In today’s world, we use the internet regularly. However, similar to how we usually overlook reading instructions and manuals, we also kind of ignore how the Internet works.
And when we hear about identity fraud, data leaks, proxy, and other internet buzzwords, and start wondering what happens when we surf the web, what is a proxy server, and why even use a proxy in the first place.
For an in-depth take on what is a proxy, visit Oxylabs’ blog. Or bear with me, and I’ll try my best to clear up any confusion you might have when it comes to proxies.
What Is A Proxy Server?
A proxy server or proxy acts as an intermediary between the user and the internet, meaning when you’re using a proxy, your web requests pass through the proxy server and connect to internet resources.
Proxy servers have their own IP addresses. Your requests are processed through a proxy; thus, it manages your internet requests as you would normally. Once the proxy server gets access to the website you’re trying to access, it then passes the response to you and thereby ensures higher levels of anonymity. This is because the proxy server tends to hide your real IP address.
Different Types of Proxy
Since we briefly talked about what is a proxy server, it’s time to make things a bit more interesting. So, basically, there are two most common types of proxies:
● Residential proxy: A residential proxy is a proxy or IP that’s given by your ISP. It’s a real IP attached to a real location, and by “real” we mean a physical location. Because of this, residential proxies can mimic human behavior, which helps you do your job online anonymously without getting blocked by web servers.
● Datacenter proxy: A datacenter proxy, on the other hand, has nothing to do with your ISP and can only mimic a real internet connection. Datacenter proxies can be bought from a different company. They give you full anonymity and private IP authentication.
Why Use a Proxy?
Well, the question should be – “Why not use a proxy?”.
There are plenty of reasons to use a proxy server. First of all, a proxy can come in handy for regular internet users as it allows them to surf the internet anonymously. Besides hardcore privacy, a proxy server can enhance your security levels. On top of that, proxies tied to a particular location can unlock geo-restricted content, even if you’re real IP cannot access that specific information.
Now, if you’re a business, a proxy server can help you greatly. You get the same advantages as mentioned above, plus you can get about web scraping operations. Below are three reasons why using a proxy server is a must for both a regular user and a business.
Proxy servers let you bypass geo-restrictions imposed by governments and companies. Can you not live-stream your favorite sports? Simply log into a proxy, select the required country, and watch it from there.
Proxy servers can make you appear as if you’re browsing the internet from, let’s say, Germany, even if you live in the US. Many governments around the world restrict access to the web, and proxies can offer people access to an open, uncensored internet.
There are two key benefits of using proxy servers for your web scraping project:
● Hiding the IP address of your source machine
● Getting past rate limits on your target website
The target website you are sending requests to has no idea about your genuine IP address as it can only see your proxy server’s IP.
Furthermore, many websites have software that detects whenever there is an odd number of requests coming in from a single IP, as this typically indicates robotic behavior. This will get the IP address banned in no time. If you want to bypass this restriction, consider spreading out a large number of requests across multiple proxy servers. This way, the target website will assume the requests are coming from individual IP addresses, meaning they will all stay under the rate limit while scraping data simultaneously.
Gathering Intelligence For Businesses
What is a proxy server actually capable of? Well, you’ll be shocked to know. One of the most popular proxy use cases tends to be competitive intelligence.
Many online services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are blocking IP ranges belonging to certain providers. However, if you’re using a residential proxy, all your requests appear as if they were sent from a real IP by a real person. Therefore, if you need to send multiple requests, a good proxy server allows sending them from various IPs from a specific country, city, or local ISP.
The ability to simulate internet requests from real users with real, local IP can be beneficial for your business. Thus, you need to choose a reliable proxy provider that utilizes this technology for web scraping, tests, data collection, accessing various internet resources, and so on.
We hope you found this article useful. Also, feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us regarding what is a proxy server.