What are proxy servers?

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(Last Updated On: March 14, 2018)

Proxy Servers

Maybe you have been wondering like me some time ago when you met the words “proxy server” during your day to day activities or while you were solving particular issues with your servers.
Well, this post tries to describe what it means and I hope you will find it easy to understand.

Proxy-server

This at its basic level is a system/computer with services that sits between computers making web requests (clients) and the servers containing the content being requested for (servers). It has a networking structure that makes it act as a representative of a single IP address to the web. What happens is that, once a client makes a request, the proxy server receives the request first and then makes a decision.

If the requested content had been stored(cached) in the proxy server cache before, then it simply returns the content to the client. If the content is not available in its cache, the proxy server will connect to the available servers for the content and deliver them to the right client. After it has delivered the content, it goes ahead and caches it for future use if caching has been enabled.

Merits derived from a proxy server

As it can already be deduced, there are inherent benefits that proxy servers have and are used because of them. Some of the benefits include the following:

  1. There is an improved performance in the process of requesting and receiving web request. In case the content being requested for by the client resides in the cache of the proxy server, its delivery will be fast hence improved performance
  2. Access control lists: Proxy servers implement access control lists that enable filtering of sites and remote resources. This feature enables the users to restrict forbidden sites.
  3. Security: proxy servers make remote requests without using the real public address. In this hidden mode, there is improved security for the network behind the proxy server.
  4. Proxy servers can be used to circumvent the rules that have been imposed on a given LAN. By installing a proxy server, the sites that have been blocked initially can be circumvented by the user takes.

Conclusion

I hope the post was helpful in understanding what a proxy server is. The next post will look at different types of proxy servers. Some of them are a reverse proxy, transparent proxy, anonymous proxy among others. Cheers guys.