In a computer network, a proxy server is an application or server device that mediates requests from clients seeking resources to servers providing those resources. A proxy server thus acts on behalf of the client when requesting a service, potentially masking the true origin of the request to the resource server.

Instead of connecting directly to a server that can fulfill the requested resource, such as a file or web page, the client directs the request to the proxy server, which evaluates the request and performs the required network transactions. This serves as a method to simplify or control the complexity of the request or to provide additional benefits such as load balancing, privacy or security. Proxies were developed to add structure and encapsulation to distributed systems.


You may have already heard of proxies and proxy servers. But if you're not completely familiar with them, this article will help you catch up with this web technology and see all the benefits of using proxy servers.

What are web proxies?

A web proxy is a sort of intermediary between a web user and an online resource. During a direct visit to a website, the user sends a web request containing information about themselves (the server or computer they are using, location, browser fingerprint, IP address, etc.) In response to the data sent, the online resource provides the user with the content they requested.

Unlike a direct connection between users and websites, a proxy-based connection provides a gateway for your web request and the data you receive back from the website. Proxies can hide or modify data about your web request and filter website content, preventing you from receiving unwanted information. This also provides anonymous web browsing and data collection from the end user.

Shared proxy

A shared proxy is a public proxy that is easily accessible to anyone. You can generally get shared proxies for free, with no restrictions on the number of users they serve. Such servers are often overloaded by hundreds of Internet users. This slows down your internet connection and often results in huge delays and even crashes.

Using shared proxy servers, you will have to wait for several minutes for a website to load, making it virtually impossible for you to surf the web. Also, browsing the web through these open proxy servers is quite risky as they can be used by providers as a way to collect and steal personal information.

There are also semi-dedicated proxies that have a limited number of users. These are suitable for small groups of people, such as businesses or schools, to create a shared network connection.

Dedicated proxy

A dedicated proxy allows you to use it privately, meaning you are the only person using it. This allows for completely anonymous and secure browsing with fast loading speeds.

How do Proxy Servers work?

Every time you visit a website by clicking on a link or typing a web address manually into your browser, you create and send a web request that is forwarded to a proxy server. The proxy server then modifies and encrypts your data, such as your IP (Internet Protocol) address, and sends it to the web resource.

The website then sends its data back to the proxy server, which processes it before passing the website information. In this way, it acts as a firewall or internet filter so that you only receive the information you want to receive. Now that you have an insight into what's behind the "how does a proxy server work" question, let's take a closer look at what types of proxy servers exist.

Depending on your network and proxy configuration, there can be three different types of proxy servers:

Forward Proxy Server

Forward Proxy Servers are commonly used by internal networks. How does online proxy work when it comes to Forward Proxy Servers? When one client sends a connection request to a particular website, it first has to go through a proxy server that decides whether the client can approach that resource or not. If yes, the connection request goes to the external server, which does not see the IP address of the client, but only sees the connection request sent from the Forward Proxy Server.

The Forward Proxy Server provides full administrative control over connections to the local network. It acts as a shield or firewall that allows administrators to restrict access to unwanted network resources by internal network clients. These types of proxy servers can be found in schools and colleges.

Reverse proxy

Unlike a Forward Proxy Server, a Reverse Proxy Server works on the website (or web service) side by hiding IP addresses on the internal network from external users. The Reverse Proxy Server decides whether or not network users can see the content of the website or use the web service.

In terms of benefits, Reverse Proxy Servers make it very difficult for hackers to attack internal servers. Besides, it acts as a load balancer to disperse data between internal servers, which prevents overloading by tons of connection requests. Proxies of this type are used by ISPs.

Open proxy

Open proxies allow Internet users to both forward requests and receive responses from websites. A key feature of this type of proxy server is that it hides the user's original IP address from the network. Unlike dedicated proxies, open proxies do not require user-side authentication and are susceptible to abuse and malware infections.

Why should you use a proxy server?

Now you have a better understanding of what a proxy server is and how to use a proxy server. But what is a proxy server used for?

If you are wondering whether you should choose a proxy or not, there are many benefits that will convince you to start using one.

More privacy
Proxies can encrypt your data by configuring your IP address so that you can effortlessly hide your real location in order to "scan" your network. This way, the server you send your request to will not know your real IP address and other personal information. This avoids risks such as hacking attempts and identity theft.

Access to any website
In addition to more anonymous browsing, there are other benefits that come along with hiding your IP address. Imagine you want to visit a website that restricts content viewing in your country. In that case, you can change your IP address. This allows you to access virtually any website on the web that has these kinds of restrictions.

Higher security
Since you can keep your data private, your internet connection becomes more secure. You can configure and modify your proxy so that only the information you have access to is visible on the network. Proxies also act as a firewall to protect your device and filter out Internet resources that are likely to contain malware.

Improved performance
Proxy servers can also improve your browsing performance. For example, when you visit a website, it will be saved in the cache of your proxy server. The next time you reach a web page, the proxy server will send a request to the server to look for changes, and if none are detected, it will show you the cached version of the page. In this way, you can reduce the loading time of pages you have already visited. This is especially beneficial for businesses and organizations.

If you want to know more about how a proxy works ask the experts:

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