With the growing need to protect our data from the constant look of intrusive ISPs, in addition to government agencies that want to control citizens more and more, the concept of proxy has begun to become increasingly popular.
While what is popularly called a proxy server is actually a technology that has been around for decades, it has become increasingly a necessity for many people due to multiple needs related to data privacy.
Something important to clarify, is that a proxy is not necessarily relating to what a VPN is, and even less with a VPS (something clarified in the article differences between VPN vs VPS ).
Today we will go into explaining what a proxy server is , the types of proxy servers, their characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. Read on to find out everything related to the world of proxy servers.
What is a proxy server?
When we approach the term proxy server, two questions arise: the word server, as we all know, refers to a hardware device or software, which is used to serve data to clients that send requests.
A proxy on the other hand, is simply an intermediary software , that is, an intermediate point that allows two remote parts to be interconnected on the Internet. A proxy server, then, is a software or system service that runs on an operating system, and allows a person to connect to it, to reach an X destination on the Internet, or to obtain information through the proxy.
When do I need a proxy server?
Using a proxy server can depend on many factors, from causes strictly linked to technological needs, to personal information care needs (anonymity). Let’s look at the different scenarios in which a proxy server is needed:
- Anonymity : is the number one reason generally why people look for proxy servers. Because the proxy prevents the source from connecting directly to the destination via HTTP / HTTPS, it serves to hide our public IP address, both when browsing, and when making connections to services using other Internet protocols. It is together with anonymous hosting one of the most requested services by users who are interested in protecting their footprints on the network.
- Access to restricted content: if from your country you do not have certain Internet content available due to political censorship by authoritarian governments (case of Venezuela, Cuba, etc.), the ideal is to use an external proxy server that will allow you to access the content without restrictions
- Load balancing : this is another reason why users request a proxy server, to use it as a load balancer and thus distribute the requests of visitors from a website to other servers. In this case, the proxy server is actually used as a balancing server or load balancer. It also serves as a central node to control the bandwidth used by each user, especially in corporate networks to prevent abuse of network use.
- Resource cache : another of the great functions that proxy servers have is to allow us to cache content. This greatly improves the response of certain resources that we ask the Internet, catching them and thus dispatching much faster than if we establish the direct connection.
- Mitigate DDOS attacks : there are many companies that offer AntiDDOS services through proxies, in this way they allow a website to be protected while they mitigate the malicious attack from the proxy, and direct legitimate visitors to your website located on the web server real behind the proxy.