxy? Why use Proxy?
What is a Proxy?
A proxy acts as an intermediary between you and the internet. When you use a proxy server, your request will go through the proxy server first (which will change your IP address) and then connect to the website.
Each proxy has its own IP address, when your request is processed through the proxy server, it simply communicates with the internet on your behalf using its IP address and does not reveal your IP address.
This article is intended to explain the question of what a proxy is, but to better understand the term and its uses, we’ll need to dig a little deeper.
What happens when we browse the web?
Each computer or device that joins the internet has its own Internet Protocol (IP) address. This IP address is assigned by the network provider (Internet Service Providers or ISP). IP addresses are designed to communicate with other online resources.
As you probably already know, every time you access the internet, your browsing history is tracked by your internet service provider (ISP) or the website you visit. It was the IP address that allowed them to pinpoint your online activities. What’s more, your IP address allows websites to determine where you are.
Today, people are starting to understand that their personal data is becoming a commodity for sale. However, it is not acceptable to reveal the location or information of internet activity being sold to many people.
Fortunately, there are many ways to hide your tracks when joining the internet, such as VPNs, Tor browsers, and proxies – also known as proxy servers.
Why use Proxy?
There are many reasons why individuals and organizations use proxies.
First, for general internet users, proxies are useful for anonymous browsing needs. In addition to privacy, proxy servers also improve security by encrypting requests before sending them out.
Furthermore, proxies help users access geographically blocked websites, even if your real IP address doesn’t have access.
At the enterprise level and the benefits mentioned above, proxies also help businesses monitor internet usage within the organization.
Most people assume that proxies slow down internet speed, which is not always the case. The proxy server can speed up and save bandwidth by compressing traffic, caching files and websites visited by many users, and removing ads from websites. This frees up bandwidth and improves internet speed.
Why not use Proxy?
Remember that it is very likely that the organization where you work, the internet provider, will object to your use of a proxy. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. And in some cases, websites will blacklist the IP addresses they suspect or know are from the proxy.
Common types of proxies:
- Transparent Proxy: This type of proxy does not mask your IP address, so it is only used to cache web pages.
- Anonymous Proxy: It will identify itself as a proxy, but will not give your real IP address to websites.
- High Anonymity proxy: This type of proxy server does not allow websites to discover your IP and websites cannot detect it as a proxy.
- Distorting Proxy: This proxy can generate a fake IP address for you if websites detect it as a proxy.
- Reverse Proxy: A proxy server behind a firewall in a private network that directs the client to an appropriate backend server.
How to use proxy
Direct: The simplest way to use a free proxy is to go to the proxy site or hidemyass, enter the website you want to visit and hit connect. However, this way of accessing is often limited in terms of speed.
Install browser extension: Installing a proxy extension on the browser is very convenient to use. The downside is that you can’t choose a connection location and sometimes lose an internet connection.
Manual proxy configuration: First, you need to find the list of IP addresses of free or paid proxies here to choose from, pay attention to the country column to choose the IP location and the newer the last checked, the better, the higher the proxy’s activity. After you have found the IP you like, for Firefox > Preferences > General > Networking > Settings > Manual proxy configuration > Copy the found IP and Port > check Use this proxy server for all protocals > Ok. For Chrome, do the same.
To check if the proxy is working or not, type “What is my IP” into the Google search box, if your IP has changed or is the same as the self-configured IP, it means it was successful.
Here, you can see that your IP address is 184.108.40.206, which is the same as the IP address you configured yourself for Firefox above.