Proxy servers are no different from web servers, as they help clients receive data from the parent servers. We have highlighted the pros and cons of using these servers, in this Techspirited article.
Did You Know?
To build your own proxy server, you can choose software like CCProxy, WinGate Proxy, Squid, nginx, and the like.
Proxy servers are intermediate servers that provide clients access to the information stored on other servers like the Internet. In case any client seeks information from a different server, it will connect to a proxy server which, in turn, collects data from the main server and sends it to the requesting server. Let us take a look at the benefits of having such an arrangement.
Hidden IP Address
Whenever any computer connects to a website, its IP (Internet Protocol) address is read by the website. If the client server wants to keep its identity under wraps, it can use a proxy server. This way, as there is no direct connection between the computer and the destination server, the IP is hidden. Thus, the client gets all the information it needs, anonymously.
Reduction of Load
As there is an intermediary server to fetch and display data, there is an immense reduction of load on the remote server. As the proxy server (a.k.a. caching server) has all the information that is requested by the client in its database, it doesn’t have to connect to the remote server every time.
Control Over Services
With these servers, you can decide which services can be accessed by the user. You can choose the websites that can be connected from the main website and which cannot. If you create a proxy for an educational website, the user will be able to connect to this website via the proxy server. Similarly, if you don’t add a proxy for a particular website, the user will never land on that page.
While you are surfing the Internet, there is a huge possibility that you may land on any one of the malware infected websites. When you visit such a website, the malware replicates itself onto your system. Likewise, certain websites are gateways for hackers, and visiting them would put all your personal data at stake, due to the risk of hacking. In case of proxy servers, as your system doesn’t directly talk to the websites, the administrator at the proxy end will be in a position to detect such threats, and not allow them to reach your system.
Speedy Internet Access
As mentioned earlier, the cache servers have most of your search results stored in its database. Thus, the next time you are looking for such information, the server returns the cached version of the website, instead of reconnecting to it. Thus, you experience faster Internet speeds in comparison to the non-proxy server setups.
Though these servers provide some of the best features that make for an alluring user experience, they have certain shortcomings too.
While large companies can afford to buy and use proxy servers, for a smaller firm it can be difficult to do so. Apart from installation, additional funds are required for maintenance and monitoring of the network.
These servers are to be configured as per one’s needs. So, there is some coding that needs to be done so as to make the proxy server suit one’s requirements. Even if a single port is left open, it gives hackers a window to snoop onto your precious data.
Though caching of the data leads to faster Internet access, it is also true that the information displayed to the users is not the latest.
Proxy server settings are customized, and thus, its debugging can be a tedious task in case of any bugs. Having said that, the main reason behind using these servers is the secured access that it gives to its users.