What is a Proxy Server and How Does It Work? – Complete Guide

There are many queries and confusion related to proxy server or site in internet users’ minds. What is a proxy server? How does it work? Is it safe to use proxies? And lots more. That is why we are here to provide all the information related proxy servers, types of proxy servers, differences of proxy servers and VPN services, benefits of proxy servers. So if you really want to know about the proxy server, then keep reading this article till the end.

what is proxy server and how does it works

Proxy servers are now used by huge internet users to unblock access. But, many of us don’t know how exactly proxy servers manage to bypass and unblock access. So, let’s get started with the definition of a proxy server.

What is a Proxy Server?

proxy server

A proxy server is a third party computer system or application that plays an intermediary role between the internet users and other targeted sites or servers. It uses to collect and provide all the information or data, according to the users’ requests, from the main sites or servers.

How Does It Work?

As earlier said, proxy servers play an intermediary role between the clients and the targeted servers; it helps the users to browse any websites without sharing their own IP Addresses. In simple words, when internet users do not have access or don’t want to browse the main targeted site/ server directly, they are allowed to browse the proxy server and request for the services or web pages or files from the targeted site/server. The proxy server then browses the targeted site, on behalf of the internet users, and collects all the requested information and forwards them to the internet user.

Types of Proxies

Basically, proxy servers are of two types. One is Open or Forward Proxy and the other is Reverse Proxy. Below are the descriptions of both types of proxies.

Open or Forward Proxy

An open or Forward proxy refers to those kinds of proxies which receive requests from the internet users and then browse sites to collect the requested data. After collecting the data from the sites, open or forward proxies use to forward the data to the internet users directly. It simply means that open proxies act as a simple intermediary medium for just bypassing the firewalls (by hiding the clients’ IP address) made by authorities.

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Reverse Proxy

Reverse Proxies use to receive requests from the internet users for particular files and then search the files in one or more internal servers. After collecting the data of files from one of those internal servers, these servers use to send them to the users. Reverse proxies use to keep the IP addresses hidden for both the clients and the internal servers from each other while sharing the data or files.

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Proxies are further categorized into 5 more types, based on their security protocols. They are:

SSL Proxy

SSL, Secure Sockets Layer, is a security protocol that provides an encrypted route between the clients and the server. And proxy sites that are secured by the SSL certification are SSL Proxies. Under this security protocol, the details of browsing and transactions are kept secure. No hackers can hack the route and get the details of the clients. SSL Proxies use padlock icon or https in the address bar.

FTP Proxy

FTP, File Transfer Protocol, is a security protocol for transferring files to any sites or servers. Proxies with FTP certification provide secured and encrypted options to transfer or upload files on websites or servers so that hackers can not attack the transmission, clients’ system, and the server.

HTTP Proxy

HTTP Proxies are those proxy servers that use to save cache files of the browsed websites. If the users want to browse the pages again, then HTTP proxies use to provide the saved cache files to the users without actually browsing the pages. It saves both time and data of the users or the clients. But sometimes the cache files slow down the system.

SOCKS Proxy

SOCKS proxy is generally an application that uses to establish connections by exchanging messages. In this type of proxies, the established proxy connection then communicates with the server and provides access to the pages the users want to browse.

Anonymous Proxy

Proxies that use to hide the details of the users like the IP Addresses, cookies, popup advertisements, and everything that can affect the users’ privacy. Using anonymous proxies, users can bypass firewalls during browsing the web pages of restricted websites. There are many anonymous proxies are also available with SSL, FTP, HTTP, and HTTPS protocols.

Difference Between Open or Forward Proxy and Reverse Proxy

 

open/forward proxy vs reverse proxy

Open or forward proxy and Reverse proxy work in the same way, i.e. receive requests from the clients, collects data from the servers, and then send them back to the clients. But in case of Open proxy, it uses to browse to the particular sites requested by the clients to collect data and share the details of the servers too from which the data have been collected.

On the other hand, the Reverse proxy receives requests from the clients and search for them in one or more internal servers. And while sharing the data with the clients, it does not share the details of the servers from which the data have been collected.

Difference Between Proxy Server and VPN

Proxy server and VPN, virtual private network, are almost same, both allow users to hide their IP addresses as well as location to browse the restricted website. But there is one thing that makes them different options, and the thing is encryption.

Proxy servers allow the users to hide their IP addresses, but their activities on the internet are not encrypted. On the other hand, VPN services hide IP addresses as well as encrypt all the activities of the users. No one can track the activity of the VPN users.

Uses of Proxy Server

In this digital world, proxy servers are being used for various purposes. Here is the list of benefits of proxy servers. So the benefits are:

  • The most popular use of proxy servers is to hide IP addresses of the clients. Proxy servers allow the users to hide their IP address and then browse the sites they want. In this way, the IP addresses of the clients won’t be shared with the main targeted servers.
  • In schools, colleges, or in workplaces, proxy sites are being used for the block or restrict particular websites too. If the authorities do so, then no one, who is using the server for browsing or downloading, can browse the blocked websites, directly.
  • Proxy servers are being used by many service providers too, to reduce the load as well as to provide service quickly to the clients. The service will be served even faster if the proxy servers use to save cached files in the local networks.
  • For browsing websites that are blocked or restricted by the Internet Service Providers or governmental authorities, the only way left is the proxy server. Users can bypass the restrictions by browse proxy servers and then the sites they want to browse.
  • In business organizations, proxy servers help to protect the secret data from hackers or any other means of leakages.
  • Proxy servers provide a safe passage to the users whose IP addresses have been blocked by any websites for browsing those particular sites.

Is It Safe To Use Proxy Servers or Sites?

Proxy servers are generally made for reducing loads of traffic of particular sites so that users can browse and get the services faster. So they are always safe to use. But in case of blocked or restricted websites like torrent sites such as Torrentz, The Pirate Bay, PutLocker, and LimeTottent, users must be aware while browsing the proxy sites or servers. That’s because proxy sites of such torrents sites also get banned by the governments or Internet service providers. If any WARNING MESSAGE appears while browsing the proxy sites, it is better to stop browsing right then to ignore legal issues.

Final Words

We have tried to cover all information related to – what is a proxy server? and how does proxy server work? Along with these, we have also included its various types, their differences, and comparison with VPN service so that users must have complete knowledge about it. So be an expert on this topic and share the information with others.  if there are any other queries that you want to know related to proxy sites, please do comments below.

 

What is a Proxy Server and How Does It Work? – Complete Guide
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