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What a proxy server is and does it work

Anonymity on the Web, controlling access to web resources, bypassing blocked websites and increasing speed on the Internet – these and other tasks can be solved by proxy server service.

This article will tell you about its features and types and tell you how to choose a high-quality proxy server.

What is a proxy?

Proxy translates from English as “trusted person”. It is a service offered by ISPs, either for a fee or free. You are given a virtual server through which you can access the Internet. The proxy becomes an additional link between your computer and the website you visit.

Proxies are commonly used by:

  • Entrepreneurs who run an online business;
  • SMM managers;
  • specialists in contextual or targeting advertising;
  • traffic arbitrators;
  • Internet marketers;
  • ordinary users.

Why do you need a proxy?

Privacy. When a proxy accesses web resources, it uses its own data. This prevents sites from finding out information about the actual user. This allows you to remain anonymous online.

Control. Helps companies restrict employee access to resources. For example, file storage or social networks. You can also track visits and see how long a person is online.

Security. If a Trojan virus gets into your system, the virtual server will block outgoing traffic and prevent intruders from getting hold of your data.

High internet speed. A proxy lets you show transparent images on websites instead of banner ads. It speeds up the loading of pages and saves traffic significantly.

Blocker avoidance. Because the proxy spoofs your PC’s address, you can access restricted sites.


How proxies work

Every computer on a network has an IP address. This contains information about your Internet Service Provider and the PC itself. Proxy servers also have IPs, and through them, you can connect to the network. Just set up a connection between the computer and the proxy and go to any resource.

Stages of connection to sites through proxy:

  1. The computer communicates with the proxy server and requests the page of the desired site.
  2. The proxy accepts the request and may do so over an encrypted connection for greater privacy.
  3. The proxy modifies the request, replacing the user’s data with its own.
  4. The proxy sends the proxy request to the web resource.
  5. The proxy receives a response from the site and displays content from that resource.

Types of proxies

Proxy servers can be classified according to their degree of anonymity, data transmission method and use. Let’s look at each type in detail.
By anonymity

Transparent

Don’t withhold any information from other resources. A transparent proxy reveals to the Internet that it’s a proxy and shows user data. There is no need to set it up, and it serves as a convenient substitute for other types of proxies.

The transparent variant is great for filtering and caching content. This is relevant where internet bandwidth is limited, but a lot of people are using it at the same time. Instead of reloading the site on a congested connection, the proxy caches the web resource’s content and shows it to all users from memory.

Conventional (anonymous)

These virtual servers identify themselves as proxies but modify user data. Anonymous proxies modify the HTTP header and expose their IP so the external web server cannot accurately identify the client. How sites will behave when working through a proxy is unknown. There is a chance they may start blocking proxy requests, but this rarely happens.

Misrepresenting

Such proxies do not hide but use fake IPs. When sites receive a request from a distorting proxy, they think the IPs belong to real people, not the proxy itself.

It becomes possible to use IPs from another country. Distorting proxies are often used to circumvent geographical blocking. The web resource sees that your country is not “blacklisted” and allows access to the content.

elite (private)

Proxy servers with high anonymity; Change IP each time you connect to the Internet and encrypt their data from the sites. Elite proxies change the HTTP header, so no information is left about you.

The web resource does not detect the presence of a proxy and accepts your request as a simple user connection. This makes it harder for sites to identify you and track your traffic.

By data transmission method

HTTP proxy

The most popular type of proxy. It is used in browsers and other programs which use HTTP protocol for data transmission on the Internet. But such proxies do not encrypt data, and intruders can intercept them.

HTTPS proxy

This proxy employs HTTP with support for a secure SSL connection. HTTPS proxies are useful when you leave sensitive information such as passwords or credit card details online. Since all traffic is encrypted, your data is difficult to steal.

SOCKS proxy

SOCKS stands for Socket Secure. It is considered to be the most advanced protocol. It can be used for various applications, not only for accessing web pages. SOCKS does not modify HTTP headers but passes information through itself in the form of packets.

The SOCKS protocol does not give out information about your IP, and third-party sites cannot understand that you are using a proxy. Connection to web resources appears completely transparent as if you were accessing them directly.

Public

These are public and free proxies. There is a chance that they will be blacklisted by many sites and your personal information will fall into the wrong hands. Plus, public proxies can be unstable, and the owner can shut them down at any time without notice. You should work with a more secure proxy if possible.

Closed

Such proxies are authenticated, which means that access is restricted to outsiders. Closed proxies can be shared or dedicated. Shared can be used by several people, which makes a proxy server cheaper. It reduces the speed and increases the risk of being blocked by strangers. Dedicated type is used by only one person, so the opposite is true: higher security, speed and cost.


Example of paid proxy servers

1. IP Royal

IP Royal proxy is one of the best proxy services on the market right now, designed to provide individuals and online businesses with uncensored internet access from anywhere in the world.

The service is unmatched in terms of reliability and fast connection speeds. All connections are fully anonymous and encrypted, ensuring that your data stays confidential at all times, offering you complete protection from hackers, employers,

Smartproxy has a reputation for offering one of the best residential proxies you can find in the market. Compared with other residential proxy providers, its plans are more affordable than its competitors.


How to choose a proxy

Factors to consider when choosing a proxy server

  • The number of countries supported. The geographic range of IP addresses is extremely important. The more possibilities to connect via IP of different countries, the higher chances to bypass all kinds of blocking.
  • List of available IP addresses. A large pool of IP addresses is required for increased security. This reduces the chance that a third-party web resource will identify your data. Also, the size of the pool improves network performance.
  • Restrictions from ISP. Solving business problems on the Web is helped by high performance. But some proxy providers have prohibitions that may adversely affect your efficiency. For example, there are limits on the number of simultaneous sessions and traffic.
  • Availability of a test period. Providers who are confident in the quality of their product offer to test the performance of proxies. During the trial period, you will be able to understand whether this server is suitable for your purposes or not.