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Proxy server – Wikipedia
For Wikipedia’s policy on editing from open proxies, please see Wikipedia:Open proxies. For other uses, see Proxy.
Communication between two computers (shown in grey) connected through a third computer (shown in red) which acts as a proxy server. Bob does not know to whom the information is going, which is the reason that proxies can be used to protect privacy.
In computer networking, a proxy server is a server application that acts as an intermediary between a client requesting a resource and the server providing that resource. 
Instead of connecting directly to a server that can fulfill a 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 provide additional benefits such as load balancing, privacy, or security. Proxies were devised to add structure and encapsulation to distributed systems.  A proxy server thus functions on behalf of the client when requesting service, potentially masking the true origin of the request to the resource server.
A proxy server may reside on the user’s local computer, or at any point between the user’s computer and destination servers on the Internet. A proxy server that passes unmodified requests and responses is usually called a gateway or sometimes a tunneling proxy. A forward proxy is an Internet-facing proxy used to retrieve data from a wide range of sources (in most cases anywhere on the Internet). A reverse proxy is usually an internal-facing proxy used as a front-end to control and protect access to a server on a private network. A reverse proxy commonly also performs tasks such as load-balancing, authentication, decryption and caching. 
An open proxy forwarding requests from and to anywhere on the Internet.
An open proxy is a forwarding proxy server that is accessible by any Internet user. In 2008, network security expert Gordon Lyon estimates that “hundreds of thousands” of open proxies are operated on the Internet. 
Anonymous proxy – This server reveals its identity as a proxy server but does not disclose the originating IP address of the client. Although this type of server can be discovered easily, it can be beneficial for some users as it hides the originating IP address.
Transparent proxy – This server not only identifies itself as a proxy server but with the support of HTTP header fields such as X-Forwarded-For, the originating IP address can be retrieved as well. The main benefit of using this type of server is its ability to cache a website for faster retrieval.
A reverse proxy taking requests from the Internet and forwarding them to servers in an internal network. Those making requests connect to the proxy and may not be aware of the internal network.
A reverse proxy (or surrogate) is a proxy server that appears to clients to be an ordinary server. Reverse proxies forward requests to one or more ordinary servers that handle the request. The response from the proxy server is returned as if it came directly from the original server, leaving the client with no knowledge of the original server.  Reverse proxies are installed in the neighborhood of one or more web servers. All traffic coming from the Internet and with a destination of one of the neighborhood’s web servers goes through the proxy server. The use of reverse originates in its counterpart forward proxy since the reverse proxy sits closer to the web server and serves only a restricted set of websites. There are several reasons for installing reverse proxy servers:
Encryption/SSL acceleration: when secure websites are created, the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption is often not done by the web server itself, but by a reverse proxy that is equipped with SSL acceleration hardware. Furthermore, a host can provide a single “SSL proxy” to provide SSL encryption for an arbitrary number of hosts, removing the need for a separate SSL server certificate for each host, with the downside that all hosts behind the SSL proxy have to share a common DNS name or IP address for SSL connections. This problem can partly be overcome by using the SubjectAltName feature of X. 509 certificates.
Load balancing: the reverse proxy can distribute the load to several web servers, each web server serving its own application area. In such a case, the reverse proxy may need to rewrite the URLs in each web page (translation from externally known URLs to the internal locations).
Serve/cache static content: A reverse proxy can offload the web servers by caching static content like pictures and other static graphical content.
Compression: the proxy server can optimize and compress the content to speed up the load time.
Spoon feeding: reduces resource usage caused by slow clients on the web servers by caching the content the web server sent and slowly “spoon feeding” it to the client. This especially benefits dynamically generated pages.
Security: the proxy server is an additional layer of defense and can protect against some OS and web-server-specific attacks. However, it does not provide any protection from attacks against the web application or service itself, which is generally considered the larger threat.
Extranet publishing: a reverse proxy server facing the Internet can be used to communicate to a firewall server internal to an organization, providing extranet access to some functions while keeping the servers behind the firewalls. If used in this way, security measures should be considered to protect the rest of your infrastructure in case this server is compromised, as its web application is exposed to attack from the Internet.
Monitoring and filtering
A content-filtering web proxy server provides administrative control over the content that may be relayed in one or both directions through the proxy. It is commonly used in both commercial and non-commercial organizations (especially schools) to ensure that Internet usage conforms to acceptable use policy.
Content filtering proxy servers will often support user authentication to control web access. It also usually produces logs, either to give detailed information about the URLs accessed by specific users or to monitor bandwidth usage statistics. It may also communicate to daemon-based and/or ICAP-based antivirus software to provide security against virus and other malware by scanning incoming content in real-time before it enters the network.
Many workplaces, schools, and colleges restrict web sites and online services that are accessible and available in their buildings. Governments also censor undesirable content. This is done either with a specialized proxy, called a content filter (both commercial and free products are available), or by using a cache-extension protocol such as ICAP, that allows plug-in extensions to an open caching architecture.
Websites commonly used by students to circumvent filters and access blocked content often include a proxy, from which the user can then access the websites that the filter is trying to block.
Requests may be filtered by several methods, such as a URL or DNS blacklists, URL regex filtering, MIME filtering, or content keyword filtering. Blacklists are often provided and maintained by web-filtering companies, often grouped into categories (pornography, gambling, shopping, social networks, etc.. ).
Assuming the requested URL is acceptable, the content is then fetched by the proxy. At this point, a dynamic filter may be applied on the return path. For example, JPEG files could be blocked based on fleshtone matches, or language filters could dynamically detect unwanted language. If the content is rejected then an HTTP fetch error may be returned to the requester.
Most web filtering companies use an internet-wide crawling robot that assesses the likelihood that content is a certain type. The resultant database is then corrected by manual labor based on complaints or known flaws in the content-matching algorithms.
Some proxies scan outbound content, e. g., for data loss prevention; or scan content for malicious software.
Filtering of encrypted data
Web filtering proxies are not able to peer inside secure sockets HTTP transactions, assuming the chain-of-trust of SSL/TLS (Transport Layer Security) has not been tampered with. The SSL/TLS chain-of-trust relies on trusted root certificate authorities.
In a workplace setting where the client is managed by the organization, devices may be configured to trust a root certificate whose private key is known to the proxy. In such situations, proxy analysis of the contents of an SSL/TLS transaction becomes possible. The proxy is effectively operating a man-in-the-middle attack, allowed by the client’s trust of a root certificate the proxy owns.
Bypassing filters and censorship
If the destination server filters content based on the origin of the request, the use of a proxy can circumvent this filter. For example, a server using IP-based geolocation to restrict its service to a certain country can be accessed using a proxy located in that country to access the service. : 3
Web proxies are the most common means of bypassing government censorship, although no more than 3% of Internet users use any circumvention tools. : 7
Some proxy service providers allow businesses access to their proxy network for rerouting traffic for business intelligence purposes. 
In some cases, users can circumvent proxies which filter using blacklists using services designed to proxy information from a non-blacklisted location. 
Many schools block access to popular websites such as Facebook. Students can use proxy servers to circumvent this security. However, by connecting to proxy servers, they might be opening themselves up to danger by passing sensitive information such as personal photos and passwords through the proxy server. Some content filters block proxy servers in order to keep users from using them to bypass the filter.
Logging and eavesdropping
Proxies can be installed in order to eavesdrop upon the data-flow between client machines and the web. All content sent or accessed – including passwords submitted and cookies used – can be captured and analyzed by the proxy operator. For this reason, passwords to online services (such as webmail and banking) should always be exchanged over a cryptographically secured connection, such as SSL.
By chaining the proxies which do not reveal data about the original requester, it is possible to obfuscate activities from the eyes of the user’s destination. However, more traces will be left on the intermediate hops, which could be used or offered up to trace the user’s activities. If the policies and administrators of these other proxies are unknown, the user may fall victim to a false sense of security just because those details are out of sight and mind.
In what is more of an inconvenience than a risk, proxy users may find themselves being blocked from certain Web sites, as numerous forums and Web sites block IP addresses from proxies known to have spammed or trolled the site. Proxy bouncing can be used to maintain privacy.
A caching proxy server accelerates service requests by retrieving the content saved from a previous request made by the same client or even other clients. Caching proxies keep local copies of frequently requested resources, allowing large organizations to significantly reduce their upstream bandwidth usage and costs, while significantly increasing performance. Most ISPs and large businesses have a caching proxy. Caching proxies were the first kind of proxy server. Web proxies are commonly used to cache web pages from a web server.  Poorly implemented caching proxies can cause problems, such as an inability to use user authentication. 
A proxy that is designed to mitigate specific link related issues or degradation is a Performance Enhancing Proxy (PEPs). These are typically used to improve TCP performance in the presence of high round-trip times or high packet loss (such as wireless or mobile phone networks); or highly asymmetric links featuring very different upload and download rates. PEPs can make more efficient use of the network, for example, by merging TCP ACKs (acknowledgements) or compressing data sent at the application layer. 
A translation proxy is a proxy server that is used to localize a website experience for different markets. Traffic from the global audience is routed through the translation proxy to the source website. As visitors browse the proxied site, requests go back to the source site where pages are rendered. The original language content in the response is replaced by the translated content as it passes back through the proxy. The translations used in a translation proxy can be either machine translation, human translation, or a combination of machine and human translation. Different translation proxy implementations have different capabilities. Some allow further customization of the source site for the local audiences such as excluding the source content or substituting the source content with the original local content.
Accessing services anonymously
An anonymous proxy server (sometimes called a web proxy) generally attempts to anonymize web surfing. Anonymizers may be differentiated into several varieties. The destination server (the server that ultimately satisfies the web request) receives requests from the anonymizing proxy server and thus does not receive information about the end user’s address. The requests are not anonymous to the anonymizing proxy server, however, and so a degree of trust is present between the proxy server and the user. Many proxy servers are funded through a continued advertising link to the user.
Access control: Some proxy servers implement a logon requirement. In large organizations, authorized users must log on to gain access to the web. The organization can thereby track usage to individuals. Some anonymizing proxy servers may forward data packets with header lines such as HTTP_VIA, HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR, or HTTP_FORWARDED, which may reveal the IP address of the client. Other anonymizing proxy servers, known as elite or high-anonymity proxies, make it appear that the proxy server is the client. A website could still suspect a proxy is being used if the client sends packets that include a cookie from a previous visit that did not use the high-anonymity proxy server. Clearing cookies, and possibly the cache, would solve this problem.
QA geotargeted advertising
Advertisers use proxy servers for validating, checking and quality assurance of geotargeted ads. A geotargeting ad server checks the request source IP address and uses a geo-IP database to determine the geographic source of requests.  Using a proxy server that is physically located inside a specific country or a city gives advertisers the ability to test geotargeted ads.
A proxy can keep the internal network structure of a company secret by using network address translation, which can help the security of the internal network.  This makes requests from machines and users on the local network anonymous. Proxies can also be combined with firewalls.
An incorrectly configured proxy can provide access to a network otherwise isolated from the Internet. 
Proxies allow web sites to make web requests to externally hosted resources (e. g. images, music files, etc. ) when cross-domain restrictions prohibit the web site from linking directly to the outside domains. Proxies also allow the browser to make web requests to externally hosted content on behalf of a website when cross-domain restrictions (in place to protect websites from the likes of data theft) prohibit the browser from directly accessing the outside domains.
Secondary market brokers
Secondary market brokers use web proxy servers to buy large stocks of limited products such as limited sneakers or tickets.
Implementations of proxies
Web proxy servers
Web proxies forward HTTP requests. The request from the client is the same as a regular HTTP request except the full URL is passed, instead of just the path. 
GET HTTP/1. 1
Proxy-Authorization: Basic encoded-credentials
This request is sent to the proxy server, the proxy makes the request specified and returns the response.
HTTP/1. 1 200 OK
Content-Type: text/html; charset UTF-8
Some web proxies allow the HTTP CONNECT method to set up forwarding of arbitrary data through the connection; a common policy is to only forward port 443 to allow HTTPS traffic.
Examples of web proxy servers include Apache (with mod_proxy or Traffic Server), HAProxy, IIS configured as proxy (e. g., with Application Request Routing), Nginx, Privoxy, Squid, Varnish (reverse proxy only), WinGate, Ziproxy, Tinyproxy, RabbIT and Polipo.
For clients, the problem of complex or multiple proxy-servers is solved by a client-server Proxy auto-config protocol (PAC file).
SOCKS also forwards arbitrary data after a connection phase, and is similar to HTTP CONNECT in web proxies.
Also known as an intercepting proxy, inline proxy, or forced proxy, a transparent proxy intercepts normal application layer communication without requiring any special client configuration. Clients need not be aware of the existence of the proxy. A transparent proxy is normally located between the client and the Internet, with the proxy performing some of the functions of a gateway or router. 
RFC 2616 (Hypertext Transfer Protocol—HTTP/1. 1) offers standard definitions:
“A ‘transparent proxy’ is a proxy that does not modify the request or response beyond what is required for proxy authentication and identification”. “A ‘non-transparent proxy’ is a proxy that modifies the request or response in order to provide some added service to the user agent, such as group annotation services, media type transformation, protocol reduction, or anonymity filtering”.
TCP Intercept is a traffic filtering security feature that protects TCP servers from TCP SYN flood attacks, which are a type of denial-of-service attack. TCP Intercept is available for IP traffic only.
In 2009 a security flaw in the way that transparent proxies operate was published by Robert Auger,  and the Computer Emergency Response Team issued an advisory listing dozens of affected transparent and intercepting proxy servers. 
Intercepting proxies are commonly used in businesses to enforce acceptable use policy, and to ease administrative overheads since no client browser configuration is required. This second reason however is mitigated by features such as Active Directory group policy, or DHCP and automatic proxy detection.
Intercepting proxies are also commonly used by ISPs in some countries to save upstream bandwidth and improve customer response times by caching. This is more common in countries where bandwidth is more limited (e. island nations) or must be paid for.
The diversion/interception of a TCP connection creates several issues. First, the original destination IP and port must somehow be communicated to the proxy. This is not always possible (e. g., where the gateway and proxy reside on different hosts). There is a class of cross-site attacks that depend on certain behavior of intercepting proxies that do not check or have access to information about the original (intercepted) destination. This problem may be resolved by using an integrated packet-level and application level appliance or software which is then able to communicate this information between the packet handler and the proxy.
Intercepting also creates problems for HTTP authentication, especially connection-oriented authentication such as NTLM, as the client browser believes it is talking to a server rather than a proxy. This can cause problems where an intercepting proxy requires authentication, then the user connects to a site that also requires authentication.
Finally, intercepting connections can cause problems for HTTP caches, as some requests and responses become uncacheable by a shared cache.
In integrated firewall/proxy servers where the router/firewall is on the same host as the proxy, communicating original destination information can be done by any method, for example Microsoft TMG or WinGate.
Interception can also be performed using Cisco’s WCCP (Web Cache Control Protocol). This proprietary protocol resides on the router and is configured from the cache, allowing the cache to determine what ports and traffic is sent to it via transparent redirection from the router. This redirection can occur in one of two ways: GRE tunneling (OSI Layer 3) or MAC rewrites (OSI Layer 2).
Once traffic reaches the proxy machine itself interception is commonly performed with NAT (Network Address Translation). Such setups are invisible to the client browser, but leave the proxy visible to the web server and other devices on the internet side of the proxy. Recent Linux and some BSD releases provide TPROXY (transparent proxy) which performs IP-level (OSI Layer 3) transparent interception and spoofing of outbound traffic, hiding the proxy IP address from other network devices.
Several methods may be used to detect the presence of an intercepting proxy server:
By comparing the client’s external IP address to the address seen by an external web server, or sometimes by examining the HTTP headers received by a server. A number of sites have been created to address this issue, by reporting the user’s IP address as seen by the site back to the user on a web page. Google also returns the IP address as seen by the page if the user searches for “IP”.
By comparing the result of online IP checkers when accessed using HTTPS vs HTTP, as most intercepting proxies do not intercept SSL. If there is suspicion of SSL being intercepted, one can examine the certificate associated with any secure web site, the root certificate should indicate whether it was issued for the purpose of intercepting.
By comparing the sequence of network hops reported by a tool such as traceroute for a proxied protocol such as (port 80) with that for a non-proxied protocol such as SMTP (port 25). 
By attempting to make a connection to an IP address at which there is known to be no server. The proxy will accept the connection and then attempt to proxy it on. When the proxy finds no server to accept the connection it may return an error message or simply close the connection to the client. This difference in behavior is simple to detect. For example, most web browsers will generate a browser created error page in the case where they cannot connect to an HTTP server but will return a different error in the case where the connection is accepted and then closed. 
By serving the end-user specially programmed Adobe Flash SWF applications or Sun Java applets that send HTTP calls back to their server.
A CGI web proxy accepts target URLs using a Web form in the user’s browser window, processes the request, and returns the results to the user’s browser. Consequently, it can be used on a device or network that does not allow “true” proxy settings to be changed. The first recorded CGI proxy, named “rover” at the time but renamed in 1998 to “CGIProxy”,  was developed by American computer scientist James Marshall in early 1996 for an article in “Unix Review” by Rich Morin. 
The majority of CGI proxies are powered by one of CGIProxy (written in the Perl language), Glype (written in the PHP language), or PHProxy (written in the PHP language). As of April 2016, CGIProxy has received about 2 million downloads, Glype has received almost a million downloads,  whilst PHProxy still receives hundreds of downloads per week.  Despite waning in popularity due to VPNs and other privacy methods, as of September 2021 there are still a few hundred CGI proxies online. 
Some CGI proxies were set up for purposes such as making websites more accessible to disabled people, but have since been shut down due to excessive traffic, usually caused by a third party advertising the service as a means to bypass local filtering. Since many of these users don’t care about the collateral damage they are causing, it became necessary for organizations to hide their proxies, disclosing the URLs only to those who take the trouble to contact the organization and demonstrate a genuine need. 
A suffix proxy allows a user to access web content by appending the name of the proxy server to the URL of the requested content (e. “”). Suffix proxy servers are easier to use than regular proxy servers but they do not offer high levels of anonymity and their primary use is for bypassing web filters. However, this is rarely used due to more advanced web filters.
Tor onion proxy software
Tor is a system intended to provide online anonymity.  Tor client software routes Internet traffic through a worldwide volunteer network of servers for concealing a user’s computer location or usage from someone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes tracing Internet activity more difficult,  and is intended to protect users’ personal freedom, privacy.
“Onion routing” refers to the layered nature of the encryption service: The original data are encrypted and re-encrypted multiple times, then sent through successive Tor relays, each one of which decrypts a “layer” of encryption before passing the data on to the next relay and ultimately the destination. This reduces the possibility of the original data being unscrambled or understood in transit. 
I2P anonymous proxy
The I2P anonymous network (‘I2P’) is a proxy network aiming at online anonymity. It implements garlic routing, which is an enhancement of Tor’s onion routing. I2P is fully distributed and works by encrypting all communications in various layers and relaying them through a network of routers run by volunteers in various locations. By keeping the source of the information hidden, I2P offers censorship resistance. The goals of I2P are to protect users’ personal freedom, privacy, and ability to conduct confidential business.
Each user of I2P runs an I2P router on their computer (node). The I2P router takes care of finding other peers and building anonymizing tunnels through them. I2P provides proxies for all protocols (HTTP, IRC, SOCKS,… ).
Comparison to network address translators
The proxy concept refers to a layer 7 application in the OSI reference model. Network address translation (NAT) is similar to a proxy but operates in layer 3.
In the client configuration of layer-3 NAT, configuring the gateway is sufficient. However, for the client configuration of a layer 7 proxy, the destination of the packets that the client generates must always be the proxy server (layer 7), then the proxy server reads each packet and finds out the true destination.
Because NAT operates at layer-3, it is less resource-intensive than the layer-7 proxy, but also less flexible. As we compare these two technologies, we might encounter a terminology known as ‘transparent firewall’. Transparent firewall means that the proxy uses the layer-7 proxy advantages without the knowledge of the client. The client presumes that the gateway is a NAT in layer 3, and it does not have any idea about the inside of the packet, but through this method, the layer-3 packets are sent to the layer-7 proxy for investigation.
A DNS proxy server takes DNS queries from a (usually local) network and forwards them to an Internet Domain Name Server. It may also cache DNS records.
Some client programs “SOCKS-ify” requests,  which allows adaptation of any networked software to connect to external networks via certain types of proxy servers (mostly SOCKS).
A residential proxy is an intermediary that uses a real IP address provided by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) with physical devices such as mobiles and computers of end-users. Instead of connecting directly to a server, residential proxy users connect to the target through residential IP addresses. The target then identifies them as organic internet users. It does not let any tracking tool identify the reallocation of the user. Any residential proxy can send any number of concurrent requests and IP addresses are directly related to a specific region. 
Web accelerator which discusses host-based HTTP acceleration
Distributed Checksum Clearinghouse
SOCKS an alternative firewall traversal protocol supported by many applications
^ World-Wide Web Proxies, Ari Luotonen, April 1994
^ , Marc Shapiro. Structure and Encapsulation in Distributed Systems: the Proxy Principle. Int. Conf. on Distr. Comp. Sys. (ICDCS), 1986, Cambridge, MA, USA, United States. pp. 198–204, 1986, Int. (ICDCS).
^ “Proxy servers and tunneling”. MDN Web Docs. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
^ a b Lyon, Gordon (2008). Nmap network scanning. US: Insecure. p. 270. ISBN 978-0-9799587-1-7.
^ “Forward and Reverse Proxies”. d mod_proxy. Apache. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
^ a b “2010 Circumvention Tool Usage Report” (PDF). The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. October 2010.
^ “How to Check if Website is Down or Working Worldwide”. Hostinger. 19 November 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
^ “Using a Ninjaproxy to get through a filtered proxy”. advanced filtering mechanics. TSNP. Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
^ Thomas, Keir (2006). Beginning Ubuntu Linux: From Novice to Professional. Apress. ISBN 978-1-59059-627-2. A proxy server helps speed up Internet access by storing frequently accessed pages
^ I. Cooper; J. Dilley (June 2001). Known HTTP Proxy/Caching Problems. IETF. doi:10. 17487/RFC3143. RFC 3143. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
^ “Layering”. Performance Enhancing Proxies Intended to Mitigate Link-Related Degradations. June 2001. p. 4. sec. 2. 1. 17487/RFC3135. RFC 3135. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
^ Zhang, Xiaoyi; Ross, Anne Spencer; Caspi, Anat; Fogarty, James; Wobbrock, Jacob O. (2017). Interaction Proxies for Runtime Repair and Enhancement of Mobile Application Accessibility. Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. pp. 6024–6037. 1145/3025453. 3025846. ISBN 9781450346559. S2CID 20937177.
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^ “The Limit
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What is a Proxy Server? How It Works & How to Use It | Fortinet
What Is a Proxy Server?
A proxy server provides a gateway between users and the internet. It is a server, referred to as an “intermediary” because it goes between end-users and the web pages they visit online.
When a computer connects to the internet, it uses an IP address. This is similar to your home’s street address, telling incoming data where to go and marking outgoing data with a return address for other devices to authenticate. A proxy server is essentially a computer on the internet that has an IP address of its own.
Proxy Servers and Network Security
Proxies provide a valuable layer of security for your computer. They can be set up as web filters or firewalls, protecting your computer from internet threats like malware.
This extra security is also valuable when coupled with a secure web gateway or other email security products. This way, you can filter traffic according to its level of safety or how much traffic your network—or individual computers—can handle.
How to use a proxy? Some people use proxies for personal purposes, such as hiding their location while watching movies online, for example. For a company, however, they can be used to accomplish several key tasks such as:
Secure employees’ internet activity from people trying to snoop on them
Balance internet traffic to prevent crashes
Control the websites employees and staff access in the office
Save bandwidth by caching files or compressing incoming traffic
How a Proxy Works
Because a proxy server has its own IP address, it acts as a go-between for a computer and the internet. Your computer knows this address, and when you send a request on the internet, it is routed to the proxy, which then gets the response from the web server and forwards the data from the page to your computer’s browser, like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge
How to Get a Proxy
There are hardware and software versions. Hardware connections sit between your network and the internet, where they get, send, and forward data from the web. Software proxies are typically hosted by a provider or reside in the cloud. You download and install an application on your computer that facilitates interaction with the proxy.
Often, a software proxy can be obtained for a monthly fee. Sometimes, they are free. The free versions tend to offer users fewer addresses and may only cover a few devices, while the paid proxies can meet the demands of a business with many devices.
How Is the Server Set Up?
To get started with a proxy server, you have to configure it in your computer, device, or network. Each operating system has its own setup procedures, so check the steps required for your computer or network.
In most cases, however, setup means using an automatic configuration script. If you want to do it manually, there will be options to enter the IP address and the appropriate port.
How Does the Proxy Protect Computer Privacy and Data?
A proxy server performs the function of a firewall and filter. The end-user or a network administrator can choose a proxy designed to protect data and privacy. This examines the data going in and out of your computer or network. It then applies rules to prevent you from having to expose your digital address to the world. Only the proxy’s IP address is seen by hackers or other bad actors. Without your personal IP address, people on the internet do not have direct access to your personal data, schedules, apps, or files.
With it in place, web requests go to the proxy, which then reaches out and gets what you want from the internet. If the server has encryption capabilities, passwords and other personal data get an extra tier of protection.
Benefits of a Proxy Server
Proxies come with several benefits that can give your business an advantage:
Enhanced security: Can act like a firewall between your systems and the internet. Without them, hackers have easy access to your IP address, which they can use to infiltrate your computer or network.
Private browsing, watching, listening, and shopping: Use different proxies to help you avoid getting inundated with unwanted ads or the collection of IP-specific data.
Access to location-specific content: You can designate a proxy server with an address associated with another country. You can, in effect, make it look like you are in that country and gain full access to all the content computers in that country are allowed to interact with.
Prevent employees from browsing inappropriate or distracting sites: You can use it to block access to websites that run contrary to your organization’s principles. Also, you can block sites that typically end up distracting employees from important tasks. Some organizations block social media sites like Facebook and others to remove time-wasting temptations.
Types of Proxy Servers
While all proxy servers give users an alternate address with which to use the internet, there are several different kinds—each with its own features.
A forward proxy sits in front of clients and is used to get data to groups of users within an internal network. When a request is sent, the proxy server examines it to decide whether it should proceed with making a connection.
A forward proxy is best suited for internal networks that need a single point of entry. It provides IP address security for those in the network and allows for straightforward administrative control. However, a forward proxy may limit an organization’s ability to cater to the needs of individual end-users.
A transparent proxy can give users an experience identical to what they would have if they were using their home computer. In that way, it is “transparent. ” They can also be “forced” on users, meaning they are connected without knowing it.
Transparent proxies are well-suited for companies that want to make use of a proxy without making employees aware they are using one. It carries the advantage of providing a seamless user experience. On the other hand, transparent proxies are more susceptible to certain security threats, such as SYN-flood denial-of-service attacks.
An anonymous proxy focuses on making internet activity untraceable. It works by accessing the internet on behalf of the user while hiding their identity and computer information.
A transparent proxy is best suited for users who want to have full anonymity while accessing the internet. While transparent proxies provide some of the best identity protection possible, they are not without drawbacks. Many view the use of transparent proxies as underhanded, and users sometimes face pushback or discrimination as a result.
High Anonymity Proxy
A high anonymity proxy is an anonymous proxy that takes anonymity one step further. It works by erasing your information before the proxy attempts to connect to the target site.
The server is best suited for users for whom anonymity is an absolute necessity, such as employees who do not want their activity traced back to the organization. On the downside, some of them, particularly the free ones, are decoys set up to trap users in order to access their personal information or data.
A distorting proxy identifies itself as a proxy to a website but hides its own identity. It does this by changing its IP address to an incorrect one.
Distorting proxies are a good choice for people who want to hide their location while accessing the internet. This type of proxy can make it look like you are browsing from a specific country and give you the advantage of hiding not just your identity but that of the proxy, too. This means even if you are associated with the proxy, your identity is still secure. However, some websites automatically block distorting proxies, which could keep an end-user from accessing sites they need.
Data Center Proxy
Data center proxies are not affiliated with an internet service provider (ISP) but are provided by another corporation through a data center. The proxy server exists in a physical data center, and the user’s requests are routed through that server.
Data center proxies are a good choice for people who need quick response times and an inexpensive solution. They are therefore a good choice for people who need to gather intelligence on a person or organization very quickly. They carry the benefit of giving users the power to swiftly and inexpensively harvest data. On the other hand, they do not offer the highest level of anonymity, which may put users’ information or identity at risk.
A residential proxy gives you an IP address that belongs to a specific, physical device. All requests are then channeled through that device.
Residential proxies are well-suited for users who need to verify the ads that go on their website, so you can block cookies, suspicious or unwanted ads from competitors or bad actors. Residential proxies are more trustworthy than other proxy options. However, they often cost more money to use, so users should carefully analyze whether the benefits are worth the extra investment.
A public proxy is accessible by anyone free of charge. It works by giving users access to its IP address, hiding their identity as they visit sites.
Public proxies are best suited for users for whom cost is a major concern and security and speed are not. Although they are free and easily accessible, they are often slow because they get bogged down with free users. When you use a public proxy, you also run an increased risk of having your information accessed by others on the internet.
Shared proxies are used by more than one user at once. They give you access to an IP address that may be shared by other people, and then you can surf the internet while appearing to browse from a location of your choice.
Shared proxies are a solid option for people who do not have a lot of money to spend and do not necessarily need a fast connection. The main advantage of a shared proxy is its low cost. Because they are shared by others, you may get blamed for someone else’s bad decisions, which could get you banned from a site.
A secure sockets layer (SSL) proxy provides decryption between the client and the server. As the data is encrypted in both directions, the proxy hides its existence from both the client and the server.
These proxies are best suited for organizations that need enhanced protection against threats that the SSL protocol reveals and stops. Because Google prefers servers that use SSL, an SSL proxy, when used in connection with a website, may help its search engine ranking. On the downside, content encrypted on an SSL proxy cannot be cached, so when visiting websites multiple times, you may experience slower performance than you would otherwise.
A rotating proxy assigns a different IP address to each user that connects to it. As users connect, they are given an address that is unique from the device that connected before it.
Rotating proxies are ideal for users who need to do a lot of high-volume, continuous web scraping. They allow you to return to the same website again and again anonymously. However, you have to be careful when choosing rotating proxy services. Some of them contain public or shared proxies that could expose your data.
Unlike a forward proxy, which sits in front of clients, a reverse proxy is positioned in front of web servers and forwards requests from a browser to the web servers. It works by intercepting requests from the user at the network edge of the web server. It then sends the requests to and receives replies from the origin server.
Reverse proxies are a strong option for popular websites that need to balance the load of many incoming requests. They can help an organization reduce bandwidth load because they act like another web server managing incoming requests. The downside is reverse proxies can potentially expose the HTTP server architecture if an attacker is able to penetrate it. This means network administrators may have to beef up or reposition their firewall if they are using a reverse proxy.
Proxy Server vs. VPN
On the surface, proxy servers and virtual private networks (VPNs) may seem interchangeable because they both route requests and responses through an external server. Both also allow you to access websites that would otherwise block the country you’re physically located in. However, VPNs provide better protection against hackers because they encrypt all traffic.
Choosing VPN or Proxy
If you need to constantly access the internet to send and receive data that should be encrypted or if your company has to reveal data you must hide from hackers and corporate spies, a VPN would be a better choice.
If an organization merely needs to allow its users to browse the internet anonymously, a proxy server may do the trick. This is the better solution if you simply want to know which websites team members are using or you want to make sure they have access to sites that block users from your country.
A VPN is better suited for business use because users usually need secure data transmission in both directions. Company information and personnel data can be very valuable in the wrong hands, and a VPN provides the encryption you need to keep it protected. For personal use where a breach would only affect you, a single user, a proxy server may be an adequate choice. You can also use both technologies simultaneously, particularly if you want to limit the websites that users within your network visit while also encrypting their communications.
How Fortinet Can Help
FortiGate has the capability of both proxies and VPNs. It shields users from data breaches that often happen with high-speed traffic and uses IPsec and SSL to enhance security. FortiGate also harnesses the power of the FortiASIC hardware accelerator to enhance performance without compromising privacy. Secure your network with FortiGate VPN and proxy capabilities. Contact us to learn more.
What Is a Proxy Server and How Do Proxies Work? – DZone Security
You might have already heard about proxies and proxy servers. But if you aren’t entirely 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 Proxies?
A web proxy is some kind of intermediate between a web user and an online resource. When visiting a website directly, you send a web request containing information about yourself (the server or PC that you are using, your location, browser fingerprints, IP address, etc. ). As a response to this data sent, the web resource provides you with the content you requested.
Unlike a direct connection between users and websites, a proxy-based connection provides a gateway for your web request and the data you will receive back from the website. Proxies can hide or modify your web request data and filter the website content preventing you from getting unwanted information. This also ensures anonymous web browsing and data collection from your end.
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Linux Proxy Server
Usually, proxies are divided into two types: shared and dedicated proxies.
A shared proxy is a public proxy that can be easily accessed by anyone. As a rule, you can get shared proxies for free, without any restrictions on the number of users they serve. Such servers often get overloaded by hundreds of web users. This slows down the Internet connection and often results in huge lags and even crashes.
By using shared proxies, you will have to wait minutes for a web page to load, making it virtually impossible for you to surf the web. Moreover, browsing the Internet via these open proxies is pretty much risky, since they can be used by providers as a way to collect and steal your personal information.
There are also semi-dedicated proxies that have a limited number of users. They suit small groups of people, like companies or schools, in order for them to create a shared network connection.
A dedicated proxy allows you to use a proxy privately, which means you are the only person that uses it. This empowers you to browse completely anonymously and securely with high page load speed.
What Is a Proxy Server?
Now, you are probably wondering “what is a proxy server”? A proxy server or proxy is a server that works as an intermediate connection point between you and the web page you visit. Proxy servers process your web request and the website data, making your web browsing secure and private.
How Do Proxy Servers Work?
Each time you’re visiting a website by hitting a link or typing the web address manually in your browser, you create and submit a web request that’s forwarded to a proxy server. Then, the proxy server modifies and encrypts your data such as your IP (Internet Protocol) address and sends it to the web resource.
After that, the website sends its data back to the proxy server that processes it before transferring the web page information to you. This way, it works as a firewall or a web filter for you to get only the information you want to receive. Now that you have a glimpse of what’s behind the question “how does a proxy server work?, let’s take a closer look at which types of proxy servers exist.
Depending on the network setup and configuration involving a proxy, there can be three distinct types of proxy servers out there:
Forward Proxy Server
Forward Proxy Servers are commonly used by internal networks. How does a web proxy work when it comes to Forward Proxy Servers? Once one of the clients sends a request to get connected to a particular website, it first has to pass through a Forward Proxy Server that decides whether or not the client is allowed to approach this resource. If yes, the connection request goes to the external server that doesn’t see the client’s IP address but sees only the connection request sent from the Forward Proxy Server.
A Forward Proxy Server provides full administrative control over the local network connections. It acts as a shield or a firewall that lets the Administrators restrict access to unwanted web resources by the internal network clients. You can see this kind of proxy servers in schools and universities.
Reverse Proxy Server
Unlike a Forward Proxy Server, the Reverse Proxy Server works on the side of a website (or web service) hiding the IP addresses within the internal network from the external users. The Reverse Proxy decides whether the web users may see the content of a website or use a web service or not.
As far as the benefits are concerned, the Reverse Proxy Servers make it very hard for hackers to attack the internal servers. Besides, it functions as a load balancer in order to disperse the data between the internal servers that prevent overloading by tons of connection requests. Proxies of this type are used by web service providers.
Open Proxy Servers
Open Proxy Servers allow both forwarding the requests by internet users and receiving responses from websites. The key feature of this kind of proxy servers is hiding the user’s original IP address from the web. Unlike dedicated proxies, open proxy servers do not require authentication on the side of the user and are prone 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. But what is a proxy server used for?
If you are thinking about whether or not you should opt for a proxy, there are a lot of advantages that will convince you to start using it.
Proxies can encrypt your data, configuring your IP address so that you can hide your real location to “outplay” the network with no effort. This way, the server you are sending your request to won’t know your actual IP address and other personal information. It allows you to avoid risks like hacking attempts and identity thefts.
Access to Any Website
Alongside more anonymous browsing, there are other benefits that come along with hiding your IP address. Imagine you want to visit a website that restricts the contents to be viewed in your country. In this case, you can change your IP address. Due to this, you can gain access to virtually any website on the web that has this kind of limitation.
Since you can keep your data private, your internet connection becomes more secure. You can configure and modify your proxy in order for the web to see only the info you allow it to get access to. Proxies also work as a web firewall that protects your device and filters the web resources that could probably contain malware.
Proxy servers can also improve your browsing performance. For example, once you visit a website, it gets saved in the cache of your proxy server. Next time you reach for the website, the proxy sends a request to the website server to look for any changes, and if no changes are detected, it will show you the cached version of the website. This way, you can cut down the loading time of websites you’ve already visited. It is especially beneficial when it comes to companies and organizations.
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SOCKS5 Proxy and its Benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions about server_proxy
What is a proxy server used for?
A proxy server provides a gateway between users and the internet. It is a server, referred to as an “intermediary” because it goes between end-users and the web pages they visit online. When a computer connects to the internet, it uses an IP address.
How do I setup a proxy server?
Here’s how to set a proxy manually in Windows 10:Open Settings.Click Network & Internet. … Click Proxy. … In the Manual Proxy Setup section, set the Use a Proxy Server switch to On.In the Address field, type the IP address.In the Port field, type the port.Click Save; then close the Settings window.
What is proxy and how it works?
A proxy server or proxy is a server that works as an intermediate connection point between you and the web page you visit. Proxy servers process your web request and the website data, making your web browsing secure and private.Feb 12, 2020