Proxy Servers: What Are They and Why Do You Need Them?

Updated: February 14, 2019
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If you have a keen interest in technology, regardless of the field you are working in, you may have heard of proxy servers; especially, if you are a web developer, you may have understood this term almost every day. Well, proxy servers are what an individual would want when he proxies for another person. In the tech world, proxies are mostly used to get popular sites like YouTube unblocked.

Why should you care about this?

Before you know the reason behind using a proxy server, you need to know how they work. When you have a connection to the internet, you will open a browser and click on a particular link. Internally the browser will send a request to the server concerning the link. The server will then fetch the required data and send it back. Once the browser gets the information it wants, it will display the results for you.

Now, to know what servers you are connected to; the servers will go down and you won’t be able to monitor which server is up at that moment. If you visit the same page repeatedly, you won’t have to download the same content again. If you are hosting a server and users know where the data is appearing from, there is a possibility that they may try to hack the information. The situation can be the other way around, that is, the incoming information to your server can be dangerous.

So, it would be best if you had a guardian between your machine and the internet connection that can handle these potential risks. This is where a proxy server comes to mind.

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Why do you need a proxy?

When you want to get YouTube unblocked, proxy servers tend to keep track of requests and answers that come from their bases and destinations. Hence, various clients can send different offers to servers through the process of a forward proxy, and this coordinates the data for all of them.

However, you should note that some requests can be accepted while some can be denied.

A proxy server can act as a single point of admittance and control, thereby making it easier to enforce any security rules and regulations. Companies block popular websites like YouTube, Facebook, and so on, to prevent employees from being less efficient with their work. Companies usually use a forward proxy to improve the company’s network firewall, and it’s directed at hosts on the Internet.

However, client computers are not generally found in internal networks, they have a server too (sometimes). Proxies can have servers act as clients to external servers.

How is the proxy used?

Caching a web proxy is a standard application, and it provides a nearby cache of web pages and files that are available on stand-alone web servers. Thus, this allows the proxies to gain access to clients effectively and efficiently. When you use a web proxy, you can filter the information from web pages that are served; these are ultimately launched as web proxies.