A proxy server is essential if you want to ensure anonymity when surfing the Internet or simply while accessing individual sites. What it is, where to find it, and why it is used? Read on…
What is a proxy?
A proxy is a server that acts as a proxy between the user and the desired target site. The word proxy means one who acts as a substitute for another, and, in fact, the proxy server does exactly that. It, as an intermediary, accesses the site you require, for you, in effect ensuring that you can access that site by ‘remote control', while not being tracked by online tracking systems.
What are they used for?
The main task of a proxy server is to hide the user's data. This can be for different purposes:
· To bypass the restrictions and bans of various countries on foreigners' access to their web resources: in this case, you need to look for a proxy on the territory of the country of the final site;
· To bypass blocking on some (more often entertainment) sites in companies: the proxy here serves as the final search target for the internal system, which is not prohibited by the employer, so the transition is allowed;
· To hide one's data: a completely anonymous intermediary is used when one does not want the site one accesses, or any tracking systems to “know” who actually accessed the site.
In addition, using a proxy can greatly speed up the process of Internet surfing. This is due to three factors:
1. In order to increase the connection speed, a proxy server is chosen which is geographically located close to the user's computer. This makes the data transfer rate between them high.
2. A proxy server provided to clients to speed up communication is usually much more powerful than the user's PC, and uses dedicated (fiber-optic) links to access the network. This makes the process of sending information to the browser much faster than if the request came directly from the user's computer.
3. Data caching also speeds up the process of loading and transferring information to the browser. Serious proxy server providers work with many clients and it is very likely that one of them has already requested access to the information you are looking for. This means that the proxy does not have to reload the data, it simply transfers it to you from the cache. Of course, this is more relevant for popular information, such as news, for example.
What proxies are there?
There are several types of proxies:
· FTP – These are used to upload data to FTP servers;
· HTTP – These run in a browser and are designed to open web pages;
· CGI – These are site-anonymizers, where the target address is entered, and they allow you to open pages directly in your browser;
· Socks – These are installed in those programs where there is no way to connect a regular proxy.
This type of proxy is the most popular. They are suitable for browsers, and for those programs that require the use of the TCP protocol.
The principle of operation is pretty standard: the user sends a request to the proxy server, and the latter searches for and delivers the requested end resource to the browser.
There are three types of anonymity:
· Transparent – The proxy, when accessing the final site, indicates that an intermediary is contacting it, and offers the client's IP address;
· Anonymous - Your data is not published, but the proxy honestly shows that it is an intermediary;
· Elite – The proxy completely imitates user requests, without giving out either the IP of the user, or the fact that it is a proxy.
Attention! There is also a separate type of proxy for transmitting secret information - HTTPS. Basically, these are the same HTTP servers, but with data encryption. They can be used to transfer passwords and logins, for example.
HTTP proxies allow you to:
· Cache data to improve the speed of opening web pages;
· Acquire or block access to specific resources (social networks, YouTube);
· Access only the necessary information: advertising banners are replaced, for example, with transparent images, which save loading time and net traffic, but do not spoil the designs of the pages;
· Keep records of Internet traffic for individuals.
The Socks protocol is now considered the most advanced protocol. It is made for programs that cannot use a mediation server.
Socks does not moderate HTTP headers, and passes information ahead unchanged. Therefore, all such proxies are considered anonymous.
Information about the IP address of your PC is not transmitted, as the proxy operates entirely on its own behalf, so the website cannot even establish that it is being contacted by an intermediary server. Moreover, the connection to the web resource is completely transparent, as if you were directly accessing the site. And the final site does not see the real IP, but the proxy address.
The protocol has undergone many changes, but recently two versions of it have been actively used:
· Socks 4;
· Socks 5.
This version of this kind of proxy server is only suitable for TCP connections.
The protocol supports TCP, and UDP connections. Here, unlike the 4th version, authorization by login and password is possible, as well as the ability to create a remote DNS request.
Where can I get a proxy?
A proxy application can be installed on the user's PC or on a separate server.
Maximum anonymity is delivered by proxies that are installed on a computer through a botnet using virus programs. In this case, the proxy acts entirely on behalf of the infected device when executing your requests. The final site does not have any information about the user. But such a proxy is unreliable, since the remote PC on which it is installed cannot work all the time, unlike servers.
Proxies configured on their own servers work all the time, so they are considered reliable. In addition, there is no need to check for validity. But here it will not be possible to ensure absolute anonymity, since you can always find out who the owner of the server is, and even seize it.
Proxies that are offered for a certain fee are intended to bring income to the owner. They are customized to meet customer requests and requirements, including a certain level of anonymity.
On the Internet it is possible to find proxies, both free and paid.
Such proxies are run either by accident or in order to collect user information. They are also called public.
Some sites offer free ones along with paid ones. Among these are:
· Awmproxy.com etc.
Despite the fact that they are free, it is best not to use such proxies, at least when you wish to maintain anonymity or when you are using any secret data. Remember that the potential loss of your data or the possible access to it by unknown persons are not compensated for by the relatively minor savings in monetary terms.
Dedicated proxies guarantee quality and a high level of anonymity.
Providers offer proxies adapted for different purposes, including:
· social networks;
· online games;
· bookmaker offices.
Prices differ depending on the configured security level and connection speed.
Let's consider some suggestions:
1. Proxy-sale offers private proxies in Russia for HTTP (s) and Socks5 protocols. Important points:
· you can purchase 10 proxies for a period from a week to a year;
· the cost of 10 proxies, for example, for social networks for a month will be only 950 rubles, for a year - 10602 rubles. For comparison: the price for the same number of IP addresses for parsing per year will be only 6881 rubles;
· connection speed - up to 1 Gbps.
2. Youproxy also promises to issue private proxies HTTP (s) and Socks5 for use. Features include:
· high speed;
· minimum ping;
· a large number of countries;
· the cost depends primarily on the country. For example, the price per proxy in Russia starts at 65 rubles, in the USA - at 90 rubles, in Germany - at 180 rubles.
3. Proxy6.net offers personal anonymous proxies. Features:
· sale for a period from 3 days to 3 months;
· availability of several countries;
· you can buy from 1 address (maximum is not limited);
· the cost of one IP from 25.2 rubles per month (3.6 rubles for three days).