Being unable to access the sites you love just because someone doesn’t want you to is really annoying. Fortunately, you don’t have to allow Big Brother to make these decisions for you. Instead of silently agreeing with your employer’s, school’s, or any other organization’s policy of restricting your Internet access, you can just reroute your web traffic via a go-between server. Yes, that’s where a proxy server comes into play. In this article, we’ll cover the definition of proxy servers, their ultimate benefits, and drawbacks, as well as touch upon the fundamentals of their functionality.
Proxy Server: Simple Definition
A proxy server works as a gateway or bridge between you and the World Wide Web. Usually, when you use your web browser to surf online, you connect with a particular website directly. But when you use a Canada proxy (or any other kind), it functions as an intermediary separating you from the sites you visit — for the purpose of preserving your anonymity and hiding your IP address.
So, basically, serving as intermediaries, proxy servers assist you in safeguarding your privacy and intensifying the security of your local system. Below, you’ll find some more functions of proxy servers:
- they serve as firewalls and web filers: they are capable of protecting you from potentially malicious websites and hackers;
- they help you share internet connections: you can either funnel all your office gadgets through that single connection or opt for using a Wi-Fi router instead;
- they aid you in caching your websites; therefore, those sites will open a lot faster in the long run.
You are now probably curious about the distinction between proxy servers and VPNs. We’ll satisfy your curiosity right away. Aren’t the two concepts identical? Not entirely. Both proxies and VPNs are intermediaries within your online surfing world. That’s where their similar features fade and the differences appear. While proxies are focused on merely forwarding your traffic to its destination, VPNs encrypt all traffic between your device and the server.
The Pros & Cons of Proxy Servers
Aside from unblocking your favorite Netflix content and enhancing your open WiFi network security, proxy servers come with a lot more benefits both for most people and business leaders. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the major advantages of making the most of proxy servers:
- Your IP address stays undisclosed. No doubt, it’s one of the best proxy server perks. It means you can surf the net fairly anonymously, without revealing your real identity. Remember that your IP address carries an ample source of information about you and can be used by hackers against you. Therefore, hiding it is a preferable choice.
- You can freely access location-specific/restricted websites. Alas, a multitude of websites is geo-restricted, mostly due to network and copyright policies. With a solid proxy server in use, you get to access any content limitlessly. Needless to say that proxy servers aid you in bypassing network limitations at work or school.
- Your page loading speed gets improved. Since proxy servers cache data, the sites you’ve already visited load faster when you open them again.
- Proxy servers filter out dangerous places on the web. Another superb proxy server advantage is that they can serve as a firewall between your network and the rest of the internet. Without a proxy server, hackers can access your IP address and even your PC in the blink of an eye. Using proxy servers doesn’t guarantee full protection, but with them, you definitely get to browse the web a lot more safely.
So, what about the drawbacks of using proxy servers? Find a quick overview below:
- Big Brother may not stop watching you. Oh yes, but when it comes to the online world, it’s only natural. The thing is, even though a proxy server excels in masking your IP address, some providers may actually monitor your activity and collect personal data. To prevent this from happening, research on a proxy provider prior to giving their service a go.
- You might end up without an encrypted connection. Even though most proxy servers offer a worthy level of protection, many of them fail to encrypt your connection. With that said, opt for a proxy server that offers reliable connection encryption.
- The proxy you choose can be incompatible with your local connection. Both the proxy and the network come with their own configurations. Therefore, to utilize a proxy server within your local network, you may have to either configure it or choose a service that boasts impeccable compatibility with your local system.
The Basics of Surfing the Net ‘by Proxy’
The software and devices in the online world work either as clients or servers. For example, your browser is a client requesting data from an array of servers. When you land on a website via your browser, data is requested from the server of that website.
Once the request is fielded, the server responds with the needed data. Every website comes with a server (or servers) that open it within your browser. The notion behind this process is known as traffic.
Without a proxy server, your PC or smartphone will establish a direct connection with the servers, thus disclosing your identity. In case you’re reluctant to make your online persona that vulnerable, let a trusted proxy deal with the traffic instead of your computer or mobile phone. Think of this proxy server as an intermediary between the internet and your device. In the long run, your PC will connect only to the proxy, while the proxy will further cope with transmitting data to the rest of the net.
Long Story Short: Opt for Maximum Protection
At the end of the day, if you’re on the prowl for putting up protective barriers between your real identity and the rest of the web, stick with either of these solutions: proxy servers, VPNs, or Tor Browser. Naturally, each of them has its own perks and drawbacks. Bookmark our website for more posts on the topic. You’re very welcome to speak your mind in the message box below.
If you want to be notified when we post more quality guides like this one, sign up to our free subscription service and you will receive an email when a new post is live.
No need to worry, we will not be filling your inbox with spam and you can unsubscribe anytime you like.