You may think that you enjoy a level of anonymity while online. The truth is that you do not. Anyone who has an interest in you can easily find you. Online users will track you using your IP address.
Think of an IP address much like you would your physical home address. It pinpoints your exact location no matter where you are browsing from.
Proxy servers provide a solution for the anonymity you need while online. They have become very popular due to the many benefits they offer users. Proxies will hide your location while providing you with security.
You get to keep your information safe through the data encryption they provide. You also get access to content that may not be accessible to you due to geo-blocking.
Our article will answer the question, what does a proxy hide? We will share a complete guide on proxies and how you can use them for privacy when online.
Understanding Proxy Servers and Their Role
You probably use the internet quite a bit. But have you ever really thought about what happens in the background. There is an information exchange between you and the remote server. We can summarize the process as:-
- You type in a search query
- The information goes through your server to the remote server
- The remote server receives the request for information. Together with this, it can pinpoint your exact location from your IP address.
- It then sends back an appropriate response
- The feedback is the results you get
The process includes the transfer of data back and forth. If you are on an insecure platform, other third parties can access the information. Such loopholes present areas of vulnerabilities hackers can use.
The flow above is representative of a situation where you do not have a proxy server. If you have one, the information exchange changes. The diagram below summarizes it very well.
- Once you type in a search query, it goes through the proxy server. A Proxy is an online computer that acts as an intermediary.
- At this point, there is sieving or filtering of the content.
- The proxy will eliminate or block any harmful content.
- It then uses its IP address to send a request to the remote server.
- When the remote server responds, the information goes through the proxy as well.
- The proxy then forwards the information to you.
So, What Does a Proxy Server Hide?
When a proxy server uses its IP address, the remote server does not get to see yours. It hides or shields your IP address with its own. It is important to know the different proxies, and how they work. You want to ensure that the one you purchase will hide your IP address.
- Transparent proxies will not hide your IP address.
- Anonymous proxies hide your IP address. They may however reveal information
- Distorting proxies will use an incorrect IP address or changes your slightly. In this way, the remote server does not get to know your real address
- Rotating proxies give a different IP address for every request
- High anonymity proxies do not show your IP address. Unlike all the others, they will not identify themselves as a proxy. They are the best if you want anonymity, privacy, and security when online.
So here is what your proxy will hide.
- You When Online
You want to be able to browse without people knowing where you are. Without a proxy, your IP address will be available to anyone and everyone. It means you may not even be able to access some content. You may have noticed, for example, that Netflix has geo-specific content. Gaming platforms also apply the same. With the proxy, you hide your location and can tour the online space without fear of identification.
2. Your Activities on Competitor Websites
Checking out your competitors and the website is a common practice. You get to know exactly what they’re doing so that you can position yourself better. You, however, do not want to leave behind any evidence that you were there. A proxy will hide your IP address so that you do not leave any footprints behind.
3. Your Data
You can get data encryption depending on the proxy you have. Let’s take the example of SSL proxies that encrypts any data that you send to the remote server. Only the recipient you intend to get the information can view it.
It uses the HTTPS protocol to keep your data safe. Data decryption also ensures that anything coming into your server has gone through filtration. You keep out harmful content that could put you at risk.
Data encryption is beneficial if you want to avoid third-party surveillance. It is also an effective way of ensuring hackers do not have access to your information.
4. You From Dangerous Sites
You are vulnerable to clicking on the wrong site without even knowing it. You expose yourself to Cyber-attacks and malware. A proxy will sieve content before letting it through.
You can also restrict access to particular websites. It is very useful when you want to track children’s activities online. It also helps control employee and student use of online resources.
- Your Search History
Your search history can give a lot of information. Every time you accept cookies, you are leaving behind vital information. The information provides data for marketers. They will then target you with specific ads depending on your activities online.
The ads can become a nuisance that you do not want to deal with. And quite honestly, it is a bit scary to think your information could be out there without your permission. A proxy server will hide your IP address, giving you anonymity when online.
It is crucial to choose the right proxy when shopping. Different proxies have different benefits. Determine what your needs are so you can find the best for you. There are free options available. You, however, miss out on better functionalities. SSL proxies, for example, offer high levels of security and privacy. You may want to consider it a worthy investment if you want to protect yourself online.