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What is a Proxy Server?

proxy server

A proxy server is also referred to as an application-level gateway. Many organizations and individuals use proxy servers in order to secure Internet usage. You can think of them as middlemen or simply filters that act as a protective layer between you and the web address that you request.

One would call it an intermediary because when you employ the use of a proxy server, all of your Internet traffic flows through it before it reaches the said destination (the website you wish to visit). The returning traffic will reach you after passing through a proxy server as well. This allows the proxy to keep a check on what is entering as well as leaving your network. Hence, ensuring that the users get a safe as well as fast browsing experience. Cox Internet and the like may provide you with fast speed Internet, but a proxy speeds up browsing during Internet downtime.

Proxy Server and Protection

Not all proxies offer the same level of security or functions. The variety of proxies available also offer a varying level of privacy, functionality as well as security. All of this depends on your need and use apart from the company policy if you are an organization that is using a proxy. Many people wonder why to employ the use of a proxy server if it just regulates the traffic.

The modern-day proxy servers do not just act as an intermediary forwarding web request alone. Instead, they act as a web filter and a firewall. Apart from that, the recent proxies are capable of caching data so as to speed up the requests apart from providing shared network connections.

If you employ the use of a good proxy, it will also protect you from all the bad stuff that is present on the Internet. Not to forget the ultra-high level of privacy that a proxy can provide.

How does a Proxy Work?

You must be clear about the role of proxy by now. Let’s delve into how a proxy actually operates. If you have Internet access, you for sure have an IP address or Internet Protocol Address. Your cable Internet providers assign you with IP addresses. You can think of an IP address as a street address. Only that this address gets assigned to your computer and gives it a unique location on the web. This unique location then allows you to receive and send information online.

Whether you subscribe to FiOS Internet or any other provider, your computer will get an IP address. The only problem with an IP address is that it is easily trackable. Your physical address also becomes trackable with the use of an IP address for people who know how to do so.

This is when proxies come into play. A proxy server is capable of hiding the IP addresses. This allows the users to maintain a level of privacy by securing their network data as well as Internet location. So, if you happen to go online after using a proxy server, the request that you make will go through the proxy server first. A proxy server will modify the IP address before it reaches the requested website. In this way, the users’ exact location never gets revealed.

Proxy Server and Encryption of Data

Apart from modifying your IP address, proxies also encrypt your data. If you make use of a proxy, you can also use the service of encryption of data. The encryption takes both ways when sending and receiving data from the requested website. This keeps the hackers away from committing any form of illegal practice or mischief. As the encryption acts as a shielding layer.

In case you want to add an additional security layer, you can ask your Internet service providing company if it offers antivirus services with its Internet package. Some services like Optimum Internet do.

By now, you have learned a lot of proxy servers and how they protect you from hackers. Now, let’s get a little education about how to choose a proxy server.

Which Proxy Server to Choose?

Having established that proxies are the best way to secure your IP, keep the following tips in mind to choose the best available proxy for yourself.

1. Your Coverage

Be sure of your coverage or choose your coverage before you select a proxy for yourself. As mentioned above, not all proxies offer the same level of privacy. For example, if you choose a transparent proxy for yourself, it will reveal your IP address. However, it can filter the restricted content from the web for you. In contrast, if you choose a high anonymity proxy, you will enjoy the service of a substituted IP address apart from the filtering of content.

2. Avoid Free Proxy Servers

When it comes to computer programs and software, higher-end products are always the best. Although they are hefty on the pocket, the pricey products help ensure that you are safe from any online attacks by hackers. Therefore, avoid opting for free proxy servers. The option might tempt you but you will suffer in the long-run.

Free proxies can lead to you facing privacy issues later. To protect t yourself from any such inconvenience, opt for a paid proxy server. Opt for a server that offers the facility of encryption, in particular.

3. Check the Policies

You cannot hide your IP address from the proxy server. Therefore, you should have a look at the privacy policy of the proxy server that you are opting for. See if the server encrypts your data or not and whether the server saves your data as well. The last thing you would want is your server scamming you, having access to your data and getting you into trouble.

Just like you check your Internet service provider’s policies along with the cost of the Internet and other contracts that you may have to sign, make an effort to check the policies that your proxy server holds as well.

Types of Proxies

As mentioned earlier, there are various types of proxies available. The following are the types that you can choose to subscribe to.

1. Transparent Proxy

This type of proxy server does not hide your IP address.

2. Anonymous Proxy

Your IP address will not be passed on to the website you have requested to visit under this type of proxy.

3. Distorting Proxy

This form of proxy will pass on an incorrect IP on your behalf to the website you requested information from.

4. High Anonymity Proxy

This form of proxy keeps your proxy server as well as your IP address a secret. It just passes on a random IP address to the website.

Why Use a Proxy Server?

The main reason that you would want to use a proxy server is to hide your identity (IP address) to protect yourself against hackers. However, the following is the list of all the reasons you would want to purchase a proxy server.

1. Privacy and Security

First things first, privacy is the foremost reason for which you would want to use a proxy. This holds true in the case of large organizations that have tons of crucial data that they cannot afford to lose. In fact, one of the important components of firewalls often is proxies.

2. Improved Network Performance

When you visit a website, the proxy will cache a temporary copy of that. This will allow you to have quick access to that website if you visit it anytime in the future. This helps to provide users with a better network experience than before. Also, it improves the bandwidth.

You can take the Cox Internet speed test or any network’s speed test that you have subscribed to. However, proxy providing a speedy online experience has nothing to do with your Internet’s speed.

3. Organizational Monitoring

Proxy servers are very beneficial for organizations including schools. It helps them to monitor the types of websites that the students or employees are visiting. Companies often keep employees from accessing social media websites as they can affect the productivity of an employee.

Bad news for the employees here is that proxy servers are also capable of monitoring the time that an employee spends on a particular site. So, be careful the next time you spend hours scrolling down memes.

4. Circumventing Restrictions

Proxies also allow users to put a restriction on Internet users. However, users can also use a proxy server to side-step any network restriction. For example, if you are unable to access a website from your country, using a proxy will always come in handy. Hence, allowing you to use the Internet freely.

You can search online for the proxies that you should consider purchasing. As long as Internet service providing company is concerned, you can opt for Spectrum. Spectrum Internet comes with a security suite and anti-viruses. Hence, adding an extra protection layer.

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