A proxy server is a computer or network service that acts as an intermediary between a client and a server. It allows clients to make indirect network connections to other servers, essentially hiding their IP addresses and providing a level of anonymity.
There are several types of proxy servers, including:
- Web proxy: A web proxy is a server that acts as a middleman between a client and the internet. When a client makes a request to access a website, the request is sent to the web proxy, which then retrieves the content from the internet on behalf of the client. This can be used to bypass internet censorship, or to protect the client’s identity and location by hiding their IP address.
- Reverse proxy: A reverse proxy is a server that sits in front of one or more servers, and acts as a gateway to those servers. It receives incoming requests from clients and forwards them to the appropriate server. Reverse proxies can be used to load balance traffic across multiple servers, improve security by hiding the IP addresses of backend servers, or to cache static content for faster delivery.
- SOCKS proxy: A SOCKS (Socket Secure) proxy is a general-purpose proxy that can be used to relay traffic from any network application. It establishes a connection between the client and the server using a special protocol, and can be used to bypass firewall restrictions or to anonymize internet traffic.
- VPN proxy: A VPN (Virtual Private Network) proxy is a server that encrypts and routes internet traffic through a secure, encrypted tunnel. It allows clients to connect to a private network over the internet, and can be used to protect data from snooping and to bypass internet censorship.
Proxy servers can be used for a variety of purposes, including improving internet performance, protecting the privacy of users, and enabling secure communication between networks. However, they can also be used to monitor and control internet activity, and may be subject to abuse by malicious actors.