Blacklists for websites
Businessmen shaking hands proxy servers make it possible to blacklist certain pages. In this way, certain pages cannot be reached via the proxy server. An example: A school or company wants to prevent students / employees from using Facebook during working hours.
In addition, the proxy server can record or 'log' the surfing behavior of any computer connected to it. All data that pass through the proxy server can be recorded and saved and viewed by the owner of the server. Think e.g. to your employer or internet provider.
Hide your IP address
More and more people are concerned that websites and companies track them online. The use of a proxy server helps to protect your identity online by disguising your IP address (except for transparent proxies). Third parties only see the proxy IP address. Veiling your IP address provides more security and privacy: websites can no longer link your surfing behavior to you as a user. With the help of a proxy, you reveal less information about yourself to third parties. If you don't want to see personalized advertising, a proxy is (partially) a solution.
Bypass locks and other proxies
Finally, a proxy can bypass the restrictions of an online block or other proxies. As mentioned earlier, a company, school, or even a government agency can use proxies to block access to certain content. By using your own proxy server, however, these locks can be easily circumvented. Do you want e.g. read a news site that is blocked for your location? Then use a good proxy server.
Streaming services like Hulu can also sometimes be reached through a proxy. These pages limit their offer, depending on where the user is located geographically. Try e.g. times a video in the BBC iPlayer while you are in Germany: You will immediately receive an error message with the information that the respective content is only available in Great Britain. However, if you use a British proxy server, you can often load the video easily. However, this does not apply to all services, as some sites prohibit connections to proxy servers. So you usually get an error message on Netflix when you are connected to a proxy.
Disadvantages of proxies
Unfortunately there are a number of disadvantages. This is often due to the fact that proxies are only half the solution: they do not offer complete anonymity and security. Read more below.
Not complete anonymity
Keylogger Hacker LookingglassMany people use private proxies to anonymize their surfing behavior and protect personal data. However, the owner of a proxy server can constantly read all traffic through his server. A company can simply see what is happening in its company network (which is regulated by proxy). You can also see how much time a user spends on a particular website. So your employer knows when you ordered new shoes online during working hours.
A proxy does not always protect your Internet traffic against readers. This risk is particularly great with free providers: it is unclear who has control over the connection and which stranger gets hold of your data. In short, for those looking for complete privacy, a proxy might not be the right choice.
A proxy server is also no guarantee of your security. Although your data traffic is usually not attributable to you as a user, the transmitted data is not additionally encrypted. Websites can still see exactly what you are doing online, although the activity cannot be linked to your IP address.
Your IP address can be determined
A proxy is also not a panacea for sensitive noses. With some proxies, it is relatively easy for third parties to determine the user's IP address. If this happens, the advantages of a proxy server are no longer worth much and you are less protected as a user on the Internet.
Are proxy servers secure?
Anyone using a proxy server needs to be aware of a few things. In most cases, using a VPN server is more secure and convenient than a proxy.
The proxy must be set correctly
Only when a proxy is set correctly does it offer a reasonable level of anonymity. The server settings are relatively complex and cannot always be controlled by the user. The proxy operator must have sufficient specialist knowledge and apply it correctly. This is the only way a proxy can offer what it promises. In addition, the server must be serviced regularly