Meet Tunde who is an investigative journalist, who occasionally researches and publishes news, articles contrary to the government's ideologies. On one such occasion, he could not access a global news website dealing with uncensored information. It seemed his IP was blocked from visiting the news website. With his IP blocked, Tunde turned to a popular proxy service that was able to unblock the news website, thereby allowing an open internet to all users. Just like how your friend gives a proxy attendance for you, a proxy server serves as a stand-in user to keep the real client private. 

But what is a proxy? Let's understand its working by taking a look at how Tunde was able to access geo-blocked content without much hassle.

A proxy server acts as a gateway or intermediary server between a user and its destination website. When Tunde wasn't able to access the news website, he connected his system to a global proxy server. Once connected, the proxy server assigns a new IP address to Tunde's system, an IP address of a different country where the website is not censored. Following this process, whenever Tunde visits that website, the website administrators see the new IP address assigned via proxy server and sees no reason to deny access to their account. Once the proxy server is able to access the website, it's passed on to Tunde's system via the same channel.

Proxy server

Regarding accessibility to proxy servers, you must first set it up on your computer, device, or network. Next, check the steps required for your computer or network, as each operating system has its setup procedures.

In most cases, however, setup entails using an automated configuration script. There are plenty of free proxy services available on the internet. However, the safety of such proxies is rarely verified. Most free proxies will provide an IP address and a relevant port for connection purposes. Reputed proxy providers like smart proxy and write data that run on subscription models will most likely provide credentials to log into when establishing the connection. This extra step acts as authentication that verifies an existing subscription on the proxy provider's server, unlike free providers that are open to all.

When it comes to hiding IP addresses, many people consider a VPN to be the primary solution. While that's true up to some extent, there are a few things proxies do differently. In the case of VPNs, extra encryption is also carried out to create a secure tunnel between the user's device and a VPN server. A VPN is usually much faster, more secure thanks to multiple layers of encryption, and has little to no downtime.

Proxies tend to be comparatively unsafe, with the service owners having the exact IP address of the end user and having no guarantees regarding downtimes and reliability. 

Now let's take a small quiz to check how much we have learned. 

What can a VPN connection provide that a proxy service cannot? 

  • A. New IP address 
  • B. Multiple layers of encryption 
  • C. Access to geoblock content 
  • D. Authentication credentials  

Think about it and leave your answers below in the comments section, and three lucky winners will receive a shout-out. 

What about the benefits of a proxy service though? Besides allowing access to blocked content, proxies can serve as an efficient firewall system. They can also filter content from third party websites, allowing control over internet usage. In many cases, browsing speeds are stabilized compared to vanilla internet, thanks to proper optimization on the base proxy server.

The element of privacy proxies provides is highly lucrative to people looking to hide their actual IP address from as many crying eyes as possible. One can easily argue the benefits of using VPNs over proxies for added security measures. However, a few basic tasks don't warrant maximum privacy for the user's side, as in other cases.

For example, many consumers worldwide find proxy services more convenient since all major operating systems starting, from Windows to Android allow proxy configuration without the hassle of installing new applications, as is in the case of a VPN. In addition, there are services online that function as web proxies, allowing users to access blocked content without any setup from their end. They can enter the target URL, and the web proxy will route data from its physical server.

This level of freedom is hard to come by in the case of VPNs, making proxies an ideal solution for casual browsing. We hope you enjoyed this post. If you surely did, a thumbs up would be appreciated in the comment box. Thanks 

Print this post