What is a Proxy Server?

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Today, we will learn about Proxy Servers. I am using the term Firewall in this tutorial, so if you don't want to miss out, please follow the tutorials in order. If you know what a firewall is, please continue. I am sure that you must have heard this sentence before. Have you found out who did this hack?

It's very difficult to find out who did it because they were using a proxy server. Now you might be thinking, a Proxy Server is something a hacker will use to hide his IP and identity to prevent the authorities from tracing a hack back to you. You are right. But let's figure out a little more about it. So What is a proxy server? A proxy server is nothing but a server or a computer that sits between your PC and the server that you are trying to access. Consider the below network: Your PC, A firewall, and the Server of youtube.com When you browse https://youtube.com in your browser, the firewall will know that you are requesting to visit youtube.com.The firewall will allow the request and the request reaches youtube.com.

2 things will happen now.

  1. The firewall knows that you are trying to visit YouTube and it can block YouTube.
  2. YouTube will get your IP. Point 1 is bad because, Since the firewall knows what you are trying to access, the admin of the firewall can see what all websites you are visiting.
This will reduce your privacy. Point 2 is bad because, since YouTube gets your IP, YouTube will know who is visiting. So if you were trying to hack YouTube, YouTube can easily know who was trying to access and trace it back to you and arrest you. So what is the solution to these problems? The solution is to use a proxy server. Let's revisit the same example, but we add a proxy server here.

Your PC, A Firewall, a Proxy Server, and the Server of youtube.comThe first step we will do now is to configure your browser to use a proxy server. Before that first find our IP. Visit http://whatismyip.host/ from your Firefox browser. You can see your actual IP. Now, You can search in Google for "free proxy IP and ports" to get different websites that show the list of proxies. Here are the IP and Port. This means that we will be forwarding our requests to this IP and this port. This server will redirect the requests accordingly.

Open Firefox, go to Options. Search for "Proxy" in the search box. Click on settings. Select Manual Proxy Configuration. Enter the IP and port that you have copied from the website and check "Use this proxy server for all protocols" Click on OK. Again try visiting http://whatismyip.host/ from your Firefox browser. You should see the IP that you just configured here and your location seems to have changed. What we just did was that we configured our browser to forward all the requests to this proxy server Now, when you try to visit youtube.com, the browser will send the request to proxy server that you just configured) and that server will send the request to YouTube.That is, in this case, The firewall will not know you are visiting YouTube.It thinks you are visiting some website, so it cannot block YouTube. Also, YouTube will not get your IP. Because the request goes through the proxy server and YouTube will get the proxy server IP only. i.e So the previous problems that we faced are solved by using a proxy server. The IP and port that I have used may not work for you guys as they will change it occasionally.

I hope you have got a basic understanding of What is a Proxy Server?

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