A proxy server is a gateway through which web requests form a personal computer and content from a web server are routed. The proxy assigns these web requests a new IP address before directing them to the target website. Notably, there are many types of proxies, all of which give a new IP address, essentially hiding the real IP address.
On the other hand, some proxies also alter the content sent from web servers while others do not. For those that do, for instance, HTTP proxies, they filter the content only allowing authorized files to be stored on a storage drive in your computer. Residential proxies and datacenter proxies monitor emails to identify any phishing attempts. They go through email attachments and links and subsequently block those that contain malware or spyware.
These are just a few pointers as to why you need a proxy server. The benefits that accompany using proxies are quite a number. They mainly arise from the anonymity, security, and privacy proxies provided as a result of hiding the real IP address.
Why do you need a proxy server?
Proxies are ideal for home or office use. They are perfect for individual users and even large organizations. Thus, this section answers the question, ‘Why do you need a proxy server?’ from both individual and corporate users’ perspectives.
Advantages of proxies to individuals
If you work from home, perhaps as a freelancer, and are probably wondering how proxy servers will benefit you, you are in luck. Here is a list of the benefits you should expect as an individual user:
- Protection against cyberattacks: you could configure your computer to create an HTTP proxy which will filter content sent through HTTP – an insecure protocol – to only allow malware-free files to be stored on your computer
- Private anonymous browsing: proxies block unwanted ads or targeted marketing, which relies heavily on the user’s IP address
- Enhanced security: anyone with your IP address can easily track you. However, a proxy server prevents this.
- Parental control: you can use proxies to restrict access to certain websites, especially if you have children
- Access to geo-restricted content: you can use proxies to go around problems such as geo-restrictions/geo-blocking. For instance, using a Brazil proxy gives you access to Brazilian content, which would ordinarily be unavailable in your location
Advantages of proxies to companies
Proxies also hold numerous benefits to businesses. They help prevent issues such as low productivity among employees, geo-blocking, an unsecure computer network, and a lack of planning in the following ways:
- Restricting access to specific sites: it is common knowledge that specific websites, especially social media platforms, impact productivity. Thus, by limiting access to these websites, you are bound to experience an increase in productivity. What’s more, preventing access to unsafe sites will protect your computer network and computing infrastructure from malware, virus, or spyware attacks.
- Accessing geo-restricted content: geo-restriction blocks primal organizational activities such as ad verification and minimum advertised price (MAP) monitoring. Nonetheless, proxies bypass this problem.
- Balancing traffic: a proxy distributes traffic among the proxy service provider’s servers around the world. This prevents a web server overload, which could mean a loss of revenue due to website downtime.
- Increased connection speeds: proxies cache frequently accessed data. Thus, in an organization with multiple employees, the proxy will avail the stored data freeing the bandwidth up for other vital web traffic, the result of which is increased connection speeds.
- Protecting the organization from cyberattacks: some proxies monitor email to identify harmful attachments or links. They also prevent eavesdropping and phishing.
Indeed, proxies address various issues within organizations, which, when left unaddressed, could result in loss and, in extreme cases, a damaged reputation. The latter mainly results from ad fraud or unauthorized sellers, if you are a supplier. To get around this problem, you have to use a proxy server that will enable you to bypass geo-restrictions.
Geo-restriction can be frustrating. Besides blocking access to content on video streaming sites, it stops ad verification and MAP monitoring. Ad verification is an integral exercise in marketing. It safeguards marketers from ad fraud in addition to ensuring that they monitor the websites showcasing their ads.
On the other hand, MAP monitoring protects suppliers by helping them identify unauthorized sellers who sell their products below the recommended prices. Combined, ad verification and MAP monitoring safeguard a brand’s reputation.
Proxy servers provide access to foreign content by assigning IP addresses from that specific location. For instance, if you wish to monitor how ad publishers are displaying your ads in Brazil, you’ll use a Brazil proxy. This proxy will assign you a Brazilian proxy. Similarly, if you want to watch a show on an online video streaming site that is only licensed to the Brazilian market, you can use a Brazil proxy.
Indeed, proxy servers have numerous benefits for individual users and companies alike.