Proxy Server and Its Importance

Proxy Server
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Schools and workplace networks are most likely the ones that use proxy servers. Have you tried using facebook at school? Or watched a viral video at work?

Let’s see how proxy servers work and better understand in this article how a proxy can protect users while navigating the web.

What is a Proxy Server?

A Proxy server acts as an intermediary mechanism that’s easy to use between your browser and the internet. Everytime you use a proxy server like from Geonode Proxies, your internet traffic is sent to the proxy before going on to the website or address you’re trying to browse.

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As a gateway, a proxy server ensures that you’re never in direct contact with sites you visited on the web. In the same way that a “proxy” is a representative, a proxy server represents you by acting as a messenger or gateway to the web which is also known as a forward proxy server.

What does a Proxy Server do?

Proxy servers offer many security benefits by forwarding along your web requests. By acting as intermediary or gateway between you and the internet, a proxy server ensures that your browser is never in direct contact with the sites you visit, which can help strengthen your security and the security of your local network.

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When you send a web request, the request first goes to the proxy server. The proxy server sends your request on to the relevant web server, gets a response, and forwards that back so that the data you requested can load in your browser. 

Moreover, a proxy server can have other uses. Here are some other useful features of proxy servers:  

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  • Shared network connections:  you can connect multiple devices under one network.
  • Firewall & web filter abilities: you can restrict access to certain websites.
  • Data caching: you can improve browsing speeds by saving copies of websites.

How does a Proxy Server work?

When you use a proxy server, your internet requests are sent to the proxy server, which sends your requests out to the internet. The web or other server you’re requesting data from then returns your requests to the proxy address, which returns the data back to you. 

All proxy servers work with your computer’s IP address. An IP (Internet Protocol) address functions like a home address for your computer or device. 

Navigating online without a proxy,  your IP address is open and vulnerable for web servers to see. Your IP Address is easily accessed, which can potentially lead to security breaches and other identity-related issues.

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An online proxy has an IP address, too, which can be used on your behalf so that you don’t have to reveal your actual IP address. With a proxy server, the only point of contact for your network is the proxy server itself.

Importance of Proxy Server?

With the ever growing numbers of hackers and improvised methods of stealing data, the security benefits of proxy servers are obvious. But what else is a proxy server used for besides cybersecurity? 

Content Control: Restrict streaming access. A proxy server is an effective tool for blocking certain content on your WiFi network.

Privacy: Makes difficult for web servers to track requests back to their origin (you and your network). Ensures security on your browsing habits and personal information 

Caching: A proxy can save a copy of the sites your organization frequently uses onto its server — this is called caching. Once saved, your browser can directly access the website from your local server rather than having to go all the way back to the web server itself. 

Access Blocked Resources: Certain proxy servers can help you bypass content restrictions set up by companies or governments.

Who uses Proxy Servers?

Proxy servers are great tools that offer control, privacy, efficiency, and access to otherwise blocked content. Generally, proxies are used by businesses, organizations, and other public networks.

Proxy servers are often used by schools or government agencies aiming to prevent access to certain sites. Offices or other workplaces use proxies to streamline performance by caching frequently visited websites. 

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Paschal Okafor is NaijaTechGuide Team Lead. The article Proxy Server and Its Importance was written by NaijaTechGuide Team. The article was last modified: July 14th, 2021

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