How Does Proxy Server Work? [A Beginner’s Guide]


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Proxy Server

Proxy servers are intermediaries that forward the user’s request to the web servers. This is without compromising the location and IP address of the user. 

A general proxy server carries forward the user request through several physical or virtual routers with distinct IP addresses to hide the original IP of the user. But depending on the type and functionality, the fundamentals can be altered. 

Why do We Need Proxy Servers

Hiding IP Address

An IP address is like a visiting card. Your physical information including ISP, location, or even street address, can be tracked down with it.

Your IP address doesn’t reveal this much information without being poked. Cybercriminals are the ones who take crafty measures to extract information from your IP. They usually come up with social engineering strategies with the gathered information to design scams. 

The scams often include impersonating someone with authority to extract money or information. Or worse, they might try to impersonate you. Proxies protect you from exposing your real IP address to hackers. 

Accessing Blocked Content

You’ll often find yourself fiddling to access the content that’s been blocked in your region. 

Consider Netflix. The content available for US users isn’t always available for UK ones and vice versa. This mostly is a result of the popularity of the content and shrinking server space. But, proxies can help you access the unavailable content by redirecting your IP address.

Web Scraping

Web scraping is the practice of extracting publicly available raw data from a web server through the means of an automated program. As web scrapers can be notorious and break the servers down with thousands of requests, most websites try to keep these bots away by blocking their IP. 

However, if you are scraping the web, the latest free proxies updated every 5 minutes are the best alternatives. These web proxy servers redirect each of your bot requests through different channels, ensuring zero trackability by updating the IP pool every few minutes. 

Malware Prevention

Proxy servers can help prevent DoS attacks on your devices and servers. Reverse proxies block the malicious requests and only pass the legitimate ones to your servers. This way, your data is kept secure.

How Proxy Servers Work

Although anonymity isn’t always guaranteed, proxy servers work fine for general usage.  Let’s understand how each type of proxy server works. 

Reverse Proxy

If you are the user, you don’t need to be concerned with reverse proxies. In case different websites are hosted on different servers, web proxies redirect the user requests to the right one. 

These proxy servers are typically used to protect port information from the users. TCP ports are like gateways that grant access to authorized connections.

Reverse proxy servers work as intermediaries between the open internet and the web servers. 

Forward Proxy

The most common type of web proxy server that you will stumble upon is a forward proxy

servers.

Forward proxy servers are a chain of routers that sit between the users and the web servers. Whenever you place a request, the proxies take over. The proxies pass on the request to one of the dedicated routers that hold a different IP address from yourself. Then the request is passed on to another router and so on. 

When the request reaches the destination web server, the server can only see the last IP address as your location, and not your original one. 

Web Proxy Servers

In the case of forward or reverse proxy servers, the path is forwarded to the web servers. But in the case of web proxy servers, only the HTTP URL is passed. 

What it means is that whenever you browse the internet, the web proxy server sends a GET request to the web servers and the answer from the server is passed through the proxy. You don’t talk to the server directly. 

Transparent Proxy

Transparent proxies don’t offer any kind of anonymity to the user. But that’s fine because this type of proxy server is only used to store websites caches for faster access. 

Usually in the past when the bandwidth wasn’t as fast as it is now, transparent proxies were used to minimize the loading time due to distance. Physical distance. If the servers are too far away from your location, the loading time can increase immensely. 

If a proxy server–storing the exact copy of the website–acts as an intermediary, you can get access to the website significantly faster.  

Suffix Proxy

Suffix proxy servers don’t provide any additional anonymity. They just append or add the name of the proxy before the URL. It’s extremely easy to set up and use. The most prominent use of Suffix proxy servers is to access blocked content. 

12P Anonymous Proxy

MIx data encryption and forward proxies to get 12P anonymous proxy. The 12P anonymous proxy servers encrypt data on multiple levels before forwarding the requests through several routers in multiple locations. 

Data Center Proxies

Data center proxy servers are unaffiliated with any ISPs and are indifferent about the traffic speed limits they impose. Also, Data center proxies are usually provided by third-party vendors and provide private IP verification and privacy.

Aside from offering a faster network, data center proxies secure your IP addresses and ensure that no data is taken from your hardware addresses. 

Private Proxy

Private proxies are most popular among major enterprises. The private proxy servers let you use a specific IP address for a longer period. What it achieves is that you can surf the internet or your private servers anonymously without needing to log in repeatedly. Shared proxies keep changing the IP pool over a certain period. Private proxies are more convenient but costly. 

The Bottom Line

Almost all types of proxy servers work the same way. The reverse proxy server connects the web server to the internet, the forward proxy server connects the user to the internet. The web proxy server only passes the URL, but the suffix proxy server appends to the URL. If your objective is to stay anonymous and browse safely, proxies are one of the best alternatives. 


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BSV Staff

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