A proxy server is an instance of software or a server that acts as an intermediary, accepts requests and presents them under its own identity. The corresponding opposite addresses are hidden from the client and the server of the connection. However, addresses are not simply exchanged as in a NAT connection, but proxies do all the communication with their identity. The exchanged data packets can be subjected to further analysis or modification. Depending on the type of proxy, it serves one or more protocols. Proxies can be equipped with a buffer (cache) and respond to repeated requests from this memory. Thus, you can speed up the search for the same Internet pages. Proxies can be implemented in many different flavors such as forwarding proxies, reverse proxies, transparent proxies, shared proxies, or dedicated proxies.
Using a proxy
Proxies can be used for different purposes depending on the type. Because of their proxy role, they can filter, temporarily store, control, or modify the data exchanged over connections. Proxies often perform the task of protecting internal devices or services from external threats by anonymizing and hiding communication partners. Unwanted data can be blocked and suspicious requests rejected. If caching is used, proxy servers save external bandwidth while at the same time speeding up data exchange or searching for Internet content. Another task of the proxy is to distribute the communication load and control the available bandwidth. Specific bandwidth can be assigned to individual connections to make better use of the available resources.
Various types and variants of proxies
Proxies can be categorized into many different types and variations. Among others, the following proxies are possible:
- visible proxies
- transparent proxies
- proxy redirect
- reverse proxies
- shared proxies
- dedicated proxies
The difference between visible and transparent proxies is that visible proxies appear as an independent instance of communication for communication partners, while transparent proxies remain hidden from one or both of the communication partners at the network layer. One or both of the remote stations do not know that the proxy server has turned on the connection.
Redirect and reverse proxies behave differently in terms of direction of operation. A forwarding proxy is located between the private network and the Internet. It communicates towards the Internet on behalf of local clients on the private network. The direction of operation of a reverse proxy is reversed. It accepts requests from the Internet in order to forward them to a destination on the local private network.
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