/

What is a Proxy Server and How Does it Work? (2022 Guide)

23 mins read

In this digital world of ours today, it is easy to access prohibited websites with the use of proxy servers. Lucas Henderson explains what a proxy server means and how it works in this guide.

What is a Proxy Server?

A proxy is simply a server application that works as an intermediary between you(the client desiring a resource ) and the server providing the resource.

How Does a Proxy Server Work?

Rather than having a direct connection to a server that can accomplish a request for a resource, such as a file or a web page, the client directs the request to the proxy server, which analyzes the request and performs the required network transactions.

This serves as a way to simplify the complexity of the request or provide additional benefits such as load balancing, privacy, or security.

In short, a proxy functions on behalf of the client when requesting service, potentially masking the true origin of the request to the resource server.

What is a proxy server

Is VPN a proxy server?

No, a VPN isn’t a proxy server. Understanding what a proxy server is about can be confusing as many users easily confuse it with being the same as a virtual private network (VPN). There are differences between both, yet similarities exist.

Is There A Way To Hide An IP Address?

The two basic ways to hide your IP address are through VPN and Proxy. Another accepted way is the use of the Tor browser. This one is used for extreme anonymization. However, it is slow, and most users consider it unnecessary.

What Is A Ghost Proxy?

Ghost proxy control (GRC) is an extension made for ghost browsers that allow you to assign a different proxy to each tab, workspace, or identity in this browser. These proxies make it appear that you are in the same location as the proxy server.

Does Proxy Hide From ISP?

Some users prefer to route their traffic through a proxy server. The essence of the proxy servers is that they can help you access geo-restricted websites and hide your search history from the ISP.

By the way, proxies do not encrypt your traffic, leaving you to be vulnerable to other attacks.

How Many Proxies Do I Need For Web Scraping?

If you want to scrape 50 pages of a website simultaneously, you will need 50 different proxy servers so you will not be detected as spam because of your mass requests.

Do I Need A Proxy For Web Scraping?

There are many reasons why proxy servers are essential for web scraping. In this section, we explained more about using a proxy server for web scraping. Using a proxy or a pool of proxies allows you to crawl a website more reliably. This will reduce the chance of you getting banned.

How Are Proxies Used For Individual And Business Purposes?

Any proxy server can serve as a firewall and filter. The internet user or a business administrator can pick a proxy to protect data and privacy.

This evaluates the data going in and out of your computer. It then helps prevent you from having to expose your personal information to the world.

The only visible address visible to the hackers is the proxy IP address. Without your IP address, people on the internet cannot directly access your data, information, schedules, application, or files.

With that being done, web requests go to the proxy server, which then sends requests and receives what you want from the internet.

If the server has encryption ability, passwords and other personal information get an extra tier of protection. These are some of the things proxies are used for.

Proxy Server

Accessibility 

You can use a proxy server, especially a US proxy, to associate with another country. You can make it look like you are in that country and get access to all the content allowed there.

Effective Security

Proxy servers like a US proxy server can act as a firewall between your computer and the internet. Hackers would have had easy access to your data without this proxy.

Prevent Employees From Browsing Inappropriate Or Distracting Sites

You can use it to disallow access to websites that are against your organization’s principles. Also, you can block sites that distract employees from important tasks.

Some organizations or companies block social media sites and movie-watching sites to allow their employees to focus.

Privacy And Security Issues While Using a Proxy Server

Here, we are discussing the privacy and security issues you can encounter that you have not been aware of. Users on the net are so vulnerable to security issues concerning online privacy. These are some of the issues;

Spying and Snooping 

Several trackers are spying on your activities the moment you go online for different purposes. There are various means by which these trackers take note of your internet activities and keep a record of your search history.

This gives them a clear idea of who you are and your interests, which is an infringement of privacy, thereby making you public property.

Usually, this tracking is for advertisement and allows advertisers to bring products to you according to taste or preference.

However, cybercriminals have taken advantage of this to carry out unauthorized and illegal activities that might harm you and your online existence.

Information Mishandling 

Various websites on the internet need your personal information to run the services you requested; most times, these sites store your personal information and cookies for later use for different purposes.

At times, this vital information is not encrypted and can be easily accessed by anyone, which may lead to serious consequences.

The contemporary mode of online banking and online business portals have drastically increased the risk of letting out personal information, paving the way for intruders and cybercrime.

Location Tracking 

This, among others, is another major issue related to internet privacy and security issues. It is always fun to share life experiences with family and friends, but this data does not remain restricted to them alone.

Some social media apps, maps, and internet applications often ask you to turn on your location.

When you adhere to turning it on, you have exposed first-hand information about where exactly you are at that particular time which is certainly risky and insecure because you do not know who is watching.

How Do I Choose a Proxy Server?

Below are things to consider when choosing proxies:

Reliability Of The Seller

If you’re looking to buy proxy servers, you must look into the legitimacy and reliability of the companies you want to transact with.

As a user, it would be irresponsible to use a proxy server and not do your due diligence about the particular brand offering the service.

There are many scams on the internet; unfortunately, we have them in the proxy industry. Some of the proxies offered are malicious and using these servers, your privacy and even important information regarding you are compromised.

Cost

An adage says, “you can’t get anything good for free.” This might not be entirely true in some cases, but it holds water regarding proxies.

There’s a high probability that a free proxy would come with encryption and security risks.

Pricing is vital, but you shouldn’t base your decision solely on this factor.

Some proxy servers may seem pretty expensive but are worthwhile. Look out for a proxy price that matches its performance.

Users Reviews

What are other users saying about it? Ask yourself that question before buying or using any proxy server.

Remarks or reviews from other users or trusted websites such as TSC about a proxy provider will help you make the right choice.

How To Hide Your IP Address With A Proxy

Nowadays, most people who use the internet do not know that everything you do online can be tracked.

That is why advertisement networks bring ads for anything you may have once searched for or predict products you might be interested in.

The brain behind the tracking is your IP address. The IP address is like several identities connected to the computer that tells you websites where the internet traffic is coming from.

This helps Google keep a massive record of your search history by connecting those searches to your IP address. This has also helped websites to cut you off from content that is not allowed in your geographical location.

Fortunately for internet users, there are ways you can hide your IP address to maintain your privacy and security on the internet.

IP

There are different methods by which a user can hide his/her/their IP address. Some of the best ways you can hide or change them include;

  1. The use of a VPN
  2. The use of mobile data
  3. The use of proxy service
  4. The use of the Tor browser

Out of these four means of hiding your IP address, shreds of evidence have shown that the best of them all to hide your IP address is to use a virtual private network (VPN), as it is the safest and most reliable way to hide it.

However, the article will focus on how to hide your IP address with a proxy server. Using proxy servers can be quite easy, quick, and free but not always secure and private every time.

How Can You Hide Your IP Address Using The Web Proxy Server?

  1. The first thing you need to do is to download a proxy browser extension or safe web proxy. You can have a computer expert recommend one for you.
  2. Input the URL of your desired website.
  3. The website will only see the IP address of the proxy server.

A proxy server serves as a middleman between the internet user and the internet. When you use the internet with a web proxy server, your traffic is routed to the proxy server before it goes to the requested website.

The proxy server then visits the website and your behalf and brings you its content. The website will have the record of the proxy’s IP address and not your own.

Good proxy servers give a range of server locations to choose the desired location you want to browse from.

Advantages Of Using A Proxy Server To Hide Your IP Address?

Here are two major advantages of using a proxy server from anywhere. They include both Anonymity and Protection.

Anonymity

The first advantage is that it can help you hide your IP address from specific websites. Proxy has been used basically for hiding IP addresses. In this case, any hacker trying to hack your computer will be unable to do so.

While accessing your computer, the proxy server’s IP address will be visible instead of the real IP address.

Aside from that, the websites will not be able to track you since the original IP is not visible to them.

Protection

While you are using the net, there is a high chance you may end up entering malicious websites. You will definitely need a proxy server to protect you from websites you don’t trust.

Perhaps if you visit such a site, the malware will sneakily enter your system, causing irreversible damage.

However, there are numerous questionable websites set up by hackers. Visiting one of them will end up putting your personal information at risk.

When you are using a proxy server, your system will not make a claim directly to those sites. The proxy server will always be facing the threats imposed by such sites.

Other advantages include:

  • Another advantage is that it can quickly bypass geo-blocks and restricted contents.
  • The proxy server is usually free and easy to use.
  • Proxy servers can also help you to overcome IP address blocks.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Using A Proxy Server To Hide Your IP Address?

You might want to reconsider using a proxy server to hide your IP address after reading about some disadvantages of using a proxy server.

  1. The first disadvantage is that the traffic is not secure and is not encrypted. ISPs, schools, and workplaces can see your internet activities.
  2. Another fault is that it can only redirect traffic from your browser window.
  3. It can also be unreliable and lag when the server is overcrowded.

Why Do I Need a Proxy Server for Web Scraping?

Web scraping, which also bears data scraping or web data extraction, gives users options to access structured web data in an automated way.

It is useful to get data from public websites that do not have an API. Using a proxy server to scape the web only makes your work easier.

Before explaining how to use a proxy server for web scraping is given, let’s understand what web scraping is all about.

It would make you understand better why using proxy servers for web scraping is very effective.

What Is Web Scraping? 

Web scraping is how structured web data is collected in an automated form. It is also known as web data extraction.

Some main use cases include price monitoring, price intelligence, lead generation, news monitoring, market research, etc.

Generally, web scraping is used by individuals and businesses who want to use the numerous publicly available web data to make smarter decisions.

In some cases, you might have copied, and pasted information from a website that is done is a bit of web scraping.

Unlike the mundane, mind-numbing process of manually extracting data, web scraping uses intelligent automation to extract hundreds, millions, and billions of data points from the internet’s seemingly endless frontier.

Web Scraping

What are the Challenges of Web Scraping?

Some of the challenges one can face while web scraping includes:

  • Bots
  • Captchas
  • and getting banned

Bots

Websites have the power to choose whether web scraper bots are allowed or not. Some websites do not allow web scraper bots to perform automated scraping.

The reason is these bots scrape data to get a competitive advantage and drain the server resources of the website they are scraping from, which affects the website’s effectiveness.

Captchas 

Why captchas are used to identify humans from bots when using the sites by displaying logical problems that humans find easy to solve and bots find hard.

They keep spam away. Basic scraping scripts tend to fail, but with new advancements, there are measures to prevail captchas properly.

Getting Banned

Suppose a web scraper bot sends too many parallel requests per second or an unnaturally high number of requests.

In that case, there is a good chance that you will pass the boundary of ethical and unethical scrapping and get flagged and ultimately banned.

If the web scraper is smart and has enough resources, they can carefully handle these kinds of countermeasures and ensure they stay on the right side of the law and still achieve what they want.

How Can a Proxy Server Help with Web Scraping?

Many people use web scraping to collect valuable data about industries and market insights to make data-based decisions and offer data-powered services. Forward proxies enable people to scrape data effectively from various web sources.

Avoid IP Bans

Websites usually set a limit to the amount of crawlable data. This is called “Crawl Rate,” and it is to stop scrapers from making too many requests, slowing down the website’s speed.

Using an efficient proxy server for web scraping allows the crawler to get past the rate limits on the target website by sending access requests from different IP addresses.

Increased Security

A proxy server would give a user the security or privacy he/she/they needs by hiding their computer IP address. That way, security is guaranteed, and there would be no leak of user information.

Enable High-volume Scraping

There is no way to determine if a website is being scraped. Meanwhile, if there is high activity while scraping, the more pages a scraper would scrape.

For example, web scrapers may access the same website very fast or at specific times every day or reach not directly accessible webpages, which can make them easily detected and banned.

Proxy servers give strong anonymity and allow more concurrent sessions to the same or different websites.

Conclusion

A proxy server is the best any user can get to browse the internet, but depending on what you need to do, you might opt for others that could serve the same purpose as a proxy, such as VPN or RDP.

Even if it is the web that you intend to scrape, it is recommended that proxies are used for effective web scraping.

Understanding what a proxy server is and how it all works would help users who need to hide their IP addresses. As a programmer, I sometimes needed a proxy server to access various prohibited tools or websites. All it did was make my work much easier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.