Attempting to Define Web Proxy for the Common User
This is an introductory kind of post, wherein we seek to explain web proxy in as simple a manner as we can….
Let’s begin with the definition…
Yes, let’s define web proxy in a simple manner. We can say that web proxies are servers that help users hide their IP addresses from the websites they visit. Thus, a website that’s visited via a web proxy wouldn’t be able to see the real location of the user; the proxy would make it look as if it is being accessed from some location other than the real one.
What happens is that all the web traffic that passes between a user’s computer and the website’s server first passes through the proxy server before reaching the web server. Or, in other words, it’s as if the user is asking the proxy server to access the website for him and the proxy server, upon receiving the webpage, sends it back to the user. Since this happens over and over, that too very quickly, the user gets to browse websites in a normal manner. Thus, though the website sees a specific IP address accessing its server, it wouldn’t be able to make out the real address of the user.
Thus, we can say that web proxies, which are almost like search engines, are easy to access and shield users from the websites that they access.
Some useful info about using web proxies
Web proxies, as we have already discussed, shield users from the websites they access. People also use web proxies to keep their web searches private from their ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and also from other agencies that monitor or track their web browsing habits. In a way, web proxies help users ensure secure browsing and help keep their private information from falling into wrong hands.
People also use web proxies to access banned or blocked websites. They could seek the help of web proxies to get back on websites that they would have been banned from using or to access websites that are banned in their respective countries. This is because it’s IP addresses that websites try to block, and web proxies help bypass this by letting users browse using new IP addresses.
Web proxies also help access web pages fast when users visit web pages repeatedly. A web proxy would cache websites for the user and thus when the user would want to access the same web page again soon, the page will be delivered quickly. This is because the web proxy server would have a copy of the page and it needn’t be requested from the destination website.
Web proxies do bestow certain benefits upon the users by masking their IPs, but at the same time, there are certain things that need to be kept in the mind. It’s always good to research a web proxy before preparing to dive deeply into it. It’s to be ensured that the web proxy that’s being used doesn’t access the user’s emails, store social media login credentials or log bank credentials. Moreover, in some countries, web proxies might even provide the authorities with users’ real IP addresses, if in case the authorities demand so. Hence, it’s always good to do some research about the web proxy and read the fine print before beginning to use it.
Some more important info on web proxies
We did define web proxy, we have also discussed how to use web proxies; now, let’s dwell a bit further and take note of some important yet basic info that needs to be kept in mind about web proxies. Here we go-
- Web proxies don’t hide users’ bandwidth usage and hence don’t let users bypass their data limits.
- Web proxies, which are useful only on the web, may not be as compatible with all devices or applications as are the proxies that users can manually set up with their IP addresses and port numbers. But web proxies are definitely much easier to access and use compared to the other manually set proxies.
- Web proxies, though they hide users’ IP addresses, wouldn’t mask users’ identities if they are using any online account (email account, bank account etc) tied to their original identity.
- It is always advisable to check the public IP address each time a user connects to a web proxy. This cross-checking, comparing the public IP address after going via the web proxy to the one before connecting, would help ensure that the web proxy is really working.
Search and find a web proxy of your choice
There are many web proxies that you could find by doing a quick search. Though all web proxies would seem to function in the same way, there might be differences as regards the features. You could check the features and make your choice…
Julia Sowells960 Posts
Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.