Why Do You Need Proxy Servers?


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Proxy servers are middlemen in the communication between two computers. The proxy server receives requests on behalf of the user and then passes them on accordingly. Why you might need a proxy server and what a proxy server is, you can read in this practical tip. You will come across the term "proxy server" again and again when surfing the Internet. 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 to download a file, to the corresponding recipient (server), without both having to be directly connected to each other. A visual comparison would be, for example, the waiter in a restaurant where you place your order: He accepts your request and forwards it to the kitchen without you having to contact the cook personally. In the same way, your answer, i.e. the ordered dish, is delivered to you. With a proxy server, you can not only have your network communication filtered and cache data, but also surf the Internet anonymously. These three options are explained in more detail in the next section.

Different uses for proxy servers

Proxy servers can be used for various purposes: Anonymization: You can hide your own IP address by using the proxy so that only the address and location of the proxy is visible to other network participants. In order to surf anonymously with a proxy server, you have to fake a wrong internet address. However, be careful with this! The operator of a proxy server has full control over your session, can record all your communication and even manipulate web content. Caching: Here, data is cached by the proxy in order to process recurring requests faster. For example, if 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. This often saves bandwidth and thus money in companies. Filtering: Proxy servers can also use filters to evaluate incoming requests and thus only allow certain types of requests to pass. This is often the case in company networks where certain services, such as file sharing or game websites, are blocked.