Anytime a user connects to the internet, whether it be through their computer or mobile phone, that device will use an IP address. Akin to your personal home address, an IP address will serve as a guideline that tells incoming data where to go and provides outgoing data with an address that devices can authenticate. This means that any online website you visit or web application you utilize will be able to see your IP address.
What Is A Proxy Server and How Does It Work?
A proxy server acts as an intermediary between your device and the internet. Instead of your device sending internet traffic directly towards a website, it would have to first go through the proxy server before it’s sent. When you receive the internet traffic back, it will then have to go through the proxy server again. This makes it so that any website or application will only be able to see the IP address of the proxy server and your own IP address will be hidden.
As all of your web requests will be handled by the proxy server, it can make changes to your requested data. This doesn’t mean that all of your data will then become different though, as you will still be able to view the data that you requested. The only ones affected by this are web servers as they won’t be able to see your actual IP address as they can only view the proxy server’s IP address, which it has millions of.
Benefits Of A Proxy Server and Why You Should Use It
There are multiple benefits when using a proxy server:
Enhanced privacy and security. Through a proxy server, you will be able to browse the internet with full privacy and also increase your security. Servers will not be able to discern where your web requests come from and malware sites or people with malicious intent will not be able to access your personal information through your IP address. You will have a secure connection and your browsing habits will remain private.
Better network performance. An excellent proxy provider will have proxy locations all over the world. This means that you can connect to a proxy server that will have a close physical distance to a specific server. For example, you can connect to a proxy server that’s close to Youtube’s server and you will gain an improved internet connection. This is particularly helpful to gamers as their ping and in-game latency will be minimized.
Access to geo-restricted resources. As you can freely change your location to anywhere you want in the world, you will be able to gain access to content that’s restricted only to certain locations. The biggest examples of this would be Netflix or Hulu as both shows limited content to countries due to copyright. If there’s a show you want to watch but it’s only available in the United Kingdom, then you can use a proxy server to change your location to the UK even though you actually live in another country.
Control Of Internet Usage. Organizations like companies or schools can use a proxy server to both control and monitor how the internet is being used. They can utilize it to block certain websites from being accessed or see how users are making use of the internet.
Avoid bans when using automation tools. Websites don’t like it when you use automation tools like bots or web scrapers on their site because those tools send hundreds or thousands of requests that may slow the server down. So if they detect that you’re using an automation tool, they would immediately ban your account and may even blacklist your IP address from accessing the website again. A proxy server will let you avoid this from happening.
What Are The Different Types Of Proxy Servers?
There are several types of proxy servers, each having its own unique feature. These types are:
Datacenter Proxies - These types of proxies are provided by a secondary corporation and are not affiliated with an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Your requests will be routed towards a physical data center, hence its name. Datacenter proxies are suited for users that want fast response times while also being a cheap option. The downside to it being fast and cheap though, is that it doesn’t offer the highest protection to the user’s privacy and security.
Residential Proxies - The most reliable type of proxies because it uses actual residential IP addresses from real devices around the world. This makes the user seem like a genuine user from the location of the proxy server that they chose. Residential proxies are best suited for users that want to do more advanced tasks like verifying ads, avoiding bans when using a bot, and blocking cookies. The only downside to using residential proxies is that they cost a hefty amount of money more compared to other types of proxies.
Public Proxies - Also known as free proxies, public proxies are the most accessible types of proxies as they can be acquired for free by anyone looking to use it. It’s not recommended to use public proxies as they are unreliable and have a high chance of your information being accessed by people with malicious intentions. These types of proxies are only suited for users that don’t have any extra money to spend and are not concerned about security or speed.
Shared Proxies - As its name suggests, shared proxies are proxies that are being shared by multiple users at the same time. They have the benefits of a regular proxy while costing a lot less money. Depending on the number of users, your connection speed may be significantly affected and the actions of another user may cause the proxy to be banned on a certain website.
Forward Proxies - These types of proxies are used to send specific data towards various groups of users that are within a network. It’s in front of clients and examines any incoming request to decide if it should connect with it or not. Forward proxies allow for administrative control on the network and also enhances its security.
Reverse Proxies - As forward proxies are in front of clients, reverse proxies are in front of web servers. These types of proxies forward requests from web browsers to web servers. Reverse proxies are helpful in reducing the bandwidth load of an organization but may expose the organization’s network architecture when it’s being cyber attacked.
Anonymous Proxies - Anonymous proxies are proxies that make your internet activity fully private. Your online identity and computer data will be completely hidden to anyone looking to access it. Anonymous proxies provide the best personal protection when browsing the internet.
Transparent Proxies - These types of proxies work as if you are working on your personal computer. Your experience would be the same as if you weren’t using a proxy, that’s why these proxies are sometimes utilized without you knowing it. Transparent proxies provide a seamless proxy experience but may give you more susceptibility to specific cyber attacks.
Rotating Proxies - Rotating proxies work by assigning a different IP address on a given time interval. You may use a certain IP address currently but after 10 seconds have passed, you would have another different IP address. Rotating proxies are ideal if you want to do advanced tasks like web scraping or sneaker botting as it will prevent you from getting banned by websites.
SSL Proxies - Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) proxies work by encrypting data between the client and the server and both will not be able to detect its existence. It’s extremely helpful for you if you want an upgraded protection against cyber threats and even helps your website boost its search engine rankings.
Are Proxies Safe To Use?
Whether for personal or work reasons, proxies are completely safe to use as long as you get them from a trustworthy proxy provider. Proxies are the embodiment of a service where you get what you pay for. When you buy proxies from reputable sellers then you are more than likely getting reliable proxies that will work. If you use free proxies, then your personal information might get stolen and the proxies may not even work. SO, it’s always best to buy your proxies from a proxy provider you can trust.
How can you set up a proxy server?
Configuring a proxy server is fairly simple but it does depend on what web application or system you want to set it on as for each application, you need to configure the proxy server separately. For example, if you want to set up a proxy server for your operating system, here’s how to do it for Windows or Mac. If you want to see more, you can visit our blog page and see how to apply a proxy server to separate applications or websites.
All in all, a proxy server is something beneficial to have. It has many advantages and is especially useful when doing advanced tasks like web scraping. There are also various different types of proxy servers and what you need to use would be based on what you want to use it for and how much you’re willing to pay. If you want to use a web scraping tool to extract huge volumes of data from a website, then you would use rotating proxies. It’s simple to set up and you would get what you pay for.