What Are Proxies & How Do I Use Them?

A Proxy Server or Proxy

A proxy is a server that works as a middle-man between you and a website.  You submit a request for a website and the proxy communicates with the website to fulfill that request on your behalf. A proxy is your henchman who let’s you keep your hands clean while it does all your dirty work. 

proxy_diagram

Types of Proxies

A forward proxy simply forwards traffic from you to the website.  This is just the most basic way we use the internet to cruise the web. 

An open proxy is accessible to anyone on the internet.  It is usually in the form of a web browser or website.  The user can surf the web using the open proxy, and conceal their IP address from the servers and sites they visit.

A reverse proxy appears to be a normal server.  Requests sent by the user to the proxy are forwarded to a hidden internal web server that processes the user’s request. These are most commonly used at public computers and workplaces to monitor activity. 

A transparent proxy intercepts the user’s network communication without his knowledge and without any user configuration.  There are two methods used in transparent proxy implementation. The end result is that the user may surf the web without revealing his IP address. 

A web proxy is the most common form of proxy, and is a type of open proxy.  It allows users to input a website’s URL, and it subsequently opens that website in the user’s browser window.

You can find open proxy servers by searching the internet oh going to websites that list free proxy servers or like this

There are even websites dedicated just to providing proxy servers to Pirate Bay. 

What are the Benefits of Proxies?

You can find videos on youtube explaining how to use and set-up proxy servers. 

VPNS Provide Even More Privacy than a Proxy Server

A VPN is a virtual private network. When using a VPN all web traffic is tunneled through the VPN. This prevents apps on your computer from accessing the internet and bypassing the proxy. 

All traffic on a VPN is heavily encrypted to prevent caching of cookies and packet sniffing.  Even proxy detection programs like traceroute are usually unable to detect a good VPN.  Examples of VPNs are TOR, I2P and HideMyAss

HideMyAss is the VPN I use. It is the only VPN that I know of that completely prevents all of a system’s applications from accessing the internet outside of the proxy.

Check it out: https://www.hidemyass.com/

Opera Browser comes with a built-in VPN service which is nice. It even has VPN service for Opera Mobile on your android. 

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