What is a Proxy?
The term proxy originates from the Latin word procuro – to manage or administer. It refers to an intermediary or substitute for something.
In IT, a proxy is a middleman server that connects the client to the server which can service their request. Instead of a direct connection to a website, a proxy server routes your connection through itself, and sends the request on your behalf. The website’s response is also returned through itself.
Devices connected to the internet have an IP address – a sequence of numbers that identifies the device on a network. This allows computers to communicate with one another. You can think of it like a street address, which is required to send and receive mail. An IP address provides some information about you, such as your ISP or the approximate location of the device. Put simply, proxies are different IP addresses you receive after connecting to a proxy server. They let you change your identity and location in the eyes of websites. In keeping with the mail analogy, the equivalent would be a mail forwarding service. The original letter is sent from A to C via the mail forwarder in B. When it arrives in C the envelope looks like it originated from B, since that is where it was last posted from.
By mediating connection requests, proxies can improve anonymity, unblock content limited to specific locations, run numerous automated tasks, and filter traffic that goes through it. It’s a versatile tool whose users range from individuals and small businesses to large enterprises.
There are several different types of proxies, the main ones are mobile proxies, residential proxies, and datacenter proxies. These proxies can be dedicated or shared. As the name suggests, a shared proxy is used by several different users and tends to be cheaper, while a dedicated proxy is exclusively used by one party. This exclusivity comes at a price, but it also means that you do not need to worry about sharing bandwidth or other users action leading to an IP ban, for example.