How Do Proxies Function?

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Proxies

With every passing day, web browsing is becoming a little less private. Websites and applications monitor all our activities, which pushes more people to find ways of retaining their privacy. Proxy servers are among the many options to use to protect your identity while browsing. However, there is so much more to learn about proxy servers in detail.

In this post, we’ll dig a little deeper to uncover how proxies work, along with highlighting their features, benefits, and common uses. So, let’s get started:

What is a Proxy?

A proxy server is a system that serves as an intermediary between a client requesting a resource and the server providing that resource. Proxy servers offer different levels of functionality, privacy, and security depending on different requirements or use cases.

Today, proxy servers do a lot more than simply forwarding web requests in the name of data security and network performance. They act as a web filter and firewall, provide shared network connections, and cache data to speed up common requests. All in all, proxy servers can regulate traffic according to preset policies, transform and mask client IP addresses, and block unknown/suspicious traffic.

Key Features of Proxies

Following are some of the main features of proxies:

  • Online Anonymity – Proxies hide your actual IP address, which provides an additional layer of protection. Such anonymity reduces the risk of you getting targeted by malicious individuals.
  • Access to Geo-Restricted Content – Geo-blocking does not allow users to access content from other locations depending on their current location. In this case, proxy servers help bypass geo-blocks by masking users’ IP addresses and giving their own instead. For instance, if you want to connect to a US site from the UK, you can use a US proxy to gain access.
  • Web Acceleration – Proxies increase the data transfer in speed and conserve bandwidth by caching popular websites. In most cases, they are used for load balancing, which spreads user requests across different servers for enhanced speed.
  • Web Filtering – Transparent proxies are used to limit users’ access to certain websites and monitor activities.
  • Enhanced Security – Users use HTTPS proxies to provide secure connections with encryption. They also use reverse proxies to prevent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks by blocking repeated requests.

Common Uses of Proxies

Wondering why using proxies is useful for businesses? Here are the four common uses of proxies:

Market Research

For businesses to perform well in the industry, it’s essential to have the relevant and oftentimes necessary market information. Companies find it easier to obtain customer information and perform data harvesting through various solutions they access via proxies. Having accurate and real data of your targeted audience is invaluable as well. The obtained result then helps you in making accurate business strategies.

Brand Protection

Proxy servers offer an extra layer of security against data breaches. With proxies, you can get control over brand reputation risks and handle your brand perception. If hackers attempt to breach your data, the proxy servers act as a buffer, and your server becomes less vulnerable to attacks.

Online Security

Data breaches can be really challenging for businesses, resulting in great losses for the company. Many businesses use proxies to improve their security. With proxy servers, companies can improve their online security, which prevents cyber criminals from getting their hands on sensitive information.

Why Use Proxies

There are many important benefits of using proxy servers. Some of them are as follows:

  • Improved Browsing Privacy – Proxies are a common way of increasing privacy while browsing. They mask your identification and appear as if a request originates from the proxy server instead of where the actual user is.
  • Limited Access to Unsafe Websites – There could be websites that you’d like your users to prevent from entering. In such a case, proxies can be used to check which site a user is visitint, and block the request if necessary.
  • Access to Blocked Resources – If a resource blocks access simply because of their location, proxies can make the requests look like they’re coming from a different geographic place. This allows access to previously unavailable content. A UK-based user wanting to access US content can use a US proxy.

Final Thoughts

Proxies are useful for users to retain their privacy and circumvent geographical restrictions. However, as this usually happens with online services, free proxy servers are unsuitable for data protection. By finding the right provider suitable for your business requirements, you can use proxies to your advantage and boost your business’ growth and success.

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