If you use internet regularly for corporate work or working remotely, chances are you may have heard about proxy servers. But have you ever wondered what it is and why you need it? Proxy servers act as intermediaries between your computer and another server on the web. When using proxy, all your requests as well as the responses from the server first pass through the proxy server. This process gives you anonymity, privacy, and data security. It also allows you to control your web traffic, improve speed, and save bandwidth.
Proxy servers can be either free or paid and are mainly classified as shared proxies or private/dedicated proxies. There are many different types of proxy servers available today. Here are some of the most commonly used types of proxy servers.
Anonymous proxy servers are mostly used to hide you IP address from other computers on the web. These servers identify themselves as proxies but do not reveal the original IP address. Instead they modify your IP and forward a completely different IP to the websites. They can also eliminate cookies which track your activity and block pop up advertisements and other elements that invade your privacy.
High Anonymity Proxy
A high anonymity proxy is quite similar to the anonymous proxy server in its working. They too hide your IP and prevent cookies from tracking your activity. However, the main difference here is that they do not identify themselves as proxies. As a result, no one can detect the fact that you’re using a proxy.
Reverse proxy servers pass a request from the Internet, through a firewall to isolated, private networks. Generally reverse proxies are used to monitor direct client access to sensitive data residing on isolated networks. They can also cache the server response and serve this cached data to clients on future requests. This can help in reducing network traffic and maintaining privacy. Reverse proxies can also distribute the requests across a number of content servers thus balancing the workload.
Distorting proxy servers are again similar to anonymous proxies with one simple difference. Just like anonymous proxies, they too hide your IP addresses. They also identify themselves as proxy servers. However, they distort or distract the servers by using an incorrect IP address in place of your IP. This address is made available through HTTP headers. Distorting proxies are better than anonymous proxies in protecting your privacy and anonymity.
Also known as transparent proxy, intercepting proxies connect a proxy server with a gateway. The requests from the clients are redirected through the gateway without any client-side configuration. This type of proxies doesn’t provide any kind of anonymity as the HTTP headers from the servers can easily detect the client IPs. They are generally used to prevent any attack on TCP servers and for their ability to cache websites.
It is quite easy to find all kinds of proxy servers for free. But as with any free service, free proxies too have their risks. They are not as secure as paid proxies. However, the decision to buy a proxy ultimately depends on your needs and budget.