I'm sure you've heard or read something about proxy. This is a very common term in the area of information technology, especially when it comes to networks. But since a lot of people confuse your definition, we're going to ask you: do you really know what a proxy is?
If you don't have a clue or if you think you know the concept but have questions, don't worry. The term is really confused, especially with VPN.
This happens because both the proxy and the VPN serve to prevent your IP from being identified on the internet.
But the similarity stops there, because they act in different ways. And this difference is one of the doubts that we will clarify in this article.
Furthermore, if you read this text to the end, you will know what a proxy is and what it is for, in addition to the differences between proxy and reverse proxy and between paid proxy and free proxy.
What is Proxy?
If you don't know what a proxy is, you can start to understand it as the person responsible for receiving and forwarding user requests to the site he is accessing.
It is, therefore, a service that works as an intermediary between the user and the internet.
In this process, the website accessed receives information about the identification of the proxy and not the user, whose identity is not exposed on the network, preventing the user from being tracked.
There are several types of proxy, such as company servers, which centralize the connection of all computers used by employees.
In this case, access to the internet by all employees connected to the company is done by a single IP address, to speed up the connection.
Another type of proxy is web proxies. They are programs that mask the user's IP, widely used by those who want to surf the internet anonymously or use products and services from other regions.
The proxy can be thought of as both a server and a software application and is very useful for controlling the users' browsing on the network.
You can use it, for example, to apply internet access rules in the work environment.
What is the proxy for?
Now that you understand what a proxy is, it's important to think about its functionalities, that is, what it can be used for.
As the proxy prevents your identity from being exposed, we can say that it serves to prevent malicious websites from infecting your network.
In addition, the proxy also stores copies of the most accessed pages, making browsing faster and saving bandwidth.
Some proxies also have the feature of anonymous browsing which, as we have seen, can be used to access services from other regions.
- Below is a list of the main features of the proxy:
- Enable safer browsing;
- Save broadband;
- Control users' browsing;
- Block websites that should not be used in certain contexts;
- Store the most accessed pages;
- Enable anonymous browsing;
- Streamline navigation.
What is the difference between proxy and reverse proxy?
We already know what a proxy is. But what is reverse proxy? In fact, reverse proxy is used by web servers to improve the accessibility of websites.
Thus, it is located between the user and the web server and works to improve the speed of loading pages.
This possibility of speed increase is increasingly important, because if the user detects a delay in loading the page, they will probably choose to search for what they need on another site.
In this sense, we can say that companies can use the reverse proxy to establish their presence on the internet.
Both the proxy and the reverse proxy act as intermediaries in accessing web resources, the first being on the user side and the second on the server or company side.
So, in the case of reverse proxy, it provides better performance and greater security for the web server. See below its main features:
- Load balancing: it distributes the load of requests to access a certain resource on the web across multiple servers, allowing many users to access the resource quickly;
- Security: Access requests are routed to the reverse proxy and not directly to the web server. So the server IP is not exposed;
- Cache: As with the direct proxy, the reverse proxy can also memorize the most requested pages to improve the user experience.
Thus, even with very similar functionalities, we can differentiate proxy from reverse proxy.
This differentiation is mainly due to the fact that the reverse proxy acts on the web server side while the proxy acts on the user side.
Paid proxy or free proxy? Which one to choose?
There are free and paid versions of the proxy service. The latter are safer because their provenance is clearer and they are produced by reliable and specialized companies.
The free versions are very vulnerable to attacks due to the lack of resources for the maintenance of hardware, software and personnel.
Therefore, the quality of the service is compromised and, if you choose a free proxy service, you may have the opposite effect to the desired one regarding the security of browsing the web.
This means that your data may be given to third parties without your knowledge and then you will have to face all the consequences of exposing that data.
Some proxy services are free precisely because they are used by cyber criminals to commit cyber crimes using your data.
Therefore, we can say that paid proxy services are more reliable. So, always do a detailed research before choosing your proxy and give preference to paid ones.
What is the difference between proxy and VPN?
Proxy and VPN are not the same thing, although both have the function of protecting the user's identity in their browsing.
The main difference is that VPN (Virtual Private Network) produces an encrypted virtual private network to fully secure the data between the user and the VPN server.
The proxy does not encrypt anything. It is just an intermediary between the user and the internet.
For this reason, users often choose to use multiple proxies to achieve truly anonymous browsing.
In this case, each server hides the IP of the previous server and this makes possible tracing of the user more difficult.
If after knowing what proxy is you also want to better understand the concept of VPN to compare the two options, just visit our article on VPN. Happy reading and see you next time!