The inherent dangers of identity theft and data security breaches go hand in hand with our activities on the internet. Most of us don’t give much thought to how the nuts and bolts of the internet really work. But some people do consider these things because our seemingly harmless online activities can easily invite security breaches.
If you are tech-savvy, chances are that you use a VPN or a proxy server online at your home and office. That’s what most people do to safeguard their privacy and security. To ensure secure internet usage, consider using a proxy server. They can help is securing individuals, computer labs in schools, and huge office networks. Let’s know more about how it functions.
How Does a Proxy Server Work?
Also known as application-level gateway or proxy, a proxy server is a middleman, gateway, or a filter between you and the web addresses you request. While using a proxy, all the internet traffic on your system flows through it prior to completing the command. When the traffic returns, it will again flow through the said server on its way back.
With this drill, the proxy monitors the data that enters and exits your network. It ensures a safe and fast online experience for the users.
How Does a Proxy Function?
Your ISP provides you internet access or an IP (Internet Protocol) address. Just like a street address, your computer acquires a unique location on the World Wide Web with this IP address. It allows you to send/receive info online.
These online interactions can, unfortunately, make it effortless for hackers and cybercriminals to track your IP as well as a physical address. That’s exactly where the role of proxy servers come. Proxy servers conveniently hide your IP address. You can keep your location hidden and have a secure network.
With an intact Internet safety, when you go online and search for a page, your request will be essentially filtered via a proxy server. They change the IP address before sending the requests of users on the way. This ensures that the receiving server will not know the exact location of the sender.
Proxies also ensure data encryption to keep it secure throughout the web. When the requested data comes back from the cyberspace, the proxy will again intercept it before handing it back to you. This entire line of contact is indirect and hence tricky for hackers to figure out your location or data.
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Different Types of Proxy Servers
There are four different types of proxy servers:
- Transparent proxy.
- Anonymous proxy.
- High Anonymity proxy.
- Distorting proxy.
Choosing a Proxy Server
There are hundreds of proxy servers online. They are the mandatory first steps to ensuring foolproof security and a safe network. Let’s enlighten you about the steps to choose the right proxy for yourself.
Choose the Coverage
Different types of proxies offer varying privacy levels to its users. Take the instance of a transparent proxy. It reveals the IP address but filters out the restricted content. There’s another type of proxy server called high anonymity proxy. It alters your IP address and gives a substitute. With this type of proxy, your data is very hard to track.
Based on these facts, you have to choose the type of proxy according to your needs and preferences. Consider relevant facts. For instance, whether you are going to use it for your home Wi-Fi or an official network. Also, consider the confidentiality level of the data that you are dealing with.
Know about the offered features of various types of proxy servers and pick the one that suits you the best.
Don’t Fall for the “Free” Proxies
If you talk about high-end programs, software, and services, they will always cost more than their basic/free counterparts will. Free proxies do not ensure reliable security solutions. They can eventually lead to privacy concerns. Therefore, whilst choosing the proxy server for yourself, don’t be stingy.
Moreover, you should particularly avoid proxies, which do not ensure data encryption. Know that unencrypted data and web requests are easy targets for hackers.
Skim through the Policies
This is clear by now that a proxy needs to know the IP address in order to hide it. It also knows all the info about your web requests. Therefore, make sure that you go through the privacy policies of your chosen proxy.
Also, skim through the terms and conditions. Be well-aware of how is the proxy in consideration dealing with your data. Is it going to encrypt and save it? Read everything. Don’t fall a victim to a server that makes your position more vulnerable. You don’t want to be scammed into losing your privacy and sharing your info.
Reasons for Using a Proxy Server
The reasons vary from individual to individual. Parents may need to use a proxy server to be able to monitor their children’s online activities. Businesses want to use it to avoid attempts of cyberattacks. They don’t want their web requests, confidential data, and Zoom video meetings to be leaked.
Take a look at the following benefits common for every user:
Privacy and Security
This is perhaps the first and foremost reason for leveraging proxy servers. It enhances security and privacy especially for organizations with huge networks. These servers keep unwanted intrusions at bay. Often, proxies are essential components of firewalls. Both firewalls and proxies protect networks from a range of threats online.
Enhanced Network Performance
Using a proxy server ensures an enhanced network experience and improved bandwidth. When users visit websites, the proxies save/cache temporary copies of those sites. This allows them to provide quicker access in the future upon visiting those sites again. The proxy is able to pull the cached copy of the visited site and offers it to the browser efficiently and quickly.
You can apply restrictions using proxies. At the same time, you can even side-step any network restrictions with the help of a proxy. If you have traveled abroad and faced trouble accessing a site from your country using in-flight Wi-Fi or a hotel Wi-Fi, a proxy can help you there.
Some countries tend to restrict certain content and sites for their citizens. Proxy servers allow you to use the internet freely by sidestepping those restrictions.
Bigger setups like schools and businesses can easily control and monitor the visited sites on their networks. Thanks to the proxy servers. For instance, if they want to restrict social media or gaming to their employees or students, proxies can help them.
Proxy servers allow the management to log every web request. Therefore, know that someone knows the time you spend watching videos on YouTube and looking at memes.