Why you need a proxy server?
Have you ever wondered whether to use proxy servers ?
Well, in fact, there are some interesting advantages (but also disadvantages) that you, as an online user, should consider before deciding whether or not to use this type of service.
But before you start discussing the benefits of a proxy server, you may want to know what a proxy really is and how it works. It will also help you better understand the benefits of the proxy server – among others.
If you already know this kind of information, please do not hesitate to go to the “4 advantages of using proxy servers” section.
What is a proxy server ?
A proxy server (usually called “proxy” or “application gateway”) is a server (computer or application) that acts as a gateway between a local network and a large-scale network.
A good example would be a server serving as an intermediary between your computer and the Internet.
Proxy servers can generally be classified into the following categories:
- Before – The standard proxy category, the front proxys are the intermediary between a computer and a wider network.
- Reverse – Reverse proxys are intermediaries between the web and a smaller group of servers. For example, a reverse proxy could serve as a bridge between the Internet and a local business network.
- Open – Open proxys (also called “public proxys”) are accessible to any online user. They are generally offered free of charge to the public.
How a proxy server works ?
Basically, a proxy server will act as an intermediary between a client and the server on which the client requests a certain service. He will take the client’s request and execute it on his behalf.
Here is a simple example: Let’s say you want to use a proxy server to access a certain web page. The proxy will receive your request and do one of the following:
- He will analyze his local cache to see if he can find this particular web page. If he finds it, he will return it to you without having to transmit your request over the Internet.
- If the proxy does not find the web page in its local cache, it will request this web page on the Net. However, it will not use your IP address to do so. Instead, he will act on your behalf as a client and use one of his own IP addresses. Once he has received the page, he will link it to your original request and send it back to you.
Of course, as a user, you will not be particularly aware of this process. For you, it will be as if you are accessing a web page directly, as usual.
What types of proxy servers are ?
Overall, here are the most common types of proxy servers that you may encounter:
HTTP proxy servers
These proxy servers can interpret network traffic and are therefore used to cache web pages and files, which facilitates and accelerates their access by users.
HTTP proxys can manage multiple connections at the same time without their speed being seriously affected. But this speed has a cost, namely the total absence of encryption.
SSL proxy servers
Also known as HTTPS proxys, these proxys provide SSL (Secure Socket Layer) support for the connection between the transmitter and the receiver to secure it.
SSL proxys are less likely to be blocked by your ISP because they use port TCP 443. If your ISP blocked this port, it would also prevent you from shopping online or doing banking.
SOCKS proxy servers
Unlike an HTTP proxy, a SOCKS proxy doesn’t really care about interpreting web traffic – it just transmits it.
SOCKS proxys are fairly versatile since they can manage several types of traffic, such as email (SMTP and POP3), FTP (File Transfer Protocol – used to download files to servers), IRC (Internet Relay Chat), and even torrent traffic.
However, due to their popularity, SOCKS proxy servers tend to be a little slower, as they are generally overloaded. Nevertheless, they offer a certain security, with an HTTPS support
Web proxys can normally be used in your browser. They do not require the installation of additional software. Connections can be HTTP or HTTPS, so the security level may vary.
These proxys do not require any configuration on your part, but they mostly have basic uses – at least from the perspective of an online user.
You should still mention them because it is a good idea to understand how they can affect you. Although companies can use transparent proxys to authenticate users when they connect to their WiFi networks, ISPs can also use them to filter various content online.
Fortunately, bypassing Transparents proxies is not too difficult. All you need is an encrypted proxy or a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
4 Benefits of using proxy servers
1. Your IP address is hidden
One of the best advantages of the proxy server – using a proxy, is that the website you access will not be able to save your real IP address, as it will instead record that of the proxy server. Yes, it means that you are somewhere anonymous when you are sailing.
Remember – your IP address can say a lot about you, like the country and the city where you come from. Cunning cybercriminals can even go further and use your IP address to find out who your ISP is, what your postal code is and even which street you live on.
You are wondering how a hacker could access your IP address ? Unfortunately, a data protection breach or a leak on a website that you visit may be enough to get it to get this information.
So such a tool is really useful these days.
2. You can access geoblocked or restricted content
Unfortunately, a lot of online content is actually hidden behind geographic restrictions – mainly due to network regulation and copyright.
But as a proxy server hides your IP address, websites cannot prevent you from accessing it based on your location.
A good example of this is the use of a proxy to access NOW TV outside the UK.
In addition, you can also use a proxy server to circumvent network restrictions at work or at school – restrictions that would prevent you from accessing certain types of online content.
3. Loading times can be reduced
This is related to the fact that proxy servers can cache the data. Basically, once they access certain web pages, they store them for later. When a cache page is requested, they can display it faster for the user.
But keep in mind that this will only happen if the proxy server already has the web page you are asking for in its local cache. If not, he will have to request it on the Internet, and you may not have faster loading time.
4. Malicious websites can be filtered
Another practical advantage of the proxy server is that the administrator can prevent users from accessing potentially dangerous websites.
This may sound counterintuitive at first glance, but consider this: If the administrator knows that a certain website contains malware or home automation links, it can prevent proxy users from accidentally accessing it or without knowing it.
It is also possible that if you land on a corrupt website, any malware it may contain may infect the proxy instead of your device. Although it is not a guarantee.
How “anonymous” the proxies are ?
The advantages of using a proxy server are quite appreciable, but proxys are not without drawbacks.
On the one hand, they don’t really offer you the kind of “anonymity” that everyone claims. In fact, the owner of a proxy will always know who you are because he can see your IP address
Proxy servers can now be assessed based on the level of confidentiality they offer. Officially, they are available in 3 levels – level 1 being the best for the protection of privacy :
Level 3 – Transparent proxys
Not to be confused with the transparent proxys mentioned above, these proxy servers do not really offer confidentiality.
Why ? Because they transmit pretty much all the information about you on the websites you access. Theoretically, your IP address is hidden, but it can still appear in the header of the request sent to the website.
Level 2 –Anonymous proxys
Also called distortion proxys, these proxy servers do not reveal your IP address at all to the server to which you are connected.
However, it is important to note that the server to which you connect will know that you are using a proxy to access it. How? ‘Or’ What ? Because it seems that “anonymous” proxies identify with additional headers to the requests they send.
Level 1 – Proxys Elite
The best choice – Elite proxys will hide your IP address, and the websites you access will have no idea that you are using a proxy to connect to them.
Just keep in mind that for all the privacy benefits of Eelite proxys servers, you may need to be content with slower connections as they are very popular among online users.
What are the disadvantages of using proxy servers ?
Proxy servers don’t really offer you first-rate online security. Of course, some are delivered with SSL type encryption, but it is not as safe as it seems. Also, if you value your privacy, you may not be very happy to learn that the NSA can intercept and decipher the SSL
In addition, if you do not intend to use a proxy web service, you will likely need to configure the proxy connection yourself. It’s not extremely complicated, but it can get boring and tiring if you have to change the server location often enough.
Oh yes, in addition you have to be very careful with the supplier you choose. Remember – if you access something online via HTTP instead of HTTPS, the owner of the proxy will be able to monitor your activities – not to mention a supplier who can also block harmless websites.
“Can I use free proxys ?”
Well, you can. They are free after all, so what do you have to lose ?
Lots of things, actually. Here are just a few reasons why you shouldn’t use a free proxy service:
- A large number of free proxys are managed by volunteers. Although this is admirable, it also means that the service can be unstable, and be offline randomly.
- 79% of free proxys do not use HTTPS, leaving you completely “naked” online.
- You have no way of trusting the proxy provider, as they theoretically do not make money with you, and therefore have no responsibility for you.
- Naturally, free proxy servers are often saturated, so you will probably have problems with slow connection to the Internet.
So ideally you should rather opt for private proxies. Better yet, you can add an additional safety layer using a VPN service that provides access to the proxy server.
If you are not convinced why you should use VPN instead of a proxy, consider this – a VPN already offers the same benefits as proxy servers, and – in addition to that – uses more efficient encryption protocols, ensuring better online security than the proxy server.
In addition, they are configured at the system level, which means that you only need to configure them once to ensure that all of your online connections to a device have a proxy via the VPN
And before you ask, no, free VPNs aren’t ideal either.
CactusVPN – Our VPN servers also serve as proxy servers
We have more than 30 servers around the world, and all have a speed of 1 gbps and unlimited bandwidth. In addition to being VPN servers, you can also use them as proxy servers if you wish.
High-end Internet security to protect your data
If you prefer to take advantage of all the advantages of a proxy and peace of mind knowing that your online navigation is unattended and that your personal data is not in danger (even on a public WiFi), you can always use our VPN customers
What Internet security are we talking about ? Well, we offer AES encryption – the most reliable encryption standard there is.
In addition, we guarantee confidentiality ! We do not keep any records, so you do not have to worry that we will monitor your connections to our servers.
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