A proxy is considered a middleman or gateway between any device that you may be using, and the internet. A proxy accepts, processes, and then forwards requests and then brings data back to the device from those requests as well.
While this is a pretty blanket, simple definition of a proxy, there are many different types of proxies out there that can help you with different tasks. Each is configured differently and comes with its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.
Proxies are the foundation of networks, online services, and websites. This means that people use proxies for a whole lot of different things. The main advantage of proxies is that they can change your IP address. They can also protect large websites from hackers, and they can even authenticate public Wi-Fi, so it is more secure for the user.
Warning: Your Personal Details Are Visible
Your IP: 188.8.131.52
Country: United States
ISP: Amazon.com, Inc.
This is your personal data that ANYONE can view.
The only way to protect yourself fully is with a VPN. A proxy can provide some protection, but a VPN is a more complete solution and will ensure your privacy.
What Do People Use Proxies For?
1. Avoid Geo-Restrictions
One of the most common reasons that people use proxies is to avoid geographic restrictions on servers. There are a lot of websites online that limit access based on where you are in the world. Through IP servers, they can easily detect where you’re located.
When you use a good quality proxy, you can hide your IP address, and even change it to make it seem like you’re elsewhere. This means that you can potentially access any website that’s been restricted based on geographic location.
2. Increase Security and Protect Privacy
The internet is a pretty volatile place, which means that people are always on the lookout for the best way to use it privately without sharing personal information like usernames and passwords. In fact, your IP server is one of the most important pieces of information you have, because it immediately locates you in the world, and which internet service provider you’re on.
You can think of being on the internet without a proxy as the same thing as going around with your passport on show for everyone to see. Hackers commonly use people’s IP servers to break into the device that they’re using and steal their data. Proxies are a great way to prevent this type of privacy violation and hide your server.
3. Avoid Bans and Firewalls
Workplaces, schools, and sometimes entire countries ban or block specific websites. However, their blocks and firewalls are no match for proxies, so you can connect to your favorite websites no matter where you are.
This works so well because the firewall can no longer work out what your goal of being online is – all they can see is that you’re connecting to the server. The proxy server then subtly connects to the target website, and you receive the data.
It will look like the data is coming from the proxy, which is why it’s difficult for the firewall to detect your true location.
4. Automate Online Activity
Being more efficient online is what everyone wants to achieve, but of course, it’s a lot easier said than done. As the internet continues to get bigger and bigger, it’s becoming more and more difficult to do things the old-fashioned manual way.
For example, you can’t successfully run a travel company online without some type of software that can quickly flick through all available flight prices.
Of course, the websites where you find the flight prices have to protect their data from hackers, which is why they will ban your server if you’ve been on their website too frequently in a short amount of time.
Proxies can mask your IP server, giving you access again to the website. The best type of proxies for this activity are ones that offer rotating servers, which means that they will swap your IP address out every now and then to avoid detection. This is a great way to automate this type of activity online without being banned for it.
5. Gather Data and Use More Than One Account
Big companies, especially marketing agencies, often have hundreds of different social media profiles that they have to manage every day. For example, if they have to manage hundreds of Facebook accounts, they will need to make thousands of search engine queries every day.
As you may have guessed, it’s near impossible to do this just through one single IP address, because Google and Facebook have restrictions around this many connections.
Only robust, solid proxy servers can help companies like this scale their services to make everything a lot more efficient.
What Services Can You Use Proxies With?
Proxies come in different forms, and you can use proxies with all sorts of services and platforms, including, but not limited to; the following:
- 4G Mobile
The Compatibility of Proxies
The majority of browsers out there are compatible with proxies. This means that whether you’re using Firefox, Chrome, Android, Safari, or iPhone, you will be able to find proxies that can help you connect to the internet safely. This also means that you can choose to use proxies either through your phone or on your desktop, too.
How to Begin Using a Proxy
It doesn’t take long to set yourself up with a proxy provider. First, you will need to register. Then, you will need to choose which plan suits your needs. Once you’ve done this, you will make the purchase, then have access to hundreds of different proxy options.
There are some great proxy companies out there that can help you with all your different proxy needs, with their priority being the security of your data, and helping you stay anonymous.
So, now that you know all about proxies and how they work, you can start using them for your every day online activity. While you can get by without them, it’s generally ill-advised. The internet is a pretty unpredictable place, which means that you’re more vulnerable than you may realize.
If you’re executing tasks and activity that puts your personal information at risk, then we highly recommend that you try out a proxy. The vast majority of companies out there will also let you try their proxy servers for free, too, before you commit to anything. Remember, too, that if a proxy is free, it’s free for a reason.