In movies, the odds are you’ve seen a scene where friends get mad at each other. Instead of talking to each other and working it out, they ask a mutual friend to relay a message to them:
John: “Alex, tell Ryan I’m not talking to him.”
Alex: “Ryan, John says he isn’t talking to you.”
Ryan: “Fine. Tell John I don’t even care. “
Alex: “John, Ryan says he want to be friends again.”
Alex is stuck in the middle as a mediator. He’s receiving and relaying messages for his two friends. What he is doing is acting as a proxy – acting as a representative for the other person.
When it comes to computing, a proxy server works in much the same way.
How does a proxy work?
Web proxies are some of the most common types of proxies. A web proxy just gives you online access when you get on your computer. A proxy is valuable because it adds another level of structure and security, and it’s usually located on a local server.
Before you can understand how a proxy works, you’ll have to understand a couple different types of proxies.
- Forward proxy. A forward proxy provides internal Internet access that might otherwise be hindered due to a firewall.
- Open proxy. An open proxy is just what it sounds like – a proxy server that is open for public use. The disadvantage with an open proxy is that your online activity is recorded, foregoing your privacy.
- Reverse proxy. Most web proxies are for the benefit of the user, but a reverse proxy is actually benefitting the web server.
Proxies are something you don’t ever notice. They do their job, help you get online, deliver information and help structure your online experience.