Back to Contents

What Are Proxies? How Do They Help your Online Privacy?

The world of online privacy and security is coming out to the mainstream, and with that many more people asking “what are proxies?” This resource guide is going to help you understand what proxies are, how they help online privacy, and which ones are the best to use.

What are proxies: A definition

The word proxy implies “substitute,” and a proxy server does exactly that for an online identity. When people go online, a proxy substitutes their own IP address with an IP address from the proxy server. When they connect to a proxy, their requests all go through the proxy server before going to the rest of the Internet and back. In other words, the proxy serves as an intermediary between a user’s device and the Internet.

This is basically how it’s structured and how a proxy works to protect its user’s privacy online. By hiding the user’s real IP address, a proxy shields that user from the public’s prying eyes and gives that user online anonymity.

What are the common types of proxies

There are many different types of proxies according to the level of security they provide. Three of the most popular are:

  • Transparent: Proxies that, although they do mask the IP address of the user, they do not really hide the real IP address. The IP address is exposed in the HTTP header which may be viewed by anyone who knows how to.HTTP headers or Hypertext Transfer Protocol headers contain information about the client (or the user), including the originating IP address of the request.

  • HTTP headers contain the X-Forwarded-For header which, in transparent proxies, reveals the originating IP address of a user connecting through the proxy. Transparent proxies’ HTTP headers also have the REMOTE_ADDR which identifies the proxy’s IP address. These kind of proxies are typically free. They are good for content filtering, caching and for other low-security tasks only.
  • Anonymous: Also known as distorting proxies, they provide a good level of anonymity because they conceal the IP address of the user. However, even though the originating IP is hidden, the HTTP headers will still reveal that the request is made through a proxy. This kind of proxy is good enough for serious tasks. Some providers that offer anonymous proxies are Proxy-N-VPN and TorGuard. Both also offer high anonymous proxies for a higher level of security, which are covered next

  • The video shows how easy it is to check if the IP address is anonymous or not. There are many tools like this that are used to determine if the IP address provided by the proxy is anonymous or non-anonymous.
  • High Anonymous: Of all proxies, high anonymous or elite proxies provide the highest level of anonymity. They not only hide the user’s IP address but also trick the website that user is connecting to into thinking they are the user themselves. The website won’t know that the client is actually using a proxy server to connect.

These three kinds of proxies can be used as a guideline for choosing proxy servers. The non-anonymous type of proxy is called transparent, while an anonymous proxy can be further categorized into anonymous and high-anonymous. The last two can both serve those who need anonymity more than a different IP to access restricted content on the Internet.

What are proxies for online privacy

Because IP addresses are linked to all information provided by subscribers to their ISPs, virtually swapping them with another one not associated with them can protect users from abuse and malicious use of their data. Because IP location can also be mapped right down to its exact coordinates, hiding them can help users protect their privacy, too.

The above video shows how an IP address can be pinned down to its exact location on the map. There are many apps that people can use to do this and some are even free to use by anyone. This is where proxies can help you. Not only can proxies let people browse the Internet anonymously, they also can help keep all their private information private.

While advances in technology made communication easier and the world smaller, they also made it less difficult for hackers and bad actors to hijack IPs. With proxies, people can hide their IPs from view and protect themselves from online attack.

A proxy that does not keep access logs can also provide an additional layer of protection from anyone who may legally demand data from the proxy company. One proxy server that does not retain access logs is TorGuard, while MyPrivateProxy deletes them periodically.

Pick the right proxy provider

There are two things worth remembering when using a proxy: the proxy sees the IP address and it sees all data that passes through it. People using proxies may be safe from the rest of the world wide web, but they aren’t from the proxy company that knows their real IP address and sees everything they do. In other words, while it’s good to use a proxy, it’s not good to just pick the first provider that one comes across with.

There is value in research and finding a trustworthy company that will not only protect the identity of its clients but also not pore over their data as well. When looking for a proxy provider, choose one that has good reviews from current and past clients and make sure that it isn’t a fly-by-night company. Be wary of a proxy company if they:

  • Charge a much lower price than others.
  • Do not have reliable support.
  • Use a free email service provider.
  • Use a questionable method of payment.
  • Do not have a privacy policy.

These are just some of the characteristics that suggest a proxy server is not a legitimate company.

Stay safe and anonymous online

Everyone has a right to privacy. Information falling into the wrong hands is dangerous, and on the Internet it’s even more so with plenty of hackers and cybercriminals just waiting to pounce on their next victims.

The Internet may have made privacy and security of personal information difficult to hide, but the technology itself has made it possible to safeguard one’s identity and privacy.Proxies can provide that kind of privacy. Its primary function is to provide anonymity to its users and conceal IP addresses that hackers can use to attack.

With proxies, people can increase their online privacy, security, and anonymity. The trick is to find a reliable and trustworthy provider that can offer an anonymous or high anonymous service. For assistance with that, be sure to read the proxy reviews available here on this website.

Categories: