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What is a Proxy? Learn How It Works and How to Set It Up

Last updated: Mar 20, 2023

Disclaimer: Our team is constantly compiling and adding new terms that are known throughout the SEO community and Google terminology. You may be sent through SEO Terms in cmlabs.co from third parties or links. Such external links are not investigated, or checked for accuracy and reliability by us. We do not assume responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of any information offered by third-party websites.

As you know, the virtual world has many components that make it easy and enjoyable for us to access it.

However, the rise of cyber crimes has made many internet users worry about cases of identity leakage when they access the internet.

To avoid this case, you need some optimization of the network system.

One of the network systems that we often encounter is a proxy server. Proxy itself is a system that allows us to access the internet without worrying about identity leaks.

So, what is a proxy? What are the uses and benefits? This guide will discuss what a proxy is, how it works, how to use it, and how to configure it.

Let’s find out what it is in the explanation below!

What is a Proxy?

what is a proxy
Figure 1: Proxy is a network system that maintains privacy

Proxy is a system that allows users to hide their identity on the internet. The identity context in question is the IP address.

In other words, users can access the internet with an identity in the form of a proxy server's IP address, not their own personal IP address.

The proxy server receives incoming client requests and forwards them to the destination server.

Basically, it functions as a gateway between the user and the internet. Proxy servers allow you to access any website with a different IP address.

Proxies act as an additional data security frontier, protecting users from cybercrime.

Proxy servers have many uses based on their type and configuration. In general, proxy servers are used to facilitate anonymous Internet browsing, bypass geo-blocking, and manage incoming requests to a site.

However, using a proxy server is quite risky, and that should be considered before you use one.

How Proxy Works

Usually, a proxy server is located between the internet network and the local computer. If you do not use a proxy server, information from your computer will be forwarded through the ISP (Internet Service Provider) router first.

After that, the activity will be forwarded to the destination site server.

Simply put, when you access a site, your request will be sent to a proxy server for action.

Then, the request whose data has been changed will be forwarded to the destination site.

This is why the site will see the IP address of the proxy server and not your personal IP address.

Other than that, proxy servers have some similarities to VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). The difference is that a VPN will secure network traffic as a whole, while a proxy server will only secure one site or application at a time.

Both have the ability to hide your private IP address. However, a VPN will redirect internet data through an encrypted tunnel.

Basically, proxy servers are suitable for browsing the internet. However, a VPN allows you to surf the internet more securely than a proxy server.

Proxy Usability

Learning about what is a proxy and how it works is not enough. Now is the time for you to know what it's used for.

Let's check out the explanation below!

1. Increase Security

A proxy server can increase user security when surfing the internet.

Using a proxy server, you can keep crucial data, such as transaction data, secret. In addition, the proxy server will prevent access to sites that contain malware.

You can also combine the use of a proxy server with a VPN. By combining the two, you will get extra protection when accessing the internet.

2. Increase Access Speed

Another thing that proxies can do is increase access speed. It involves the benefits of proxies being able to cache.

So, when you want to access data from websites you've visited before, the proxy only needs to access the data from cache storage. Indirectly, this can increase the speed of access. 

3. Controlling Internet Usage

Proxy servers are used to control internet usage. Usually, this is done by companies to their employees or by parents to their children who are underage.

This is done with the aim of monitoring browsing activity in order to avoid internet abuse.

4. Maintain Privacy

As mentioned previously, proxy servers are capable of masking a user's personal identity. This relates to one of the uses of proxies, namely to maintain privacy.

Proxy servers have the ability to change IP addresses and other personal information so that users' identities cannot be identified when they access the internet.

With this, the proxy server allows you to access the internet more safely and comfortably.

5. Accessing Blocked Content

One of the unique features of a proxy server is its ability to access blocked content.

For example, if you want to access content from foreign websites, you can use this proxy server to make you feel that you are surfing the internet from another part of the world.

This is because some countries apply internet access restrictions, and proxy servers can help you reach all of them.

How to Set Up Proxy

illustration on setting up a proxy
Figure 2: Illustration of Configuring a Proxy

After knowing about what is a proxy and what it's used for, now is the time for you to find out how to set a proxy on Windows, Mac, your cellphone, or your browser.

Actually, configuring a proxy is fairly easy. Check out the steps below!

1. Proxy Settings on Windows & Mac

To set up proxy on Windows & Mac, you can follow the steps below:

  1. For Windows, go to settings or Settings
  2. Open "Network and Internet"
  3. Select "Proxy Settings", then enter the IP address of the proxy you want to use
  4. For Mac, go to "Apple" > "System Preferences" > "Network"
  5. Select a network service in the list on the left
  6. Click "Advanced", then "Proxies"

2. Proxy Settings on Mobile

The second way to set a proxy is via a cellphone. To set up a proxy on your cell phone, you can follow these steps:

  1. If you are using WiFi, you can enter the WiFi settings.
  2. If you are using cellular data, please enter the APN settings.
  3. Then, fill in some information, such as the IP address and port number of the proxy server you want to use.

3. Proxy Settings in the Browser

You can also set proxy settings using a browser. The method is quite easy; all you have to do is follow the steps below:

  1. If you are using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, click the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner of the screen
  2. Then, select settings or settings
  3. Type "Proxy" in the search field
  4. Configure your browser's proxy

Thus the discussion about what is a proxy, how it works, its usability, and how to configure it.

Have you gained new knowledge about proxy servers after reading the article above?

Of course, maintaining data security when accessing the internet is important and crucial.

If you use a website for business, you must maintain its performance from a marketing standpoint in addition to data security.

To overcome such an issue, you can use SEO services to help you define a more precise and detailed business strategy.

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