Proxies are servers 🏛️ that sit in between your machine 💻 and the server 🗄️ you are trying to reach. It is kind of a middleman 👮♀️. When you request data from a server, that request is intercepted and forwarded by the proxy server. For the data to reach back, it has to pass through the same proxy again.
When you are behind a proxy 🕸️, your computer's IP will never be shared. All your internet traffic would be seen as coming from a different IP, that is of the proxy server.
Proxy servers are usually used to:
- ensure security 🔐
- site whitelisting 📄
- monitoring 🛰️
- fake location 🗺️
Depending upon the purpose, there are different types of proxy servers. Some of them are:
Transparent proxies are the simplest kind of proxy. They pass all of your information along, but with the proxy's IP address. These proxies don't offer any kind of privacy protection.
Anonymous 👻 proxies are a commonly used type of proxy. They never pass your IP address to the website you are browsing although they will identify themselves as a proxy in the request. This helps you to keep your browsing activity private 🦹♀️.
Rotating proxies work a little differently from the others. Every time a client connects to the proxy, a new IP address is created for it. So they never use the same IP address more than once.
Reverse proxies are completely different from everything we've covered so far. A reverse proxy hides the IP address of a server you're trying to send a request to. When a server needs security and privacy from clients, that's when these types of proxies come in.
VPN(Virtual Private Network)s are also meant for security and monitoring. But it will control and monitor all the network activities, including FTP downloads and uploads, and background OS operations like updates. In that way, VPNs are much more secure 🔐 than proxy servers. When you are using a VPN, even the ISP(Internet Service Provider) can't see your internet activity. All they can see is, just connected 🔌 to a VPN. So, your requests are highly private and concealed when using a VPN.
Compared to proxy servers, VPNs are expensive 💰 to run and maintain.