Is using a proxy the right choice for you?
The internet has changed the world. It has transformed how people receive and send information. The internet has become that exciting part of life that most people can't do without.
And as the internet continues evolving, so does the need for online privacy. All your online requests need a secure pathway. From passwords to emails, there's now a greater need for a reliable security protocol.
A common term you might come across when looking for a security protocol is the proxy server. Proxy servers have been around for years, helping businesses and individuals hide their IP addresses. Proxies are what a person in Germany can use to access restricted content in the USA. Proxies help mask your online tracks so you can surf anonymously.
To better understand proxies, you need to know what they are. It would help if you learned how they work and why proxies matter. You need to understand the advantages and disadvantages.
So, let's dive in.
What are Proxies and How do They Work A proxy server is usually a point of transition. It is the intermediary between your computer and the destination website. It's the point through which your websites' requests pass before fetching your results.
During the transmission process, the proxy server uses a different IP address. It hides your ID, so any person trying to discover your true identity can only view the proxy's IP address. During this process, you have the freedom to extract as much information as you want without being noticed.
To better explain what proxies are, here's an example.
Say you want to buy a limited shoe edition. You go online and spot five pairs you wish to purchase. But while placing your order, you discover there's a limit to how many pairs you can buy. Basically, each IP address only allows the purchase of a single pair of shoes. You love the shoes and so you decide to search for ways to bypass the restrictions.
Your research gives you a solution: the sneaker proxies. You look for a reliable provider and pay for the protocol. The sneaker proxy gives you a different IP address for each purchase. You can buy unlimited pairs of shoes without being noticed.
The above example is just one of the many purposes of proxies. There are also many other types of proxies on the web. While all proxies work by hiding your identity, they also have distinctive features.
Why Proxies Matter
To better understand why proxies matter, you need to know the advantages and disadvantages. Here are but a few:
1. Improve Performance Through Better Network Connections
Web caching plays an essential role in network performance. Caching is especially important for team members placing similar requests on the web. When using a proxy server, each of your requests load faster during subsequent searches.
But a point to note is that caching only works on pages you have visited before. Each time you place a similar request, the proxy goes through its files to see if it has a recent copy. If there is one, it serves your request without going through the internet again.
For busy organizations, caching translates to reduced bandwidth. Reduced bandwidths create excellent internet connections. Low bandwidths offer better network connections giving your team more opportunities to be productive.
2. Great for Crawling Through a Competitor's Website
Competitor research is a big part of online marketing. Competitor research is significant in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of a business. Research shows where you stand in comparison with your competitors.
However, performing competitor research is no simple feat. It requires a strategy that reveals how to crawl a competitor's website anonymously. Excellent competitor research requires that you do not leave noticeable marks on the websites you visit. Being anonymous helps to avoid being marked as spam. Hiding your IP address also helps you carry out necessary research for a long period of time.
3. Circumvent Censorship in Restricted Sites
Visiting a website and not being able to view the contents is frustrating. But thanks to proxy servers, it's now possible to bypass restrictions. With proxies, you can easily circumvent geo-restricted websites and access information restricted for your location.
In addition to bypassing restrictions, proxies also limit website access. You can place restrictions on websites accessed by your family and employees, as well as block access to potentially dangerous sites. Restrictions are also great for ensuring your employees spend their time at work productively!
4. Protects Your Device from Cybercriminals
Proxies are well-suited for improved security. They hide your online tracks, so cybercriminals have little to no chance of reaching your website. With proxy servers, you are assured of a secure path for your sensitive data.
Hiding your IP address also ensures that malicious people cannot get their hands on personal information. Some proxies, such as the SSL proxies, encrypt your data.
These SSL proxies make sure that a third party with access to your information, cannot decode the real meaning of your messages. During the transmission stage, the data will encrypt and decrypt, limiting the number of devices that can view it.
1. Your IP Address is Visible to Your Provider
As much as you are trying to hide your IP address, it is still visible to your provider. The possibility of your provider accessing your information is scary. This is because sensitive information can get into the wrong hands exposing you to cyber attacks. That's why it's very important to choose a reliable proxy provider.
When choosing a provider, it's important that you check for reviews and recommendations. It's necessary to research and understand the proxies on the market. Do a background check on your business and understand your security needs. Lastly, pick a provider with a good reputation and one that perfectly fits the job.
If you are choosing between paid and free versions, the paid proxies are the best option. Paid proxies offer much better security and performance, with far fewer chances of exposing you to data thieves.
2. Possibility of Downgrading Your Protocol Without Your Knowledge
You've probably heard of SSL certificates and how useful they are for encrypting data. But with the rise in cyber attacks, SSL stripping is now exposing most websites to cybercriminals. This is because SSL stripping downgrades your webpages leaving your IP address exposed on the websites you visit.
The major risk of SSL stripping is that your computer does not show the changes. It takes time to discover that you are not hiding behind a different identity. In other cases, SSL stripping decrypts your sensitive data leaving you exposed to cybercriminals.
To resolve SSL stripping:
- Choose a provider that encrypts data on all connections.
- Pick a provider that's reputable for offering stellar services.
- Continually evaluate your results to ensure that you have not been exposed at any point of contact.
There are several benefits to using proxies. But, as with any other technology, there are also some disadvantages. Whatever your security requirements are, remember to research your market. It's important to understand where your business stands and why you might need proxies. Always remember to choose your provider wisely and pick a proxy that suits your needs.