Proxy Server

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Proxy Server


Proxy Server

A Proxy (proxy server) is a server that acts as mediator between the client (the computer of a user) and server (the computer on the other ends of network connection on which the information requested by the user appears for example web server site.)

When clients request data from an Internet resource,traffic goes from your web browser/application first through the proxy before it reachs the requested sources and back through the proxy. Then the proxy will transmit the data (information) to you.

Proxy Server use and abuse

Proxy server are very often used to improve the performance of a network traffic by using its capacity to store informations that has been used by many internet users. For example when one person visits an internet site a copy of the information is stored on the proxy server.

When another person afterwards visit the same Internet site then he gets information immediatly because the data has been previosly stored. Such a process of storing of information on proxy server is called cache.

The advantage of the proxy server cacheing method is that the network must less frequently make contact with the original Internet site. The disadvantage is that the shown information is not the most recent available.

However old cache that remains on the server are frequently deleted based on the server administrators rules (time, age, size, access....) that says when the information is to be removed from the servers cache.

Proxy servers may also be used to bypass restrictions and limitations that the owner of the internet resource has set for users from specific country, region and users that fall into specific ip address ranges. For example if the website owner (webmaster) for whatever reason blocks access to the visitors from some countries the visitors from blocked country could use an open free proxy server from another countries and override the restriction.

Unfortunately the abuse of open proxy servers has become a common problem in the last couple of years. As with many other things in life,proxy server are not exempt from the fact that everything positive has negative side. The people with malicious intent use frequently open free proxy servers for spamming, flooding, fraud and other unwanted activity.

Open Proxy Server

Open proxy servers are public proxy servers which permit connections by any client anywhere in the world with any Ip adress.They is free and could be used by everybody on the Internet. HTTP proxy server are sorted in 3 groups:
  • anonymous proxy server
    • Elite
    • Simple HTTP Anonymous proxy server
  • transparent (non anonymous)proxy server
  • gateways

Anonymous proxy servers do not show your ip address to the website that you requested information from. Instead of your ip address the website should see the proxy servers ip. The fact that anonymous proxy servers hide information about your computer means that you may safely surf the net because information about you will be not be sent.

Every http proxy server sends small pieces of information to the web server that tells more about how the connection has been made.This kind of information is called a variable.
  • HTTP_VIA, HTTP_USER_AGENT_VIA, HTTP_FORWARDED - these variables tell the web server that a proxy has been used
  • HTTP_CACHE_CONTROL, HTTP_CACHE_INFO - These variables contain information about the cache of the proxy server.
  • HTTP_CONNECTION: Close or Keep-Alive - the connection type "close" demonstrates the use of a proxy server. Non proxy server request use Keep-Alive type of connection.
Anonymous proxy server are grouped (on the basis of "headers" that they send to the website) into elite and simple http proxy server.
  • Elite proxy servers (aslo called Level 1 and Level 2 proxys) do not send any typical proxy variables and it looks to a website as if you are not behind a proxy.
  • Simple HTTP Anonymous proxy servers hide your ip address but the presence of some variables tell the website that you are behind a proxy server.

From the view of anonymous surfing there is not really any difference between Elite and simple http proxy servers but sometimes the use of Elite proxy servers is required. Usually when the webmaster of website tries to block proxies he checks each request for typical proxy variables.If they are found access could to the site could be blocked.
Transparent or non anonymous proxy server are in some cases usefull for increasing the speed of your connection but because they forward your real ip address to the webserver they are not applicable for anonymity, security or privacy while surfing the net.
A Gateway proxy server is a server that points to another ip address (gateway) and then transmit information to you. Assuming the gateway is anonymous then your ip address will be always hidden. Example:
proxy server>
proxy server>
proxy server>>transmit information --->Your PC
proxy server>
proxy server>
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