What is a Proxy Server, and How Does it Work?
A proxy server is nothing but another computer that is used as a hub to serve internet requests as processed.
After this, one of the servers will be connected to your computer and then, the computer would send a request that you want to connect to the server.
It shall be processed and would return to what you have been wanting. In simple language, the proxy works as an intermediary between the rest of the computers available on the internet and your home computer.
People use proxies for a lot of reasons. Some of them might be uploading content as anonymous creators, downloading something from the adult websites, going beyond parental blocks and even for web content filtration.
Here's how it works:
The commuter that you work on has its own IP address; simultaneously, each computer has its own IP (Internet Protocol) address. Let's explain IP with an example. Just like all the streets have an address, your computer has an address too.
The postman uses the address to deliver letters to your house. Simultaneously the internet uses your IP address to provide the content you have been searching for.
Types of Proxies
There are four different types of proxies available. We will explain each one of them.
A transparent proxy is a server that will identify the real IP address of the computer through the HTTP header. These types of proxies can't hide your computer's IP address and are used for cache websites majorly.
You would be able to get through simple banned sites easily through a transparent proxy. It would surely expose your IP address but you will know that you are using it.
These ones are the most used proxies because, with these anonymous proxies, your IP address won’t be traceable. Not that your IP address is indetectable; however, an anonymous proxy will provide you with a good amount of anonymity.
This one would mark itself as an incorrect original IP address and won't disclose your original IP address through the HTTP headers.
High anonymity proxy
This one doesn't show itself as a proxy server, and your IP address won't be made available to any HTTP headers.
How to Use a Proxy Server
There are steps involved in using a proxy server. Here's a step-by-step guide for you:
- 1Go to Internet Explorer, now click on the tool's menu, the Internet Options and then connections tab and finally, LAN settings.
- 2You shall see the proxy server; under that, you need to use a proxy server depending on your requirement. Check the LAN box.
- 3Go ahead and enter the fake IP address on the proxy server.
- 4The proxy server will use a Port Box number too, use that for client connections. By default, it will be 8080.
- 5The last step is to click on the OK tab that you see. This shall close the LAN settings dialogue box.
The Easy Way: Using ZenMate
Germany based VPN ZenMate is widely used as a VPN proxy. It is also considered to be one of the best. It comes with a strict no-logs policy. It offers excellent speed as well.
How to set it up?
- 1Add ZenMate to Chrome: The first step is to visit the website of ZenMate, and after that, hit the add to chrome option that you would be seeing on the homepage.
- 2Connects automatically: To connect the server, you won’t have to do anything. The good thing about ZenMate is that it gets connected automatically.
- 3Choose a location: To switch your IP address, you would be offered with lots of locations. Pick the one that suits you and you’ll be good to go.
Regarding price, there are three plans available for you.
The Hard Way: Using Browser Settings
Google Chrome Setting
- 1The first thing to do is click on the customize option and control button.
- 2Now select Under the Hood given in the options.
- 3Change proxy setting.
- 4Click on the LAN setting and then tick on the "Use a proxy server for your LAN" box.
- 5Now you need to enter the IP address of the proxy server that you have chosen along with your Port Number and finally click on the OK option.
Mozilla Firefox Setting
- 1Launch Firefox browser, click on the icon.
- 2After choosing options, you need to click on Options and then a new tab.
- 3Go to the Advanced Tab and select the settings.
- 4Now click Manual Proxy settings from the options available.
- 5Enter the IP address that you prefer in the HTTP Proxy Box along with the Port Number and finally hit the OK button.
- 1Launch Safari on your computer.
- 2Select preferences and click on Advanced.
- 3Now click on the Change Settings followed by the Web Proxy box.
- 4Enter the IP address that you want along with your Port number and click on Apply Now option.
- 1Launch Opera and click on the menu. Now, click on the Settings option from the drop-down menu.
- 2You would see the Change Proxy setting, tick on the "Use proxy for local servers" option.
- 3In the internet properties menu, search for the connections tab and click on the LAN settings option which you would find towards the bottom.
- 4LAN settings shall be displayed. You need to uncheck the box to automatically detect settings.
- 5Check the box that says "Use a proxy server" and enter the IP address along with the port number and it is done.
- 1The first step is to click on the tools and then choose the Internet Options.
- 2Now, you need to choose the Connections tab and then click on the LAN settings.
- 3You would see a small box in front of "Use a proxy server for your LAN". You need to tick that.
- 4After entering the IP address along with the Port number, you need to click on the OK setting.
The Caveat: Proxy Detection and Risks of Free Proxies
Even if you are using proxy detection, you can still know that someone is using it. For example, Amazon Prime can be checked from any country if you use a proxy and you may watch unlimited free movies.
However, Amazon can detect that you are using a VPN service and send you a notification that you are using a VPN service.
Big companies are able to find out the use of proxies through different technical algorithms. However, private VPN users are able to browse the internet without letting anyone know. You’ll be able to browse all the blacklisted websites.
The Risks of Free Proxies
Proxies come with its own benefits. You would be able to browse any blacklisted site, the speed would increase, you will save a lot of bandwidth and there are privacy benefits as well. However, everything that has pros comes with some cons too.
Here are some risks of using free proxies.
A free proxy is free as you already know it and you will get what you have paid for. That's why using a free proxy comes with its own risks. These are modelled on ad-based revenue.
When choosing a free proxy server, please understand that they are not investing in encryption and back-end hardware. You may see potential data and performance issues. If a free proxy is luring you, then you must be extra cautious.
When you use a free proxy, do remember that the proxy server would have your IP address and there is a risk. Ensure that the proxy server you are using is not saving your data and logs.
You would never know when the free proxy server will sell out your data and logs to someone else. You should also check whether the proxy server is encrypted or not. A free one would never have that.
If there is no encryption, it means that you are sharing all your requests as plain text. The owner of the proxy server will be able to pull out all the passwords and usernames. Stealing of data is very common with free proxies.
These are some of the reasons why you should never go with free proxies. It is not safe for anyone. Whatever proxy you are going to choose must have a proper server and that should be fully encrypted so that your data and logs remain safe.