What exactly is a proxy server? The literal meaning is something like this… The word Proxy is derived from a Latin word proximus which means “close”.A proxy is actually a server which helps us maintaining our privacy on the Internet. It is just like a wall between you and the Internet. When you use a proxy, the webpage on the other side won’t be able to see you, webpage interacts with the proxy and proxy in return shows us the webpage. In this way a proxy server works. A client connects to the proxy server, requesting some service, such as a file, connection, web page, or other resource, available from a different server. The proxy server evaluates the request according to its filtering rules.
For example, it may filter traffic by IP address or protocol. If the request is validated by the filter, the proxy provides the resource by connecting to the relevant server and requesting the service on behalf of the client. A proxy server may optionally alter the client’s request or the server’s response, and sometimes it may serve the request without contacting the specified server.
A proxy server can be used for various purposes such as :
- Hiding machine or other servers from public. It provides security.
- To speed up access to resources (using caching). Web proxies are commonly used to cache web pages from a web server.
- To open blocked sites in college schools and some times in offices.
- To bypass security/ parental controls.
- To protect your real identity on internet.
A proxy server that passes requests and replies unmodified is usually called a gateway or sometimes tunneling proxy.A proxy server can be placed in the user’s local computer or at various points between the user and the destination servers on the Internet.
A reverse proxy is (usually) an Internet-facing proxy used as a front-end to control and protect access to a server on a private network, commonly also performing tasks such as load-balancing, authentication, decryption or caching.
It was all general about proxies. In my next article i will discuss how to use online proxies and using proxy along with your browser. I will discuss how to configure proxy with either Internet Explorer or Mozilla firefox. If you want me to discuss how to configure proxy in browser you use, you can leave browser name in comments. I will discuss proxy configuration in that browser which will receive maximum votes.