Why do I Need a Proxy Server?

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Why do I Need a Proxy Server?

Posted by Madhu Gupta
Among other things, proxy servers ensure encrypted communication within computer networks. You can read in this practical tip what you still need a proxy server for and what a proxy server is.

Definition: What is a proxy server?

The term "proxy server" comes up again and again while surfing. We explain what a proxy server is. 

A proxy server is a communication mediator in a computer network. It uses its own address to forward requests (from the DNS client), for example, to call up a website or download a file to the corresponding recipient (server) without both having to be directly connected to each other.

A pictorial comparison would be the waiter in a restaurant where you place your order: He accepts your request and forwards you to the kitchen without you having to contact the cook personally. 

Your answer, the ordered dish, will be delivered to you in the same way.

With a proxy server, you can not only filter your network communication and temporarily store data but also surf the Internet anonymously. These three options are explained in more detail in the next section.

Various Uses for Proxy Servers

Read the following points to find out what a proxy server can be used for.

Anonymization

You can hide your own IP address by using the proxy so that only the address and location of the proxy are visible to the other network participants. In this practical tip, we will show you how to use a proxy server for anonymous surfing in the network. 

But be careful here! The operator of a proxy server has full control over your session, can record all your communications, and even manipulate web content if he wants.

Caching 

Data from the proxy is buffered in the cache in order to process recurring requests faster. If, for example, the client regularly requests the same Word document, this can be retrieved directly from the proxy server without having to connect to the actual target server. In companies, this often saves bandwidth and, therefore, money.

Filtering

Proxy servers can also use filters to evaluate incoming requests and thus only allow certain types of requests to pass through. This is often the case in company networks where certain services, such as file-sharing or porn websites, like piratebay.

We will show you in our following practical tip on how to find out your proxy address. 

Find out the proxy address - this is how it works

You can find out your proxy address yourself by taking a detour - but it is somewhat hidden. With our instructions, you can quickly find out the address - no matter which browser you are using.
  1. Find out the proxy address with a CMD command
  2. The easiest and independent way to find out the proxy address is via the command prompt:
  3. Press the Windows button and enter "cmd." Then open the search result.
  4. Now insert "netsh winhttp show proxy" (without quotation marks).
You will then see all the details of your current proxy connection, including the proxy address.

Find out the proxy address via CMD

Find out proxy address via a browser
If the proxy runs over the settings of the browser, you can also read out the proxy address there:

  • Firefox: "Settings" > "Advanced" > "Network" > "Settings".
  • Chrome: "Settings" > "Show advanced settings" > "Network" > "Change proxy settings".
  • Edge: "Settings" > "Show advanced settings" > "Open proxy settings".

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