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What Is A Proxy Server And How Does It Work?

The truth about proxies, anonymity and security :

The Internet may be the most free open media of them all, but even in it there are ways to censor content. If you’re lucky enough to be born and raised in a country that doesn’t censor as many things, and  values personal information, you probably won’t have such a strong necessity for a proxy. However, in certain countries, governments black list so much sites, proxies become the only way you can get valuable information or protect your anonymity.  There are many other uses for proxies as well, but we’ll list them below, after we discuss some of the other basics. 

what is proxy-server

How do proxies work ?

When you load a website into your browser, there are things that happen “behind the scenes” – your browser sends a request to the  site’s server, to provide the page you’re loading and its contents. HTML code and pictures , as well as other sorts of data are procured by the browser downloading them from the server, after a request.  Your browser (as well as your computer in general) identifies itself with an IP address.

So here’s where the proxy comes into action. When you use a proxy, your browser doesn’t load anything from the website’s server. Instead, it provides the URL to the proxy, and it downloads it and then sends it to you.  This way, you remain hidden from the website’s server, it only sees the IP address of the proxy you’re using. The uses for proxies are numerous, and they will be explained in the paragraph below.

Practical uses of proxies :

What makes proxies so practical that they’re used by SEOs, regular users and hackers alike? It can be boiled down to the necessity to use a different IP address to identify to the world. That way, to any system you’re using, you’re not showing yourself , but your proxy.  So where is that used ?

  • Proxies are used to avoid geo-IP based lockdowns.  The most practical example of this can be seen if you want to load certain songs on Youtube’s VEVO, and it says “Sorry , this video isn’t available in your country”.  The site uses your IP to determine which country you’re in, and limits your rights based on it. Now what if you were to use a proxy located in a country, which is allowed to see that video ? It would work perfectly.
  • It’s more secure to use a proxy, if you’re sure you’re being tracked. There is malicious content everywhere and proxies can be set to cache the content and have it scanned before it’s sent to you. That way even the most harmful things cannot reach you.
  • Proxy sites used to unblock Facebook, Gmail, YouTube or any other sites.
  • If your country has blacklisted nearly all of the biggest sites on the Internet, it’s good to use a proxy from an external location. That way you’ll see what the proxy can see, and you’ll have the access to lots of resources which would normally be blocked for you.

As crude an example as it may be, think of your proxy as a fake ID card. It can represent you to third parties who don’t have an idea who you are, and to them , you’re whatever’s on the ID.

How do I use a proxy?

It depends on the program you want to use it for. Is it your web browser ? Is it your chat client program? Nearly any well-made program that uses the Internet has an option included for proxies. However , you’d have to set up the proxy you’re going to use by yourself.

As for the financial side of it, there are free proxies and paid proxies. And sadly , it’s very difficult to find a responsive and fast free proxy, so if you seriously need to use a proxy for more than loading just one page, you might consider paying for it. Prices vary, but for just one single proxy, it might be stunningly cheap, unless of course you want it to be in a particular city of a particular country, where it gets really expensive.

All in all , usage of proxies is guaranteed to make your life easier, should you need more security and anonymity. That is what proxies are all about.


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Ajinkya Thete is passionate Blogger,a self-taught web developer and a person who is always looking for innovation.

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