A proxy server is a server that acts as an intermediary in the flow of your Internet traffic, so your Internet activity appears to come from a different location.
Proxy servers provide varying levels of functionality, security, and privacy, depending on the application, requirements, or company policies. A good proxy server protects the users and the internal network from the bad things that occur in the wild Internet.
It works by placing itself between you and the website you want to visit. The proxy server connects, gets the data, and passes it on to you. As a result, the proxy server appears like the actual visitor on our website, not your computer.
To be specific, when you connect to a proxy server, it will request files or web pages from an external web server on the behalf of you. Once the request is assumed to come from a specific region according to the IP address, files or web pages will be returned to the proxy server. Then, the proxy server associates it with the original request and forwards it to you. As an intermediary, proxies can filter content that enters the network and protect the user’s identity so that the destination web server never knows who sent the request.
For example, people who want to access the US Netflix libraries, but are located outside the country, can connect to a proxy server to obtain a US IP address and access the content.
For enterprises, proxy servers are used to facilitate security, management control or caching services. For individuals, a proxy server is used by the user to get private Internet access. However, a proxy server can also be used to monitor users’ traffic and compromise their privacy. When you surf the Internet anonymously, you are not anonymous to the proxy server you connect. Thus, there is a degree of trust between the proxy server and the user. Many proxy servers are funded by a continued advertising connection to the user.
You can also couple a proxy with a virtual private network to ensure your security and privacy online.