The Benefits of using Proxy Servers are unlimited. But, they are so obscure that most people have no idea what they’re even for. If you’re like the majority of people, you probably believe that proxy servers are primarily used to get access to material that is illegal in your country. Or rather, to protect your privacy when using public Wi-Fi.
Proxy servers may be used for a variety of purposes, but they are especially important for corporations. Security, customer experience, and everything in between may all benefit from the use of this method. This is why every company owner should be aware of the basic reasons to employ Proxy Servers. So, what are they, and why are they useful?
According to cactusvpn, a proxy server (usually known as a “proxy” or “application-level gateway”) is a server (either a computer or an application) that acts as a gateway between a local network and a large-scale network.
Learn More: Proxy Server | Free Web Proxy | Anonymous Online Surfing
An example of that would be a server acting as an intermediary between your computer and the Internet. Overall, below are the most common types of proxy servers you’re likely to encounter:
- HTTP Proxy Servers
- SSL Proxy Servers
- SOCKS Proxy Servers
- Web-Based Proxies
- Transparent Proxies
In short, Proxy Servers are computers that act as middlemen between you and other networks. Instead, then revealing your personal IP address, a proxy server uses its own public IP address. That said, you can read and learn more about how a Proxy Server works in detail. And now, back to our main topic, let’s look at the benefits of Proxy Servers.
The Main Benefits of Proxy Servers
Technically, a proxy server will act as an intermediary between a client and the server from which the client is requesting a certain service. It will take the client’s request, and perform it on their behalf. A basic example is this: Say you want to use a proxy server to access a certain web page. The proxy will receive your request, and will do one of these things:
- First, it will analyze its local cache to see if it can find that particular web page
- Secondly, if it finds it, it will return it to you without having to forward your request to the Internet
- Then again, if the proxy doesn’t locate the web page in its local cache, will request that web page from the web
- However, it will not use your IP to do so. Instead, it will act as the client on your behalf, and use one of its own IPs
- Once it gets the page, it will relate it to your original request, and forward the page back to you
Of course, you as a user won’t really be aware of that process. To you, it will just seem like you are directly accessing a web page like normal. That said, before we look at the key benefits of Proxy Servers use below, it’s good to know Proxy Servers can usually be categorized even further.
Consider the following:
- Forward:– The standard proxy category, Forward proxies are the intermediary between a computer and a wider network.
- Reverse:– Reverse proxies are intermediaries between the web and a smaller group of servers. For instance, a Reverse proxy could act as a gateway between the Internet and a corporate LAN network.
- Open:– Open proxies (also called “public proxies”) can be accessed by any online user. They are usually offered to the public free of charge.
A modern Proxy Server does much more than forward web requests, all in the name of data security and network performance. Whereby, a Proxy Server acts as a firewall and web filter.
Whilst, providing a shared network connection, and cache data to speed up common requests. On that note, a good Proxy Server keeps users and the internal network protected from the bad stuff that lives out in the wild internet. Additionally, proxy servers can provide a high level of privacy as well as the following more benefits.
#1: You Can Easily Hide Your IP Address
One of the best proxy server advantages – by using a proxy – is that the website you access will not be able to log your real IP address. More so, as it will log the proxy server’s IP address instead.
Yes, that means you’re somewhat anonymous when you browse online. Don’t forget – your IP address can tell someone a lot about yourself, like what country and city you are from. Crafty Cybercriminals can even go the extra mile and use your IP address to find out things like who your ISP is, what your zip code is, and even what street you live on.
But, how would a hacker get access to your IP address, you ask? Sadly, a data breach or leak on a website you visit could be enough for them to get their hands on this info. So, something like this is definitely useful nowadays.
#2: Make Your Company Reputation More Secure
In the last several years, hacking has become more popular. A data breach may cost a lot of money and damage your brand’s reputation. In the month of January 2019, a total of 1,769,185,063 user records were exposed.
A breach is less likely with a proxy in place. It acts as an additional layer of protection between the servers of your firm and the outside world. Proxy servers function as an ideal buffer since they are exposed to the internet and receive requests from devices that are not connected to the local network.
Your proxy is vulnerable to attack, but hackers will have a difficult time getting to your primary server, which contains sensitive data. With a proxy server, it’s hard to totally thwart clever hackers. It’s possible, though, that you’ll be less exposed than if you didn’t use a proxy.
#3: Prevent Server Crashes By Balancing Traffic
Going down when you need something is one of the most inconvenient experiences for a client. Peering, cloud storage, and proxy servers all contribute to a better customer experience by helping to prevent data breaches.
There are several servers throughout the world, as well as in the cloud, where your content and data are saved. Your network can handle more traffic if you use peering. Customers cannot, however, be compelled to experiment with several ISPs in order to access this material.
A proxy server is used instead to generate one single web address that is the access point. In a perfect world, the proxy would distribute requests evenly across all of the servers, preventing any kind of server overload. To provide a smooth client experience, all of this is done in the background.
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#4: You Can Anonymously Perform Risky Tasks
The ability to remain anonymous on the internet is one of the primary benefits of using a good proxy server. Sadly, most company owners are unaware of the value of this feature.
Reporters, security personnel, and whistleblowers all rely on this extra layer of protection to keep themselves, their organizations, their partners, and their customers safe. Proxies are the best way to safeguard any development work your team is doing right now. From your computer to a proxy server, and then to the target website.
If you utilize a proxy, any spy who wants to know what your organization is working on is going to have a difficult time following your personnel. Using a proxy server to hide your IP address is a good idea for any sensitive business work you’re doing online. Unfortunately, a lot of online content is also actually hidden behind geo-restrictions – mostly because of network and copyrights.
But, since a proxy server hides your IP address, websites can’t stop you from accessing them based on your geo-location. A good example of that is using a proxy to access a TV Channel outside your Country. On top of that, you can also use a proxy server to bypass network restrictions at work or school – restrictions that would prevent you from accessing certain web content.
#5: Save Your Bandwidth And Increase Speeds
Most people believe that proxy servers slow down the internet because of the additional work they undertake in the background. In other cases, though, this isn’t the case.
A good proxy server speeds up your internet connection and saves you bandwidth by caching and compressing content, as well as preventing advertisements on websites. By doing this, you free up valuable bandwidth on a congested network, allowing your staff to access the internet more quickly. Likewise, there’s a reduction in load times.
This is tied to the fact that proxy servers can cache data. Basically, once they access certain web pages, they store them for later. When a cached page is requested, they can display it faster to the user. But, please keep in mind that this will only happen if the proxy server already has the web page you request in its local cache.
If it doesn’t, it will have to request it from the Internet, and you might not experience faster load times in that case.
#6: Limit Workplace Access To The Internet
As an employer, you don’t want your workers accessing unsuitable or unsecured sites over your network. This is the fundamental reason for the use of a proxy server in the internal networks of businesses and organizations.
You may restrict which websites your users can access and which devices they can use if your network is routed via a proxy server. You may restrict access to websites and information that you deem to be distracting to your workers. Overall, by using a proxy server, you can keep track of what your workers are doing on your network for internal purposes.
Use this function to watch for any security breaches or unlawful activities by most security employees. By the same token, another handy proxy server benefit is the fact that the admin can block users from accessing websites that might be dangerous. It might sound counterintuitive at first, but consider this:
If the admin knows a certain website contains malware or phishing links, he/she can prevent proxy users from accidentally or unknowingly accessing it. There could also be a chance that if you were to land on a malicious website, any malware it might contain would infect the proxy instead of your device. Though, keep in mind that’s not a guarantee.
How “Anonymous” Are Proxies?
Besides the Benefits Of Proxy Servers Use as illustrated above, it’s also good to consider how Anonymous Proxies are. The advantages of using a proxy server are quite nice, but proxies don’t come without their drawbacks. For one, they don’t really offer you the kind of “anonymity” people like to claim they do.
In fact, the owner of a proxy will always know who you are because they can see your IP address. Now, proxy servers can be rated according to the level of privacy they offer. Officially, they come in 3 levels – level 1 is the privacy best.
Level 1:– Elite Proxies
The best choice – Elite proxies will hide your IP address, and the websites you access will have no idea you are using a proxy to connect to them. Just keep in mind that for all the privacy-focused benefits of Elite proxy servers, you might have to settle for slower connections because they are very popular with online users.
Level 2:– Anonymous Proxies
Also called Distorting proxies, these proxy servers don’t reveal your IP address to the server you are connecting at all. Still, it is worth noting that the server you connect to will know you are using a proxy to access it. How come? Because it seems that “anonymous” proxies actually identify themselves because they attach additional headers to the requests they send.
Level 3:– Transparent Proxies
Not to be confused with the previously-mentioned Transparent proxies, these proxy servers don’t really offer any privacy. Why? Because they forward pretty much all info about you to the websites you access. Theoretically, your IP is hidden, but it can still show up in the request header that’s sent to the website.
Can I use Free Proxies? You may ask. Well, you could. They’re free after all, so what do you have to lose? Quite a lot, actually. Having said that, below are just some reasons why you shouldn’t use a free proxy service:
- A lot of free proxies are run by volunteers
- While that’s admirable, it also means the service can be unstable, and go offline at random intervals
- Almost 79% of free proxies don’t use HTTPS, leaving you completely “naked” online
- You have no way of trusting the proxy provider, as they theoretically make no money off of you
- So, they don’t have any responsibility towards you
- Naturally, free proxies are often overcrowded, so you will likely deal with slow Internet connections
Ideally, you should opt for private proxies instead. Even better, you could add an extra layer of security by using a dedicated VPN service that offers proxy server access.
If you’re not sure why you should use a VPN instead of a proxy, consider this – a VPN already offers the same benefits as proxy servers, and – on top of that – uses strong encryption protocols, keeping you safer online than a proxy server. That, and they are configured at a system level. Meaning, you’ll only need to set it up once.
More so, to make sure all your online connections on a device are proxied through the VPN. And before you ask, no – free VPNs aren’t ideal either. That’s it! All the Benefits of Proxy Servers that you need to know for a workplace.