How Do Proxies Work?

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Whether you look for solutions to improve online security, protect sensitive data, hide online identity, or change your IP address, proxies will come out as one of the possible solutions. 

However, before you pick a technology to solve a problem or overcome a challenge, you need to learn a few things about it.

Today we are going to put proxies under our scope. We will explain what proxies are, how they work, discover the most important types of proxies, and how businesses can benefit from using proxies.

What is a Proxy? 

A proxy is a device that acts as an intermediary between you and the world wide web. It’s often a server, but it can be a mobile or desktop device as well. When you access the online content, you directly connect to target websites or online service providers. 

A proxy enables you to connect to online websites and use online services but through an intermediary. You send a request to a proxy, it takes that request and forwards it to a website. Simply put, your entire internet traffic flows through another device. The main question “what is a proxy?” is answered, so now let’s dig deeper into how proxies work. 

How Proxies Function 

Online connections are based on internet protocol. Every online device has a unique Internet Protocol Address, often referred to as an IP address. It lets the website know where to send packages of data once you make a request. 

We’ve already established that a proxy is an online device, and it has an IP address of its own. When you try to access online content while using one, you send a request to a proxy. It then takes your request and forwards it to a target website. The website sends data back to the proxy, and it sends the data to you. 

During this juggling of data and requests, your true IP address remains hidden. The proxy assigns a new IP address to your request so that if traced, data packages can’t lead back to you. 

Most Important Types of Proxies 

There are many types of proxies out there. If you are new in the proxy field, it’s important to know the most important types, including the following:

  • Residential proxies – these proxies use IP addresses of real devices connected to the internet.
  • Datacenter proxies – these proxies provide users with a pool of artificially generated non-physical IP addresses.
  • Rotating proxies – these proxies are capable of assigning a new IP address to every request you make.
  • Private proxies – private proxies are owned by proxy service providers and can only be used by their clients.
  • Public proxies – public proxies can be accessed by anyone, but they are by far the unsafest proxy type.

Use Cases

Although a simple solution, proxy technology has found many use cases. Here are the most important ones. 

Bypassing geo-blocked content

Many websites put their content or services behind a geo-block. If you have an IP from a country that is on the list of blocked countries, you won’t be able to access it. With a proxy, you can get a desirable IP address and get access to the blocked content.

Higher level of privacy

A proxy enables you to access online content without using your authentic IP address. Your online behavior can’t be traced back to you, which significantly increases the level of online privacy. 

Better security

If cyber criminals manage to get hold of your IP address, they can look for vulnerabilities in your system and exploit them. They can steal your data or hijack your data and ask for a ransom to give it back. With your IP hidden, you will significantly improve online security.

Better bandwidth control

Finally, a proxy can help you limit bandwidth to each user to achieve better bandwidth distribution and ensure good connection speed to all users.

Business Benefits of Using Proxies

While businesses often use proxies, not all of them use them to achieve the same goal. Some of the business benefits of using proxies include:

  • Better privacy and security – Proxies can prevent costly data breaches by hiding IP addresses.
  • Streamlined data scraping operation – data scraping is a sensitive task, and it has to be carried out anonymously, something only a proxy can deliver.
  • Balanced traffic – a proxy can help you manage bandwidth and take complete control over employee internet usage.

Conclusion

Both businesses and individuals use proxies, and it’s not very hard to grasp how they operate. Because of their specific capabilities, proxies have ensured their spot in the world of tech. They have many unique use cases and can help businesses run data scraping operations, achieve better security, and manage internet usage internally.

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