What Is a Proxy Server?
A proxy server is essentially another computer which serves as a hub through which Internet requests are processed. By connecting through one of these servers, your computer sends your requests to the server, which subsequently processes your request. You will then receive the response to your submitted request from the server.
In this way it serves as an intermediary between your home machine and the rest of the computers on the Internet. Proxies are used for a number of reasons, such as to filter web content, to avert restrictions like parental blocks, to screen downloads and uploads, and to provide anonymity when surfing the internet.
Why Use a Proxy?
If you are seeking to surf the web anonymously, then proxy servers can provide you with a means to hide your IP address from the rest of the world. By connecting to the Internet through these servers, the public IP address of your machine will not be shown. Instead, the IP of the server will be shown.
This can provide you with a greater environment of privacy than if you were simply connecting directly to the Internet. There are a number of proxies that can provide you with service. Some are free, while some will charge a small fee for use.
The choice is up to you. However, paid services are generally faster, more reliable, and more secure.
How to Set Up a Proxy With a Browser
Internet Explorer Settings
On Internet Explorer, first select 'Tools' (see image 1). Choose 'Internet Options' and then select the 'Connections' tab, as seen in image 2. Click the LAN settings, and check the box for 'Use a proxy server for your LAN' (image 3). Enter the IP address of the server and the port number, select 'OK,' and then use our Proxy Check tool to see if your settings worked.
To set up through Firefox, click the Firefox button in the upper left corner of the browser. Select 'Options,' and then click 'Options' in the new tab that opens up. Choose the 'Advanced' tab, and then select 'Settings.'
From there, select 'Manual Proxy Settings.' In the HTTP Proxy Box, enter the IP address of the server as well as the Port Number. Once you hit 'OK,' you can check to see if your settings worked.
Google Chrome Settings
To access Google Chrome's setup, click the 'Customize and Control' button. It appears as the picture of the wrench in the browser's upper right hand corner. Select 'Under the Hood' and choose 'Change proxy settings.' From there, click 'LAN Settings' and check the box for 'Use a proxy server for your LAN.'
This will then allow you to enter the IP address of the server and its port number. Click 'OK,' and then check to see if your settings worked.
For Safari, select Safari and then choose 'Preferences.' At this point, you may click 'Advanced' and then 'Change Settings.' Check the Web Proxy (HTTP) box, enter the IP address of the server and the port number, and click 'Apply Now.' Once again, do not forget to check to see if your settings worked using the Proxy Check tool.
Different Types of Proxy Servers
There are several different categories of servers. Though they ultimately all serve a sole purpose, it can be beneficial to know the differences between them. Below area few terms that you should be aware of.
To Hide Your IP Address:
Transparent proxies are the most basic kind. They don't offer any kind of privacy protection; instead, they merely relay your information along with the proxy's IP address. The server you submit your request to is made aware that the request is coming in on a proxy. These are frequently used for basic IP bans, such as website filtering or content filters on web browsers.
High anonymity proxies are the most advanced in security. They withhold your IP address and refrain from identifying that they are a proxy, like transparent servers do. They are highly anonymous because the IP address they use changes, providing maximum privacy.
Public proxies are the opposite of high anonymity servers; they are highly insecure and unreliable. It's easy for them to fail on a systemic level and experience shutdown.
Furthermore, hackers have been known to manipulate them as a front to steal data. However, their cost is virtually impossible to beat, as they are free. Use these kinds of servers with caution and avoid sending sensitive information over them.
Residential proxies use real IP addresses and appear like real computers to servers, which is an advantage. Any proxy on this list can be considered residential if it uses an IP address that's connected to an actual Internet-connected device. These servers are harder to detect because the IP addresses used are real.
To Hide a Server's IP Address:
Reverse proxy servers hide the IP address of the server you're trying to send a request to, which is the opposite of most of the above servers. These work well for when you are trying to keep a server private from external clients or if you want to monitor access to a server.
This isn't a comprehensive list of all the proxy services available for use. But it's a start to understanding which variation of server you're looking for.
The most important question to ask when using these servers is whether or not you are truly hidden. For this purpose, we provide a detection tool at WhatIsMyIP.com. Furthermore, if service is set up correctly, you will see its IP address on the check page and you may receive a message that one was detected.
Above all, it is crucial to be aware that it is impossible to detect all proxies. While this tool may not be able to detect the type being used, that does not mean that other sites cannot. It also unfortunately does not mean that you are completely anonymous. If you want to escape the grid completely, try using a VPN, or virtual private network, to encrypt all of your Internet traffic.