Now, do you need a proxy to secure your web traffic? As a business, you might be better off using it. According to statistics, over 30% of businesses in some regions integrate proxies into their workflow.
How Does a Proxy Work?
Many organizations buy proxy servers because it is an easy way to ensure browsing anonymity. As its name suggests, this tech works on the principle of substitution. Simply put, a proxy is an intermediary between a user’s private network and the internet. Today, you can even buy proxy with Bitcoin.
When attempting to access pages, a user’s system initiates a dialogue with the host environment. In this process, the network may share private data and IP that the user would rather keep hidden.
A proxy prevents such unwarranted data exchange as it amps up the user’s network security. This tech keeps the user’s IP safe by isolating and switching out their network. Proxies thus intervene in the data exchange between the user and the host site by substituting a different IP.
They modulate traffic exchange; in the process, it even provides access to blocked resources.
When connecting to application servers and websites, a proxy-less system cannot disguise its account identity. The host environments can therefore read and recognize important details like IP, location, and network details.
Without this anonymity, the servers/site operators can block the private network from accessing specific content on the servers. However, a proxy lets users bypass this by providing a substitute IP instead of their default connection. Aside from enabling access to restricted content, it also ensures anonymity when accessing the internet.
Uses of Proxies
However, this data masking tech is available in various types and serves specific functions. For example, users can opt for a basic program to avoid geo-blocking when browsing. A residential proxy is one of the best examples of such a primary mechanism.
Users can access a fixed/static number of IPs with such a setup. Moreover, this type of internet protocol originates from ISPs or internet service providers. Since they can mimic real IPs, this type of tech helps users bypass blocked or geo-restricted content.
However, if the user’s goal is a high-speed scraping mission, a data center proxy would suit them more. Unlike their residential counterpart, the IPs for these proxies originate in data centers. As a result, they are faster and more innovative, making them perfect for scraping sessions. In addition, proxies using advanced protocols like SOCKs are also available for users looking for more secure browsing and traffic flow.
The main benefit of this tech is that proxies are cheaper than VPNs. This cost-effectiveness makes them applicable across large networks. When compared, even paid proxies are more accessible than premium VPNs. However, buyers should look at the various types of proxies available before purchasing.
Types of Proxy Servers
Proxies are also more versatile, and their range allows for various applications. For example, some of the most well-known variants are back-connect proxies using protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, or SOCKS. Popularly known as rotating proxies, this type of purchase allows users to access multiple IPs.
The ”rotating” portion of their moniker is added as users can “rotate” between these IPs. Since these are from the same source/hood, these proxies can be interchanged to suit the requirements of the host environment. Rotating or back connect proxies thus allow users to leverage the parameters of the IP rotating system.
In comparison, static proxies are a simple version of the tech. These do not contain a rotating mechanism. Instead, these fulfill the basic substituting principle of a proxy with just a single IP.
Types of Protocols/Servers Used in Proxies
The speed, reliability, and effectiveness of proxies, on a large scale, depend on the protocols/servers used in the IP. Among these, the following are the most common and well-known servers.
Most proxies use a simple and easy HTTP-based server as it can help save on traffic data. A proxy using this protocol follows the textbook way to access the content. For example, say a user wants to see a page or site or visit a certain URL. Instead of visiting the host server directly, they make a request to the HTTP proxy.
In turn, the server provides its own IP in place of the users and helps generate the search results. After receiving the result, it translates the answer back to the original requester.
Thus an HTTP server lets users access their desired content without giving out their private IP details. When generating the results, the proxy also stores a cached version for later access. Essential information like videos, images, text files, illustrations, and more are saved in the proxy cache.
The server provides the latest cached version whenever any user asks to access this site. This system helps users save on data costs. The loading speeds are also higher when accessing an HTTP-cached page.
This caching capability is the biggest USP for this type of server. HTTP-based proxies can therefore help access pages even with low-speed networks using this function. In addition, since cached pages use less data than fully optimized sites, they can be viewed more easily.
In addition, HTTP proxies also offer benefits like
- Enhance browsing anonymity and security by creating a site blacklist. Users can restrict access to suspicious-looking sites or those containing malware.
- Make reporting easier by maintaining work logs for users.
Since they are similar in build, an HTTPS server can also be understood as an upgraded version of an HTTP proxy. Like the latter, HTTPS protocols are based on typical intermediary data access. Users have to go through a proxy to view pages. During the process, their private IP info is swapped for a static or rotating one chosen by the server.
However, HTTP servers process and moderate traffic data between users and the host servers as they are. Compared to this, HTTPS proxies use encrypted data to ensure higher security. This encrypted algorithm is used when dealing with sensitive information such as passwords, banking details, etc.
The traffic passed to and fro between the user and the host server is processed and encrypted using powerful, robust data protection algorithms. As a result, HTTPS-based proxies make it almost impossible to intercept and decrypt sensitive data. This type of server also offers the same caching benefits as HTTP proxies.