Proxy server. Let's start at the very beginning. What is a proxy?

14.11.19 в 11:31 Other 4896

Proxy server is an interesting and useful tool for working on the Internet. At the same time, the principles of its use and configuration are quite simple, so everyone can understand them easily. If you are interested in proxies, then in this article we will start from the very beginning and explain to you what a proxy is, what it is used for, what types of proxy can be and how to start using a proxy for anonymous surfing on the Internet.

What is a proxy?

A proxy server is a piece of software installed on a remote computer that allows you to work with Internet resources indirectly. When you surf the Internet without a proxy, you send and receive data to websites directly. In this case, websites can gather fairly large amount of information about you. Try going to and you'll be surprised how much data your computer shares about you.

Without a proxy

On the Internet, unprotected users provide a big portion of information about themselves to third-party resources. In addition to this, all user activity is monitored by ISP, which sometimes creates difficulties in performing a number of tasks.

When using a proxy, you send a request to the proxy first, then the proxy server connects to a website, receives a response and returns it to you. In this case, the website knows only about the proxy and your personal information is hidden behind it.

On the Internet through a proxy

This feature and some others is what makes a proxy server great.

When you need a proxy?

Proxies are used both for anonymous surfing and in enterprises configuration. Here is how you can use a proxy server:

  • Anonymous access to network resources
  • Providing access of LAN users to the Internet
  • Internet traffic compression
  • Internet traffic caching
  • LAN protection
  • Restricting access to external resources
  • Internet traffic filtering

Now let's say a few words about each of these cases.

Anonymous browsing is perhaps the most common goal when using a proxy. In this case, the proxy is used to replace and hide the real IP address of a user from any website. This is helpful if a user wants to access a website, which blocks access for certain IP addresses or even regions.

Providing LAN users access to the Internet is often used in big companies with a lot of users to control Internet traffic going outside.

Data compression is performed to keep Internet traffic as small as possible. The proxy reduces the transferring data size.

Traffic caching can significantly reduce the amount of data that needs to be downloaded often and increase the overall speed for users. Copies of the most frequently searched pages are stored on the proxy server. This has the greatest effect when a large number of users search the same pages almost at the same time.

You can organize local network protection by forcing all users connect to the Internet only through a proxy server.

Restricting access to external resources is especially important for large companies, government or educational organizations. Usually entertainment websites, such as social networks, YouTube, etc. are restricted to improve the efficiency of employees. It's also possible to assign data quotas to a certain user or a group working through a proxy.

Internet traffic filtering is another useful feature of a proxy server. The data, sent through the proxy, can be easily modified and filtered. With the help of a proxy it is possible to protect users from ads, mailings and even some viruses.

Types of proxy connection

Proxy servers can be adapted for a variety of tasks, and therefore have different characteristics, let's see how proxies can be different from each other.

The table below shows the most basic specs by which users usually choose a proxy. Of course, to perform complex tasks, the list of requirements for a proxy can be wider. However, having understood this classification, you can easily choose type of proxy to perform your task.

Proxy specs

Proxy types

Supported protocols

http, https, socks4, socks5, FTP and others

Type of carrier

Resident, mobile, data center

IP version

IPv4, IPv6

Authorization method

By IP address, by credentials, open proxy

Anonymity level

Transparent, anonymous, elite

Privacy level

free, shared, private

The supported protocol is one of the most important spec. Depending on your goals and the software you use, you may either need a specific type of proxy or any type of proxy. You can read more about proxy types and the difference between http proxy and socks in this article

Carrier type determines price and performance of certain tasks. Carrier device can be residential (home PC), mobile or data center. Each type has its own pros ans cons. For example, data center proxies usually have static IP addresses, residential proxies often go offline and that's why usually used in bulks.

IP address. The most common proxy is IPv4.

Authorization method is also important when setting up your software. Free public proxies usually allow you to connect to them without any authorization and thus can be used by anyone. Private proxy with login and password authorization will allow connections from several devices even with different IP addresses, while authorization by IP address usually limits this number. But passwords can be stolen, while authorization by IP address will make sure that a proxy is used from only one place.

Anonymity level depends on whether the proxy sends data about the client and the fact of using a proxy to the destination server. Transparent proxies share this information. Anonymous ones don't share your actual IP, though they are detected as proxies easily. And elite proxies don't share any information about you at all. However this categorization is only applicable to http proxies, since socks proxies do not pass any http headers, thus can't share anything about your device.

Privacy level of a proxy depends on how many users have access to it. The amount of users affects its performance, as well as the amount of records in spambase and other blacklists. Once again, public proxies can be used by anyone. Shared proxies give access to a certain group of users, which make them significantly better. Private proxies give access to only one user or company and provide the highest level of anonymity and quality.

If you have more questions about proxy servers, you can read other articles on our blog, or your put your knowledge in practice together with proxies by RSocks.


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