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What is a Proxy Server and How Does it Work? – Avast
What is a proxy server?
A proxy server is a bridge between you and the rest of the internet. Normally, when you use your browser to surf the internet, you connect directly to the website you’re visiting. Proxies communicate with websites on your behalf.
When you use an online proxy, your browser first connects to the proxy, and the proxy forwards your traffic to the website you’re visiting. That’s why proxy servers are also known as “forward proxies. ” An internet proxy will also receive the website’s response and send it back to you.
In everyday use, the word “proxy” refers to someone who is authorized to take an action on your behalf — such as voting in a meeting that you can’t attend. A proxy server fills the same role, but online. Instead of you communicating directly with the websites you visit, a proxy steps in to handle that relationship for you.
Web proxies and HTTP proxies
While some proxies are hosted within your internal network, a web proxy is publicly available over the internet. Anyone can visit a web proxy and use it to browse other websites through the proxy connection.
An HTTP proxy focuses on the connection between a web server using HTTP and a client (your device). These proxies are frequently used as safety mechanisms, checking and filtering potentially harmful HTTP content from unsecured websites before the content reaches your computer or smartphone.
HTTP proxies also protect web servers from some types of client-side cyberattacks, including DDoS attacks that exploit buffer overflows.
What does a proxy server do, exactly?
As your intermediary on the web, proxy servers have many useful roles. Here’s a few of the primary uses for a proxy server:
Firewalls: A firewall is a type of network security system that acts as a barrier between a network and the wider internet. Security professionals configure firewalls to block unwanted access to the networks they are trying to protect, often as an anti-malware or anti-hacking countermeasure. A proxy server between a trusted network and the internet is the perfect place to host a firewall designed to intercept and either approve or block incoming traffic before it reaches the network.
Content filters: Just as online proxies can regulate incoming connection requests with a firewall, they can also act as content filters by blocking undesired outgoing traffic. Companies may configure proxy servers as content filters to prevent employees from accessing the blocked websites while at work.
Bypassing content filters: That’s right — you can outsmart a web proxy with another proxy. If your company’s proxy has blocked your favorite website, but it hasn’t blocked access to your personal proxy server or favorite web proxy, you can access your proxy and use it to reach the websites you want.
Caching: Caching refers to the temporary storage of frequently accessed data, which makes it easier and faster to access it again in the future. Internet proxies can cache websites so that they’ll load faster than if you were to send your traffic all the way through the internet to the website’s server. This reduces latency — the time it takes for data to travel through the internet.
Security: In addition to hosting firewalls, proxy servers can also enhance security by serving as the singular public face of the network. From an outside point of view, all the network’s users are anonymous, hidden behind the internet proxy’s IP address. If a hacker wants to access a specific device on a network, it’ll be a lot harder for them to find it.
Sharing internet connections: Businesses or even homes with a single internet connection can use a proxy server to funnel all their devices through that one connection. Using a Wi-Fi router and wireless-capable devices is another solution to this issue.
Wait — isn’t that the same as a VPN?
Proxies and VPNs both connect you to the internet via an intermediary server, but that’s where the similarities end. While an online proxy simply forwards your traffic to its destination, a VPN encrypts all traffic between your device and the VPN server.
Proxies, VPNs, and Tor Browser are the three primary options for putting up some sort of boundary between you and the internet, and each has its advantages and potential drawbacks.
How does a proxy server work?
Any device or software on the internet typically falls into one of two roles: clients or servers. A client, such as your web browser, reaches out to servers with requests for data. When you visit a website with your browser, you’re sending a request to that site’s web server.
Servers field requests and then reply with the requested data. Behind every website is a server or group of servers that work to deliver the website to your browser. These requests and replies are known as traffic.
Without an online proxy, your computer communicates directly with web servers. All the websites that communicate with your browser can see your computer and speak with it directly. In other words, your IP address is public knowledge. But what if you want to get rid of all that public exposure?
A web proxy or other proxy server sits in front of the client or a network of clients and handles this traffic on its behalf. This proxy server is another computer that’s connected to both the internet as well as your computer, and it has its own IP address. Your computer speaks only to the proxy, and the proxy forwards all communication onward to the internet at large.
And when the internet replies, the proxy passes those replies to your computer. Many proxies — but not all types — can conceal your computer’s IP address, so that the websites you’re accessing don’t know who you really are. By connecting to a proxy with an IP address in a different part of the world, you can even “change” your geographical location on the internet.
Types of proxy servers
There’s not just one type of forward HTTP proxy: depending on your needs, there are different types of proxy server to choose from. The primary difference between these types is the degree of privacy they provide.
There’s no added privacy or security with a transparent proxy. When you use one, web servers receive your actual IP address, and they also can tell that you are connecting via a proxy.
That’s why many people use transparent proxies for content filtering or caching purposes, rather than for security reasons. For example, any proxy on a corporate or school network is likely to be a transparent proxy.
Anonymous proxies promise not to pass your IP address to the websites and services you use. Websites will receive a fake IP address instead of your actual one, which is why anonymous proxies are sometimes referred to as distorting proxies.
However, like transparent proxies, anonymous proxies also don’t conceal the fact that you’re using a proxy. If some sites choose to deny service to proxy users, you won’t be able to visit them while using an anonymous proxy.
Because anonymous proxies do hide your IP address, they’re not a bad choice if you’re looking to gain a bit of control over your online privacy. But your protection isn’t likely to be as strong as it would be with a VPN like Avast SecureLine VPN, which hides your IP address while also shielding your traffic from would-be snoopers with encryption.
High anonymity proxies
Consider high anonymity proxies — also known as elite proxies — a step up from your regular anonymous proxy. The fundamentals are the same, except high anonymity proxies also disguise your use of the proxy itself. A website won’t be able to detect that you’re using a proxy if you use one of these.
High anonymity proxies achieve this added protection by periodically altering your new IP address and also withholding any clues that they are serving as proxies on your behalf. They’re the most secure type of proxy.
How to find your proxy server address and proxy settings
If you’re on a network with an internet proxy, such as while at work, you can easily find the proxy server’s address from within your computer’s settings. You might need to do this while configuring other software or apps, for example, so those programs know to use the proxy’s IP address. While you won’t be able to deactivate a proxy set by the IT team at school or in your office, you’ll at least know exactly what’s going on.
Here’s how to find your proxy server settings in Windows 10 and macOS:
Finding your proxy server address in the Windows 10 proxy settings
Open the Windows menu in the lower-left corner of the screen, then click the cog icon to open your Settings.
In the Windows Settings menu, click Network & Internet.
Select Proxy on the left-hand sidebar to display your computer’s proxy settings. If your connection is routed through a proxy, you’ll see that information here.
Finding your proxy server address in the macOS proxy settings
Open the Apple Menu by clicking the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your desktop. Then, select System Preferences.
In the Network menu, select the type of network you’re using: Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Then, click Advanced.
Open the Proxies tab to access your proxy settings.
If your computer is connected to the internet via a proxy, you’ll see your proxy address here in your proxy settings. Just choose the type of proxy you’re using.
Proxy servers vs. reverse proxies: what’s the difference?
Both proxy servers and reverse proxies act as buffers between the internet and the computers behind them, but in two different ways. Recall that a proxy server acts on behalf of a client or client network to process traffic to and from web servers. A reverse proxy, as you might imagine, is the opposite.
A reverse proxy stands between a collection of web servers and the internet, and handles traffic on behalf of those servers. This way, an organization with lots of different servers — for example, a large website with many types of products and services — can house all its servers behind one public-facing internet presence. Just as a forward proxy ensures that no server can ever directly contact the clients behind it, a reverse proxy insulates its servers from client traffic.
The difference between proxies and reverse proxies is subtle, but significant. In sum: proxies sit in front of clients, and reverse proxies sit in front of servers.
The setup process
You can set up a proxy from within your computer’s proxy settings, as seen earlier in this article. You can also set up a proxy directly inside your browser, though in many cases, you’ll only initiate the process there and complete it within your OS settings.
In brief, you’ll need to input your proxy address and other information in your computer or browser proxy settings. For a detailed explanation, consult our step-by-step proxy setup guide to configure your proxy settings on Windows and macOS as well as in all of the leading browsers.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up a proxy, you can connect to one of the many web proxies available online.
What are the main benefits of using a proxy server?
So, why use an HTTP proxy or other type of proxy server at all? Although they might not be the most airtight options for internet privacy, they’re still popular. Let’s explore why:
You want control: There’s a lot of wild stuff out there on the internet. If you’re a parent looking to shield your young children from some of it, a content filtering proxy server can help.
You want privacy: Both anonymous and high anonymity proxies hide your IP address from the websites you use. If you don’t want sites to know where your traffic is coming from, you might consider one of these proxy types.
You want your favorite sites to load faster: Cache your preferred websites on an internet proxy, and they’ll load faster next time you visit them.
You want to access blocked content: Any proxy that alters your IP address can do so in a way that shifts your geographical location online, allowing you to possibly circumvent content restrictions. You can also use a proxy to evade content blocks on your network.
You want to save money: Many web proxies are free, though we can’t vouch for their security or performance. Still, if you only need the above benefits from time to time, a free web proxy may prove sufficient.
Are there any downsides?
Proxies have their strengths, but they’re not without their limits and disadvantages:
Instability: Proxies, especially free ones, aren’t known for their rock-solid performance. Prepare to experience sudden disconnects or service disruptions.
Slow speed: Caching proxies improve the loading times for the websites cached there, but otherwise, a proxy may slow down your connection. This is a side effect of having to route your traffic through the proxy server.
Limited security: Though proxies can hide your IP address and host firewalls, some won’t encrypt your traffic like a VPN can. For example, if you’re connecting to your online proxy over a wireless network, another user on that network could potentially eavesdrop on your activity. This wouldn’t be possible with a VPN. There are some proxies that do cover your traffic with HTTPS encryption, and so if security is a concern, be sure to use one of these.
Restricted functionality: Proxies work on an app-by-app basis, and you can’t simply set one proxy to cover your entire device.
Use a VPN to benefit from even better security
For true control over your internet privacy and security, a proxy simply isn’t the right tool for the job. Avast SecureLine VPN will hide your IP address and internet activity and protect you on any network, including unsecured public Wi-Fi. And with fast servers located all around the world, you can access the content you want, no matter where you are.
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What is proxy server? – Definition from WhatIs.com
A proxy server is a dedicated computer or a software system running on a computer that acts as an intermediary between an endpoint device, such as a computer, and another server from which a user or client is requesting a service. The proxy server may exist in the same machine as a firewall server or it may be on a separate server, which forwards requests through the firewall.
An advantage of a proxy server is that its cache can serve all users. If one or more Internet sites are frequently requested, these are likely to be in the proxy’s cache, which will improve user response time. A proxy can also log its interactions, which can be helpful for troubleshooting.
How proxy servers work
When a proxy server receives a request for an Internet resource (such as a Web page), it looks in its local cache of previously pages. If it finds the page, it returns it to the user without needing to forward the request to the Internet. If the page is not in the cache, the proxy server, acting as a client on behalf of the user, uses one of its own IP addresses to request the page from the server out on the Internet. When the page is returned, the proxy server relates it to the original request and forwards it on to the user.
Proxy servers are used for both legal and illegal purposes. In the enterprise, a proxy server is used to facilitate security, administrative control or caching services, among other purposes. In a personal computing context, proxy servers are used to enable user privacy and anonymous surfing. Proxy servers can also be used for the opposite purpose: To monitor traffic and undermine user privacy.
To the user, the proxy server is invisible; all Internet requests and returned responses appear to be directly with the addressed Internet server. (The proxy is not actually invisible; its IP address has to be specified as a configuration option to the browser or other protocol program. )
Users can access web proxies online or configure web browsers to constantly use a proxy server. Browser settings include automatically detected and manual options for HTTP, SSL, FTP, and SOCKS proxies. Proxy servers may serve many users or just one per server. These options are called shared and dedicated proxies, respectively. There are a number of reasons for proxies and thus a number of types of proxy servers, often in overlapping categories.
Forward and reverse proxy servers
Forward proxies send the requests of a client onward to a web server. Users access forward proxies by directly surfing to a web proxy address or by configuring their Internet settings. Forward proxies allow circumvention of firewalls and increase the privacy and security for a user but may sometimes be used to download illegal materials such as copyrighted materials or child pornography.
Reverse proxies transparently handle all requests for resources on destination servers without requiring any action on the part of the requester.
Reverse proxies are used:
To enable indirect access when a website disallows direct connections as a security measure.
To allow for load balancing between severs.
To stream internal content to Internet users.
To disable access to a site, for example when an ISP or government wishes to block a website.
Sites might be blocked for more or less legitimate reasons. Reverse proxies may be used to prevent access to immoral, illegal or copyrighted content. Sometimes these reasons are justifiable and sometimes they are not. Reverse proxies sometimes prevent access to news sites where users could view leaked information. They can also prevent users from accessing sites where they can disclose information about government or industry actions. Blocking access to such websites may violate free speech rights.
Other types of proxy servers
Transparent proxies are typically found near the exit of a corporate network. These proxies centralize network traffic. On corporate networks, a proxy server is associated with — or is part of — a gateway server that separates the network from external networks (typically the Internet) and a firewall that protects the network from outside intrusion and allows data to be scanned for security purposes before delivery to a client on the network. These proxies help with monitoring and administering network traffic as the computers in a corporate network are usually safe devices that do not need anonymity for typically mundane tasks.
Anonymous proxies hide the IP address of the client using them allow to access to materials that are blocked by firewalls or to circumvent IP address bans. They may be used for enhanced privacy and / or protection from attack.
Highly anonymous proxies hide even the fact that they are being used by clients and present a non-proxy public IP address. So not only do they hide the IP address of the client using them, they also allow access to sites that might block proxy servers. Examples of highly anonymous proxies include I2P and TOR.
Socks 4 and 5 proxies provide proxy service for UDP data and DNS look up operations in addition to Web traffic. Some proxy servers offer both Socks protocols.
DNS proxies forward domain name service (DNS) requests from LANs to Internet DNS servers while caching for enhanced speed.
In proxy hacking, an attacker attempts to steal hits from an authentic web page in a search engine’s index and search results pages. The proxy hacker would have a either a fraudulent site emulating the original or whatever they felt like showing the clients requesting the page.
Here’s how it works: The attacker creates a copy of the targeted web page on a proxy server and uses methods such as keyword stuffing and linking to the copied page from external sites to artificially raise its search engine ranking. The authentic page will rank lower and may be seen as duplicated content, in which case a search engine may remove it from its index.
This form of hacking can be also be used to deliver pages with malicious intent. Proxy hacking can direct users to fake banking sites, for example, to steal account info which can then be sold or used to steal funds from the account. The attacker can also use the hack to direct users to a malware-infected site to compromise their machines for a variety of nefarious purposes.
Website owners who suspect they have been the victim of a proxy hack can test the theory by searching for a phrase that would be almost uniquely identifying to the site. Their site should be prominent on the search engine results page (SERP). If a second site with the same content shows up, it may be a proxy page.
Proxy server security
Proxy servers in many forms enhance security but like many things in computing may be vulnerable themselves. To prevent DoS attacks and network intrusion, administrators should keep software up to date, use load balancing, enforce secure authorization and authentication and block unsolicited traffic, malicious and open proxies.
This was last updated in June 2020
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Proxies – Company Law Club
Right to appoint a proxyCompany sponsored invitations to appoint proxiesNotice of appointmentNotice of termination of proxy’s authoritySaving for more extensive rights conferred by the articlesModel Articles provisionsTable A provisionsCorporate representativesA proxy is someone who attends a general meeting and votes in place of a member of the company. Every member of a company has a statutory right to appoint a proxy. The statutory provisions are in sec324 – sec331. They largely re-enact sec372 of the 1985 Act, but there are some significant changes of to appoint a proxy Sec324 states the statutory right of a member to appoint a proxy, but note sec324(2), which allows more than one proxy to be appointed provided this is in respect of different shares. By sec325 the notice calling a meeting must state the member’s rights under sec324 (which will include the right to appoint more than one proxy). Failure to comply does not invalidate the meeting, but will be an mpany sponsored invitations to appoint proxies (sec326) This is a re-wording of the old sec372(6). If invitations are sent to members at the company’s expense to appoint a particular person (or persons) as proxy, such invitations must be sent to all the members. The exception is where the member requests such a service, provided the service is available to of appointment of proxy (sec327) As under the old Act, a provision in a company’s articles requiring the notice appointing a proxy to be lodged with the company more than 48 hours before the meeting is void. There are two additions, however. If a poll is taken more than 48 hours after it was demanded, the notice of appointment of a proxy cannot be required more than 24 hours before the time for taking the poll. If the poll is taken less than 48 after it was demanded, the notice cannot be required earlier than the time at which it was demanded. Notice, too, the new provision that for these purposes, the 48 or 24 hours must be hours in the working day. (So the proxy notice for a meeting on Monday can be required as early as the equivalent time on the previous Thursday. )Notice of termination of proxy’s authority (sec330) The termination of a proxy’s authority by the member appointing him does not invalidate his acts unless the company receives notice of the termination before the start of the meeting (or such other time specified in the articles, not exceeding the maximum period for appointment of a proxy under sec327, i. e. 48 or 24 hours) for more extensive rights conferred by the articles (sec331) Nothing in sec324 to sec330 prevents a company’s articles from conferring more extensive rights on members or proxies than are conferred by these articles. Note that this applies only to more extensive rights. provisions in a company’s articles that purport to restrict the statutory rights will be void. Note in particular that a proxy may now vote on a show of hands as well as on a Articles provisionsContent of proxy notices 45. (1) Proxies may only validly be appointed by a notice in writing (a “proxy notice”) which- (a) states the name and address of the shareholder appointing the proxy; (b) identifies the person appointed to be that shareholder’s proxy and the general meeting in relation to which that person is appointed; (c) is signed by or on behalf of the shareholder appointing the proxy, or is authenticated in such manner as the directors may determine; and (d) is delivered to the company in accordance with the articles and any instructions contained in the notice of the general meeting to which they relate. (2) The company may require proxy notices to be delivered in a particular form, and may specify different forms for different purposes. (3) Proxy notices may specify how the proxy appointed under them is to vote (or that the proxy is to abstain from voting) on one or more resolutions. (4) Unless a proxy notice indicates otherwise, it must be treated as- (a) allowing the person appointed under it as a proxy discretion as to how to vote on any ancillary or procedural resolutions put to the meeting, and (b) appointing that person as a proxy in relation to any adjournment of the general meeting to which it relates as well as the meeting livery of proxy notices 46. (1) A person who is entitled to attend, speak or vote (either on a show of hands or on a poll) at a general meeting remains so entitled in respect of that meeting or any adjournment of it, even though a valid proxy notice has been delivered to the company by or on behalf of that person. (2) An appointment under a proxy notice may be revoked by delivering to the company a notice in writing given by or on behalf of the person by whom or on whose behalf the proxy notice was given. (3) A notice revoking a proxy appointment only takes effect if it is delivered before the start of the meeting or adjourned meeting to which it relates. (4) If a proxy notice is not executed by the person appointing the proxy, it must be accompanied by written evidence of the authority of the person who executed it to execute it on the appointor’s A provisionsArt. 59: On a poll votes may be given personally or by proxy. A member may appoint more than one proxy to attend on the same 60. An instrument appointing a proxy shall be in writing, executed by or on behalf of the appointor and shall be in the following form (or in a form as near thereto as circumstances allow or in any other form which is usual or which the directors may approve) -“…………………………………….. PLC/LimitedI/We,…………………………… of…………………………………, member/members of the above-named company, hereby appoint…………………………….. of…………………………………., or failing him,, as my our proxy to vote in my/our name[s] and on my/our behalf at the annual/extraordinary general meeting of the company to be held on………………… 19………, and at any adjournment on…………….. 19…….. “61. Where it is desired to afford members an opportunity of instructing the proxy how he shall act the instrument appointing a proxy shall be in the following form (or in a form as near thereto as circumstances allow or in any other form which is usual or which the directors may approve) -“…………………………………….. 19………, and at any adjournment form is to be used in respect of the resolutions mentioned below as follows: Resolution No. 1 *for *against Resolution No. 2 *for *against*Strike out whichever is not otherwise instructed, the proxy may vote as he thinks fit or abstain from of…………………. 19……. “62. The instrument appointing a proxy and any authority under which it is executed or a copy of such authority certified notarially or in some other way approved by the directors may – (a) be deposited at the office or at such other place within the United Kingdom as is specified in the notice convening the meeting or in any instrument of proxy sent out by the company in relation to the meeting not less than forty-eight hours before the time for holding the meeting or adjourned meeting at which the person named in the instrument proposes to vote; or (b) in the case of a poll taken more than forty-eight hours after it is demanded, be deposited as aforesaid after the poll has been demanded and not less than twenty-four hours before the time appointed for the taking of the poll; or (c) where the poll is not taken forthwith but is taken not more than forty-eight hours after it was demanded, be delivered at the meeting at which the poll was demanded to the chairman or to the secretary or to any director; and an instrument of proxy which is not deposited or delivered in a manner so permitted shall be mpany representatives The representative of another company which is itself a member of the company is not a proxy but the full rights of a member present in person
Frequently Asked Questions about define proxies
What does it mean to use proxies?
A proxy server is a bridge between you and the rest of the internet. Normally, when you use your browser to surf the internet, you connect directly to the website you’re visiting. Proxies communicate with websites on your behalf.Mar 11, 2020
What is an example of a proxy?
A person empowered to act for another. Proxy is a stand-in for someone else, the authority to stand-in for or represent someone else, or a document giving permission for someone else to vote on your behalf. … An example of proxy is when you register to vote and have someone else actually cast your ballot.
What does proxy mean in software?
A proxy server is a dedicated computer or a software system running on a computer that acts as an intermediary between an endpoint device, such as a computer, and another server from which a user or client is requesting a service.