What is a Web Proxy Server and what does it do?

The Web proxy server, also known as proxy (German: representative) or also "application level gateway (Wikipedia)"Is a computer that is located between your computer and the Internet. He intercepts data transfers between you and the service you want to use. Proxy servers do not simply forward data, they open the contents of the data packets and often redirect them. This is often desired to protect a network (company, organizations). Data that runs via a proxy server are differentiated according to different incoming and outgoing ports. Here we forward an incoming port (eg 8080) to another port, but not the complete data transfer of a device.

Proxy server connection representation
Proxy server connection representation

"Ports" can be thought of as a virtual extension system of data transmission.

There are therefore ports (duplex) where only web page data is exchanged, others also transmit the communication to FTP servers, etc. Example: The port 80 or 8080 z.Bsp is mostly used for textual content of web pages. The port 21 usually only for FTP transmissions. If the communication to a web page is blocked, eg. Because this is only allowed for local IP addresses, proxies can help by giving users a new virtual IP address or identity. But it use this identity all users of the proxy server at the same time. This allows access to US blocked content via a US proxy server.

While a proxy server actually always opens data packets and forwards them according to given rules, NAT routers forward data only and unopened.

The ideal application of proxy servers

Proxy servers are often used in corporate networks, allowing you to control and control access to specific content or even running virus checks on users' data.

The dangers of proxy services

Encrypted websites are also readable and manipulatable!

If a user establishes an SSL connection to a website behind a proxy server, the proxy will perform this encryption, but this also means that there is NO direct encryption between the user and the website. The contents that are exchanged are therefore readable for the proxy, and even manipulatable. Example: A bank transfer which is usually also transmitted via an SSL connection between the user and the bank computer can be managed via a proxy server, so that it can be manipulated consciously and unnoticed even though the connection seems to be secured! This is a typical attack scenario for hackers who register a proxy server to the user through malicious software and henceforth also communicate via the proxy of the attackers.

Proxies are easy to spot

You can also Website operators recognize the use of proxy servers very easily and also block the use of these. Conversely, hackers (but also simply lazy hackers with a search software) can find users of proxies and then use them as targeted targets. Proxy users in particular are generally exposed to a significantly higher number of attacks by unknown hackers than users who do not use any of these services. You can find out the real IP address and thus the identity of the user using various methods. While only one internal and inaccessible IP address is assigned to a user in a company network and this is still protected, private users become a worthwhile attack target through your public vpm Internet provider.

Not all data is passed through proxies

Most free proxy servers available on the Internet do not forward any port, so many data services, for example. E-mails or file sharing are not supported at all and they either do not work anymore or you then share the real IP address.

Proxies store websites and content

Proxies can cache all user activity but even entire web pages or content. If the user now calls a page whose content was previously stored on the proxy, then this stored or even manipulated web page is delivered to the user without a direct connection to the web server. In companies and organizations, this is used when hundreds of users retrieve the same content from the Internet every day, and it also significantly reduces Internet data transfer. Of course, it also supplies partly outdated data, since these are usually reloaded or updated by the proxy server only after a defined period of time. In an attack scenario, however, this can also lead to massive security problems.

Proxies are used in networks for many tasks:

»Protection of the clients

Users who are behind a proxy in a "private network", can be protected by proxies from the outside world (Internet), as well as content that is sent in both directions are verifiable and may also be blocked.

»Protection of the servers

Often servers that are also supposed to be available on the Internet, behind proxies veiled, so there are ports that are open on the server translated and then made accessible through other ports on the Internet. In between, all incoming and outgoing data transfer, including hacking, etc., can be logged or cause automatic actions.

»Bandwidth control

In order to find in a network the bandwidth intensive services or even users, proxies can also run statistics in real time and identify these users.

»Preparation of data

It is also possible to deliberately modify data in another format during the retrieval by a user / server in the network behind the proxy, making it readable or importable.

»Content control

All data content sent via the proxy can also be checked for content (keywords, keywords, web pages, etc.). Accurate statistics and usage activities can be created and evaluated.

»Logging

Activities can be consciously recorded and thus also proven. A typical case would be if the use of Facebook in a company would be prohibited. With the protocols of the proxy server you can prove exactly who did what and when. Although the sites would generally offer SSL encryption, this can be "broken up" by the proxy.

»Translations of services

Sometimes it is important to modify or translate external services before connecting to an internal service. Since you can not always make changes to the output data to make compatibility. This can also be done mostly via proxy services.

You have to trust the proxy operator!

When using a proxy, it is very important to trust the owner of the proxy. Why? Even if your data is encrypted to and from the proxy, the proxy must decrypt it to send it. This means that your private data is fully disclosed on the proxy server. If you trust the proxy operator to 100% then that is not a problem and you gain security. But who knows who operates the proxy servers that are found on the Internet and even for free? Of course, there are also secret services among the providers, but also hackers, scammers or even deceived persons who do not know that their own computer is being used as a proxy and thus the true identity of the hacker remains in the dark.

Therefore, if you can not trust the proxy provider, you are much safer if you do NOT use a proxy instead!

Note: It is important to mention the difference between a proxy server on the Internet and a network address translation (NAT) router. (These are often used for small networks or as a wireless router)

  • A proxy server sends and receives Internet traffic, acting as a mediator on behalf of the users' devices.
  • A NAT router translates IP addresses between the local network (user) and the Internet (public), a single IP address to represent multiple addresses on the local network. A NAT router, such as a home Wi-Fi router, does very little to protect you online.

Benefits of proxy servers

  • It is also possible to open / retrieve via proxy server with websites that are often blocked for their own IP address
  • Your identity is protected as long as the proxy operator is trusted or does not specifically seek out the identity of the individual user.
  • Proxies are very easy to set up.

Disadvantages of proxy servers:

  • Network administrators or web site operators can easily block the use of proxies.
  • An untrusted operator or proxy server can pose a much greater threat to your privacy than not using anyone! Hackers use free proxies to hack victims!
  • The proxy server can always recognize your identity and also store or even manipulate all user activities!

The VPN-Service provides better protection of one's identity. On-line.

Web proxies are a tool to secure the internet connection you need. Usually you can use Proxy on all devices as well as Windows computers, Macbook, Linux computers or even on your tablet or smartphone. Basically on any device that has an Internet browser. It is very easy to unlock content without installing a software or an additional app and thus also z.Bsp. access YouTube, Facebook, eBay, Twitter or many other websites, even if you are in a country where these websites have been blocked (Turkey as an example).

However, the data about access to the proxy server is usually not encrypted, Your own privacy must therefore not be the most important argument for you. It is nevertheless possible to view or save your user activities by third parties. Some proxy providers like ZenMate on the other hand, offers to encrypt the data between the user's browser and the proxy service over SSL. This helps to transfer the data, but also does not protect against being directly auzuspioniert by the proxy operator, moreover, only a small part of the data transfers over the ports 80 or 8080 used by the Internet browser, all other applications such as e-mail, FTP or all programs on the operating system usually communicate via other ports and are thus neither protected nor anonymized! Therefore, as a solution, local applications will be installed that will convert this traffic and should also be encrypted to the proxy servers. However, the use is limited to a few devices and also data manipulation by the operator still not excluded, not even when using SSL protected web pages!

The VPN Server can reliably protect all traffic on most devices.

Because at one VPN All data sent or received by your own device is encrypted and this data is encrypted on the VPNServer not opened but only 1: 1 forwarded. the user receives thereby also a unique and public IP address (identity) of the VPNAssigned to servers. Incoming traffic can be on VPNAs with a firewall, however, the data packets are not opened, but only certain ports are blocked or attacks are automatically responded and the data transmissions are blocked. This is compared to the proxy servers a limited, but much more "private" backup of personal data and activities.

VPN Server function
VPN Server function

VPN Protects the entire data traffic of the device

With a VPNService can protect the entire network and not just a few ports, including mobile phone, tablet and even TV. It also protects all applications, such as your web browser, Skype, Facebook app, online poker software, etc. The connection speeds are also much better. A web proxy is a free service that many internet users use. This puts a heavy load on the individual server, which then leads to a slow connection. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, ITV, Rai.TV, BBC iPlayer, Zattoo, Polsat, PRO.TV, ORT, ZDF, France TV and many more channels can only make sense over anyway VPNServices or paid proxy services are transmitted or received. Besides, free web proxy far from have the connection stability as one VPN Connection. Lots VPNVendors also have the functions of separating the VPNTunnel immediately establishes a new connection and thus also uninterrupted content streaming is guaranteed. It allows you to receive / stream videos online without interruption.

Proxies use shared Internet access

Whoever uses a web proxy will also encounter speed and bandwidth restrictions. Because all simultaneously registered devices use the same service and also Internet access. This means that the Infernalsweiterleitungen and the common Internetanbinundg often have to divide hundreds of users at the same time. Most proxy servers are therefore already limited by the administrators to maximum bandwidths, so that the complete Internet bandwidth of the connections is not blocked. Since freely accessible proxy servers on the Internet are not operated professionally, this is like a bottleneck through which all data has to go in and out. Users therefore complain about disconnections, timeouts or simply difficult accessibility of content via the proxy. At a VPNServer, where usually only data is passed from one IP address to another, this is a much lower arithmetic operation and also can be performed bandwidth management, which can guarantee each user the full bandwidth. The VPNVendors recognize very quickly by the load of each server, where in the future also restrictions could arise and can extend these resources even before it comes to a data congestion.


Summary:

If you use free web proxy, I strongly recommend that you also think about your privacy and security. Use one VPN-Anbieter & Service. That is much better and safer!