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What is a proxy server?

It is hard to imagine any modern company which does not utilize the World Wide Web. Many of them choose to use proxy servers to protect personal information. What is a proxy server and how does it affect the anonymity level, privacy, and work speed when using it?

Getting acquainted with a proxy server

Even those users who resort to proxy services often do not fully understand what it is and how this technology works. A web proxy is an intermediate server acting as an intermediary between your computer and other Internet resources. In general, it is more powerful and utilizes fast dedicated lines connecting it to the World Wide Web.

There are several types of proxy servers:

- HTTP-proxy;

- Socks-proxy;

- CGI-proxy, also identified as anonymizers;

- FTP-proxy.

Additionally, a proxy server can be paid or free. As a rule, free proxies do not provide fast connections. In addition, there are too few of them, and their stability is far from perfect. Paid ones are relatively inexpensive but by paying this money, users are provided with excellent speed, effective caching and no failures.

If you want to understand what a proxy is, you can imagine the following common scenario. Say you must deliver cash to the bank. Certainly, you can do it in person like putting money into your briefcase and using your own car or public transport to get there. But it is far more convenient to resort to cash collection services thus ensuring faster and safer cash assets delivery. Replacing money for data in this example, you can realize one of the proxy server advantages: high-speed data transfer.

Some companies, employing a large number of people, are bound to constantly refer to the same resources often experiencing delays in data transfer. A proxy server is able to solve this issue as well, as most often requested pages can be stored directly on it.

What is an anonymous proxy server for?

Internet users often have to bypass bans based on the companies’ IPs or geographic locations. A proxy server makes it possible to easily avoid any restrictions. You can work from home or office, located in Warsaw, but no one will be able to pinpoint you are currently in Poland.

Utilizing a proxy server, you can freely enter any forum services where access for your country is blocked, visit regional online stores, designed only for a particular country, get access to music, movies, and games.

A proxy server is a convenient tool for testing various online services operational efficiency: you can personally make sure to what extent your resource is accessible and convenient to use or how consultants and administrators perform their duties. The possibility to anonymously visit your competitors’ websites is no less valuable, provided you are much interested in information about their product range, models, and promotions.

Many online resources are trying to collect as much information as possible about their website visitors. In case you do not want your IP, provider, host country and operating system to become available to others, use a proxy server. This will reduce chances of hacker attacks and your personal information misuse by abusers.

Effective access filtering

Proxy is also needed for controlling incoming and outgoing traffic. You can configure the connection to control each employee’s access to certain resources or block unwanted websites. Besides, you can restrict traffic, as well as terminate ads and viruses (most proxy servers provide effective antivirus software).

Another important advantage is protecting the corporate LAN from external access. Third-party computers will see a proxy server exclusively. This will eliminate likeliness of industrial espionage, data leakage, and any other unpleasant surprises. However, your company’s computers will have fully functional fast Internet access via a proxy server.

What is the difference between a proxy server and VPN?

When connection speed is not so important for you as security and anonymity on the Internet, there are several solutions, and one of the most popular is VPN. If you are not sure what option of the two available will best meet your requirements, it will be useful for you to know the difference between a proxy server and VPN.

The fundamental difference between the two methods is a data transfer mode: VPN utilizes 128-bit encryption and proxy connection provides open data transmission. Paid client-side software is typically installed to use VPN.

According to some indices (like privacy, security, compatibility with various operating systems), VPN has a higher rating. But this kind of service is much more expensive for companies to use. If you need to maintain high-speed Internet connection and conceal your IP address, a proxy server will suffice. But for maximum data protection in your local network or its transfer to other resources, it is not worth saving on added security measures.

Nonetheless, proxy servers provide considerable potential as well. You can personally choose a country and a city from the list, as well as change the selected server after a while.

Some providers offer integrated services, so customers do not have to ponder what is better – a proxy server or VPN. Such bundled services are in demand among organizations and companies which carry out activities arousing heightened interest among hackers. Services which create and maintain extensive customer databases, credit companies, private detective agencies belong to the risk group.

In case you have become interested in information about proxy server functions and features, you can personally evaluate their efficiency. In fact, submitting an application and configuring will take very little time indeed.

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