What Are Proxies? A Guide To What Proxies Are And How They Work

Data breaches, leaks and online anonymity are becoming more of a concern to businesses and individuals alike. This is why people are looking for ways to protect themselves online, which is where proxy services come in. But what are proxies? And how do they work?

In this article, we’ll be exploring what proxies are and how they work. We’ll also be looking at some of the benefits of using proxies. Keep reading to discover how useful a reliable proxy can be and the advantages of using one.

We’ll be covering the following topics on proxies:

  • What is a proxy?
  • How do proxies work?
  • What are the benefits of using a proxy?

What Is A Proxy?

A proxy or proxy server is a web application that receives and transmits requests for information from other resources. This system or router creates a private gateway between the user and the internet, similar to a middleman. So instead of your request going directly to the website server, it first goes to the proxy server. From that point, your request gets forwarded to the website server under a new IP address to add more security and anonymity to your browsing.

Common Types Of Proxies

There are many different types of proxy services available. Choosing the right one depends on what you need from the service. A few of the more common proxies include:

  • Residential proxy – these have real IP addresses linked to existing devices; they rarely get banned
  • Datacenter proxy – these have randomly generated IPs; they are fast to use
  • Forward proxy – sits in front of the client’s IP, works well for internal networks
  • Transparent proxy – they’re connected without all the users being aware of them, ideal for added security within company networks
  • Anonymous proxy – makes internet activity untraceable
  • Public proxies – also known as free proxies, contain many risks for users
  • Shared proxy – used by more than one user simultaneously, good value for money if you only want to browse anonymously
  • Rotating proxy – assigns different IPs to each user or request made

How Do Proxies Work?

Proxies work by facilitating web requests and responses. Without a proxy service, users would access a website by sending a direct request to that website’s server, which then returns the content to the user. Although this process is straightforward, users aren’t always aware of the number of information websites see from this interaction. Just by making the request, the website can see your IP address, and from there, they can see your other personal details, such as your name, address, OS, and devices and can also gain access to your address and track your browsing. 

A proxy acts as the middleman, and requests go to the proxy first and are then redirected to the host website’s server using one of the IPs from their pool instead of the user’s real IP. Allocating a different IP to a user can protect the user from being tracked and unknowingly sharing their personal details with the website.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Proxy?

There are many reasons why people turn to a proxy service. Let’s examine some of the most popular benefits of using a proxy.

Enhanced Security

Proxies can enhance your security efforts by acting like a firewall that protects you from directly accessing the internet. Without this, websites and hackers can easily see your IP address, which they can use to track your browsing, collect your data and even use it to infiltrate your computer and network.

Private Browsing

This is one of the most common reasons people use a proxy service. By completely hiding your IP address, websites, ISPs, and other characters online won’t be able to track you or collect your data. This means you won’t receive personalized ads or even IP-specific data. 

Access Geo-Restricted Content

Different countries block or share access to certain websites or web content differently. The most common way to see this is through streaming services like Netflix and Disney+. You’ll see different programs depending on which country you use the service in. By changing your IP to one from different countries, you can access content that’s only available there.

Filter Content

Proxies can also be used to filter specific content on a network. This is ideal for parents or businesses that don’t want users accessing certain websites or platforms. Parents can block access to adult-only content, whereas employers can block access to sites that distract employees.

Improving Computer Performance

While this isn’t one of the main reasons people choose proxies, it’s a bonus benefit. Proxies use their cache, meaning that this information from websites you’ve already visited is stored on their server rather than on your device. As such, it’s not using your computer resources, thus slowing down your system. This benefit is most notable in a workplace setting where many users are accessing the internet at the same time.

Final Thoughts

Proxies are extremely useful tools for individuals and businesses that want to add an extra layer of security to their networks while also ensuring that their browsing is done anonymously. By selecting a reliable proxy service, you can easily connect your proxy to your network and enjoy all the privacy and security benefits.