Browsers track web activity. Anything we click, any site we visit, or any preference we select, the browser we use remembers them. Aside from browsing activity, browsers also keep track of user location. These help browsers allow or prevent access to different sites.
But there’s a way to access blocked sites and hide your identity online. People who want to keep their information hidden and access blocked sites usually use proxy servers. Let’s find out what a proxy server is, how it works, and the different types of proxies available in this helpful article.
How Do Proxy Servers Work?
Proxy servers act as a bridge, a connection between you and a target website. Usually, when you surf the web, you use a browser to reach the site you want to visit. The browser hooks to the proxy with an online proxy server, which then forwards web traffic to the site you want to check out. A web proxy will receive the site’s response and send this response back.
The term “proxy” refers to anyone that a person authorized to act on his behalf. You can proxy someone to attend a meeting for you or to receive a package from a courier. The same goes for a proxy server. It fills the role of a browser to connect to the website you want to visit.
Different Kinds of Proxy Servers
There are many kinds of proxies. Web proxies are the most common, which forwards HTTP requests. Meanwhile, datacenter proxies are from cloud server providers and not connected with an ISP. These proxies provide private IP checks and complete anonymity. There are also high-speed proxies or reasonable proxies that are cheaper and practical. The following are the most common kinds of proxy servers.
- Reverse Proxy Servers
A reverse proxy server or a reverse proxy web server is for load balancing. It is between the user and web servers and acts as a forward proxy.
But unlike forwarding proxies, which guard web users’ privacy from the front, reverse proxies are at the front of web servers. At this position, the proxy can intercept any request. In short, a reverse proxy protects the server while a forward proxy acts for the client or user.
Like a mediator, a reverse proxy server interacts with the users, so these users don’t communicate with the servers. It works in load balancing as it balances user requests depending on the location and the demand. This helps provide an added layer of security.
Reverse proxies can disguise origin servers. These can distribute requests to different servers and compress content. It is helpful in testing, improving security, and enhancing requests delivery within a local area network.
- Web Proxy Servers
A web proxy server is a gateway between a client application and a server. This proxy requests to the server for the client. Web proxy servers filter client requests and enhance performance.
Web proxies help users control internet access at work or home. It allows users to browse the web privately by changing IP addresses and other data found in your computer system. Also, web proxies protect users by keeping their personal information hidden.
You can use web proxies to access blocked websites due to your location. These can also enhance speeds and save users on limited bandwidth subscriptions.
- Anonymous Proxy Servers
Also called an anonymizer, this kind of proxy can make any web activity untraceable. An anonymous proxy acts as a relay between the user and the target website. It keeps your identity hidden by hiding your IP address from the site and preventing the user’s location encryption.
Meanwhile, high anonymity proxies will keep your original IP address hidden. Your identity becomes impossible to detect; the proxy itself is challenging to detect as a proxy.
- Transparent Proxy Servers
Instead of hiding the original IP address, transparent proxy servers show the IP address. Transparent proxies are common in websites used as caches. When used with a gateway, this proxy server redirects the user’s IP connection without configuring the user’s IP address.
Another name for a transparent proxy is an intercepting proxy, forged proxy, and inline proxy. This type of proxy is for businesses that carry out communication policies and prevent TCP server attacks.
- Distorting Proxy Servers
Once detected as a proxy server, distorting proxy servers create fake original IP addresses. This preserves your identity and maintains confidentiality by using HTTP headers on the user’s IP address.
- CGI Proxy Servers
A CGI proxy enhances website accessibility. This proxy accepts requests to access target sites through a web form. It processes this request form and delivers the result to the browser. This type of proxy server is not as popular because of existing privacy policies and VPNs.
- TOR (The Onion Router) Onion Proxy Servers
With a TOR onion proxy, users can guarantee ultimate online anonymity. This proxy routes traffic using various worldwide networks, so locating the user’s address is very difficult. This further prevents attacks and other dangerous activities.
This proxy uses onion routing, where user information is encrypted in many layers. From the destination, every layer undergoes decryption to avoid distorting or scrambling of data. Onion proxies are available as open-source software and free to use.
- I2P Anonymous Proxy Servers
The I2P anonymous proxy server is an improved TOR onion proxy. This uses data encryption to mask all communicated data at different levels. After data encryption, this transfers through other network routers in various locations. Like onion proxies, I2P anonymous proxies are free to use and open-source.
- DNS Proxy Servers
DNS proxy receives requests through DNS queries and takes these to the server. The queries are cached from the domain server, and thus, the movement of all the requests is redirected to different servers.
Proxy servers keep your online browsing anonymous at different levels. Some proxies prevent the exposure of the security information of other users and the network. Some follow different routing protocols to perform different uses. Some offer varying protection levels. Get to know the various proxy servers, how these work in keeping your identity safe online before you take the service.