Proxy server is a computer that acts as gateway in between a local network (e.g., all the computers at one company or in one building) and a larger-scale network such as the Internet. Proxy servers provide increased performance and security. Often, these are used to monitor users access to the outsite network.
Proxy Server operates by being in between sender and receiver. All incoming data enters through one port and is forwarded to rest of the network through another port. Blocking direct access in between two networks, proxy servers make it difficult for hackers to get access to local network.
Some proxy servers are a group of applications or servers that block common Internet services. A proxy server uses a network addressing scheme to present one organization-wide IP address to the Internet. The server funnels all user requests to the Internet and returns responses to the appropriate users. In addition to restricting access from outside, this mechanism can prevent inside users from reaching specific Internet resources (e.g., certain web sites).
Proxies may also cache web pages. As a user accesses a outsite resource, a temporary copy is saved locally. The next time a user requests the same URL, the proxy serves the local copy, improving performance.
Other Uses of Proxy Servers:
The above was the usage of proxies in a local area network. Very commonly, people use proxy servers for multiple other purposes as well. Such as, to access region-restricted content. For example, someone from Africa trying to access Hulu content won't be able to. But by connecting to Hulu through a US Proxy, they can bypass that restriction. Similarly if you live in the U.S. and want to access iPlayer of BBC to view their content. They will need to connect to a proxy with UK IP address to do it.
Very common utilization of Proxy Servers is to circumvent censorship in places where internet access is blocked and/or monitored.
The use of proxies by criminals is also very common to hide their real location. To strengthen their anonymity, often they use more than one proxy in chan. . Malware roaming the net trying to find vulnerable systems, would find only the proxy which usually will be well guarded against threats. Security researchers also love proxies. While trying to break into the criminal network, the last thing you want is to give them your home address. People concerned about their privacy use anonymous proxies to to secure their information. Accessing internet without anonymous proxies exposes your IP address and other information to the open which can be used to hack your computer, steal banking and credit card information, and even hijack your identity. This information may include credit card information, financial accounts information etc
Web based Proxy to Bypass Restrictions:
A web proxy accepts required URLs into a Web form on the main page of proxy site, processes the request, and returns the result in the browser window. Consequently it is used to circumvent internet censors and retrieve the blocked resource to the restricted user.
Web based proxies might or might not conceal the user's IP address depending on whether the proxy has been setup to perform this function or not. To ensure anonymity, normally you may not rely on the free proxies. People taking their privacy seriously go with the option of paid proxies or VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). VPNs charge quite low. I have been using to be anonymous and safe on internet is VPN Ace. They offer no obligation trial to test run the services before committing.
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