A proxy server functions as a connector or a middlemen between the web browser and the website, by passing the request and response back-and-forth in a way to assist users seeking resources from websites or servers. Besides handling requests and responses, a proxy also fulfills other purposes, such as anonymous browsing, domain filtering, bypassing security controls and so on. Below, we will explore the various benefits and advantages of using a proxy server. Among the benefits and advantages are:
- Anonymous browsing
One of the great benefits of using a proxy server is to hide internal clients from an external network. It makes your network id anonymous as the proxy servers will be at the forefront, protecting your network IP while allowing normal surfing. Since your internal IP network is not accessible from an external network, you are safe from attacks by unscrupulous hackers, scammers and spammer.
- GeoLocation Testing
Nowadays, many web sites have implemented geolocation technology to customize their web contents and to redirect their visitors to an appropriate page, by detecting the location that the visitors originate from. Recent trend shows that localized contents have started gaining popularity among the web communities. Technically, it wasn't that difficult to implement such a technology, as various free and paid APIs or services, are available for your selection (e.g. IPInfoDB, IP2Location). However, the testing phase of your geolocation feature is the challenging part as not everyone would have access to IP addresses from various countries. With this in mind, the Proxy Servers now come into the picture. By utilizing proxy servers located in various locations around the world, you are now able to accurately test and successfully implement your geolocation feature. There are a lot of open proxies offering you their free proxy service but you must be extremely careful in selecting the right one. Your important data will be flowing through that proxy server and thus choosing a reliable and honest proxy provider is vital for your peace of mind. My advice is to look for a paid and reliable service, such as LocaProxy. After all, you wouldn't want to risk your business solution, right?
- Access websites filtered by ISP or institution
Occasionally, schools and institution will only allow access to certain website. When websites and contents are filtered by the ISP, you can bypass an ISP proxy by setting your browser to use 'another proxy server'.
Proxy servers may also cache Web pages and provide more efficient web content delivery. It can speed up the access to documents and site contents as it will always look in its local cache of previously downloaded results of all requests like pictures, and other static graphical content. Since the proxy server is often on the same network as the user, the next request for that same page can be obtained much faster as it will not forward the request to the external site each time. This dramatically improves the performance for end users. If there are hundreds or thousands of users using the same network, it is significantly reduce their upstream bandwidth usage and costs as the proxy servers can optimize and compress the content as well.
- Filter Requests
Proxy servers can also be used to filter data or requests from external site. For example, it is widely implemented by organizations or institutions to ensure that Internet usage conforms to the local usage policy. Authentication can be enabled in helping administrator to effectively control the content delivered while distributing the internet access. It is important to only allow certain hosts to bypass the proxy in order to prevent malicious content and block websites that display distracting material. In addition, it can also prevent employees from visiting inappropriate web sites during their working hours.
- Load Balancing
Proxy servers can also be used as load-balancer in a reverse direction for the workload among several content HTTP servers, each of them serving their own application area.