A proxy server is a computer that serves as a way station between user and the Internet. Proxies hide your IP address and help partially conceal your online identity and location. Your Internet traffic is usually not traceable to you. Also, a IPv6 Proxy can help you bypass geographical blockages on the Internet. Besides these advantages, proxy servers also have disadvantages. They are not 100% secure and anonymous.
How exactly does a proxy work?
A proxy (or proxy server) is a computer that stands between a user and the Internet. The user of the proxy sends all his or her internet traffic to the proxy server. The server then forwards that data to its final destination on the Internet. With a proxy, the identity and location of the user are (partially) hidden. In practice, proxies are usually used by people who want to visit a blocked site. Many companies and organizations also have their own proxies to create a closed corporate network from websites such as ColdProxy.
Sorts of proxy servers
Proxies can also be classified into other groups. For example, there are proxies with different functions:
- Caching proxies
- Filtering proxies
- CGI proxies
- Reverse proxies
You can also classify proxies according to the degree to which they protect your privacy. These are the gradations that can be found in that regard:
- Transparent proxies
- Anonymous proxies
- High anonymity proxies
Caching web proxy
Caching web proxies are commonly used in practice. This type of proxy keeps a copy of visited web page’s, allowing them to be delivered to the user faster and more reliably. When someone requests a website through a caching proxy, the proxy will first check its local storage (cache). If the website is already there, the proxy will send the data directly to the user. If the proxy does not already have the website in its cache, it will still fetch it from the relevant server and send it to the requester. It also then caches a copy of the website for future use.
- The cache usually has a certain lifetime, after which it is emptied. The removal of data from the cache is usually done based on the age of the data, its size, and the frequency of requests. Two simple cache algorithms are Least Recently Used (LRU) and Least Frequently Used (LFU). LRU deletes the least recently used data and LFU deletes the least frequently used data.