What about Proxy?
In this article, I will explain briefly something about Proxy. Why? Why not 😆 On the big internet, there are many articles about Proxy but I would write mine!
Since also the dog says that we need another article about proxy, we can start!
What is a Proxy?
Very briefly, a proxy is a system placed between the users and the server they access.
Reverse Proxy vs Forward Proxy
Usually, when we talk about Proxy, we refer to Forward Proxy. Using a Forward Proxy, the request of the user goes to the proxy and then reaches the web server. The response does the route inverse, first going to proxy and then to the user that has done the request. The web server doesn’t know the requester because from its point of view the request is done by the proxy.
These kinds of proxy are used by a single user for the following reasons:
Accessing restricted geo-locations. How many times do we would watch our favorite TV series but in our country didn’t transmit them😐. So we can use a Proxy to access the country in which the TV series is transmitted! This is possible because the proxy sends the request with its IP address!
Anonymity. As we said, a forward proxy server hides the requester’s real IP address by using one of its own. So, technically nobody knows that some request is done by us because the proxy changes the source IP address, but note that some proxy keeps some log files.
A reverse proxy is tricky to understand (or at least, I had some problems understanding it, am I the only one?) but basically, we should know that it is located in front of the web server. The functionality is the same but from the web server side, the reverse proxy gets the request from the client, sends it to another server, and then sends the response to the client.
These kinds of proxies are used for:
Load balancer. With this type of use, it can be more clear. The Load Balancer acts as a server that sends the request to the more free server. So it stands in front of the server and decides which server must process the request.
Caching. If some page or resource was already requested, and the reverse proxy has it in the cache, it doesn’t send the request to the web server but processes the request and sends the requested resource.
“Security”. Since the reverse proxy stands in front of the web server, it can be used to block some suspicious IPs adding level of protection.
Type of Proxy Protocol
There are different types of connection protocols of a proxy, such as:
- Proxy HTTP. This type of protocol is used only with the HTTP web pages. So, if a user visits an HTTP page (and it uses a proxy), the request goes through the proxy. This is used, for instance, to limit websites that users can view. Like a company that wants to ban some sites (like Facebook). This type of proxy is very fast but is unsafe because they don’t encrypt the communication.
Proxy HTTPS/SSL. This type is used for HTTPS web pages so use the advantages of SSL cryptography.
Proxy SOCKS/SOCKS5. This type of proxy is like the others but it monitors all the traffic from the user, not only HTTP/HTTPS. This type is slower than others since it must monitor and route more traffic and data. It can be combined with SSL to cipher the communication.
Type of Proxy
There are many types of proxy. Below, we see some types:
Public Proxy. This type of proxy is public and accessible to everyone. They are usually free and can manage many connections and for this reason, are very unstable.
Private Proxy. This type is not free and not everybody can access them. It is faster than the public.
Transparent Proxy. This type is invisible to users that connect to it. Indeed, it is known only to the service owner. For instance, it is used in the public network, when a user connects to it, he will see a page from the proxy that ask him to authenticate himself, and then he will be redirected to the page on the server.
Proxy Web. This type is used to establish an HTTP connection.
Anonymous Proxy. This type ensures anonymity because they remove the user’s IP address by replacing it with its. The destination server will see only the proxy IP address as the source and not that of the user.
Proxy vs VPN
So, arrived at this point, you can ask (as I asked myself) what the difference between Proxy and VPN is. Because by reading the features of proxy they are similar to VPN. Well, they present some differences. We see some of that below. First of all the VPNs are safer than a proxy, indeed VPNs can use advanced cryptography protocols, instead, the proxy uses, at most, HTTPS to encrypt the traffic. Also, the VPN is more stable than the proxy. Instead, the proxy is cheaper than the VPN, in fact, some proxies are free, instead, the VPNs are for a fee. Finally, proxies are speeder since they cannot cover as much data as the VPN (but this depends also on how many connections there are).