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What Is A Proxy Server And How To Use It

IT Biz Today Staff

Each time you access a website or connect with anyone online, your online connection will hand over your computer’s IP address site you are connected to. Not all of us would be aware of this fact.

The computer address is handed over to ensure that the device at the other end knows how to send information back to your computer. This address is your public IP address and IP stands for Internet Protocol.

Unless you have an IP address, you will not be able to perform any activity on the internet and the people online will not be able to reach you. Therefore, an IP address is the key to stay connected with the world.

What Is The Source Of Your IP Address?

The IP address of your internet connection comes from your internet service provider. While you browse the internet or use an app with your smartphone, it also uses an IP address.

People who aren’t too familiar about IP addresses and their purpose are content with the way it works. But not everyone is in the same state of mind.

Below are some facts about IP addresses that seem to bother some people.

  • Websites may use your IP address to block their content from you.
  • Your IP address facilitates the identification of your location sometimes even to the most basic level.
  • It also ties your home address and name with your IP address. This is because someone would be paying for the internet connection at a specific location.

There are a few means to get around these realities. One such measure is to use a proxy server.

Proxy Acts As A Substitute

Proxy grants you a different IP address identity and lets you go online using it.

You don’t need to switch to a new internet provider. You can just go online and search for “list of proxies”. You will get the names of many websites that provide free proxies.

Finding proxies is quite simple like how you buy shoes and movie tickets online. However, figuring out the ways to use one may not be that easy for everyone without the proper guidance.

How Does A Proxy Server Work?

A computer on the internet that redirects your internet browsing activity is called a proxy server. Here is what a proxy server means:

  • Normally, as you type in the website name, your internet service provider will make a request on your behalf and connect you with the destination. It then reveals your IP address as mentioned in the previous session.
  • The requests you make online are rerouted using a proxy.
  • When using a proxy, your online request reaches your ISP from your computer as usual but later it is sent to the website through the proxy server. Here the proxy server makes use of the IP address that you selected in your set up and masks your real IP address.

Why Should You Use A Proxy Server?

Here are some reasons why people use a proxy and why you might want to try it.

  • Schools and libraries may block certain websites and students may want to get around it.
  • You might want to access something on the internet that interests you but you may not want it to be traced back to your location and IP address.
  • You have gone to some foreign country and the technology in that country does not allow you to connect to the websites you used back home.
  • You may want to post comments on websites without your identity being tracked down or your IP address being identified.
  • Your employer has blocked access to social media websites but you wish to get around those restrictions set by the employer.

Why Shouldn’t You Use A Proxy Server?

Keep in mind that your employer, ISP, and other networks may be against the idea of you using a proxy. You have ways to use it does not mean you should use one. In some cases, websites even blacklist those IP addresses that they suspect to originate from a proxy server.

All Proxies Aren’t The Same

Even though all proxies are designed to get you through websites that would otherwise be difficult to access, not all work in the same way.  A proxy server can belong to any of the four categories discussed below.

  • Transparent proxy: This is a type of proxy that reveals to websites that it is a proxy server. These proxies also pass along your IP address.
  • Anonymous proxy: It identifies itself as a proxy but at no cost passes your IP address to the website.
  • Distorting proxy:  These proxies identify themselves as a proxy, however, they pass an incorrect IP address.
  • High anonymity proxy:  Both your IP address and the proxy remain secrets. All that the connecting website sees is a random IP address connecting to it.

Like mentioned before, it is quite easy to find proxy servers for free. However, you should have enough awareness about the risks involved because a proxy may not have the level of safety and security you require.

Like you do with everything online, do some research first before making use of the proxy server.


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