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What is a proxy, how does it work and how to configure it

But the fact that the connection is going to go through the proxy is also going to mean a loss of speed. There are different options to configure this type of service, since there are both free and paid ones, so you must always make sure that you are using one that works as well as possible and thus avoid outages.

what is it useful for

Now, what is a proxy server really used for? What can you do with this kind of services? We will show what are the main utilities and benefits when your connection passes through this type of tool and how it can help or protect your browsing.

Bypass geo-blocking

One of the main uses of a proxy server is that it allows bypass geo-blocking that there may be This happens when trying to open a web page or use any service that may be restricted in a certain place. For example, social networks that are censored in some countries, platforms such as Netflix that do not allow watching series or movies that are not available for a country, trying to access territorially limited transmission media, etc.

What such a server does is hide real ip address. Therefore, we are going to navigate through your IP that may belong to a server that is located in another country. This way you can enter a page or application that is blocked in an area of ​​​​the world, even if you are not really there.

These services have become popular in recent times precisely for the fact that they can avoid geographical blockages. Although it mainly serves to avoid censorship in one place, it has also grown as streaming video platforms have done, which usually have restrictions of this type.

filter content

A proxy can also filter content when browsing the web. They can be configured so that they do not return a request if, for example, you try to enter a certain website that is blocked by that server. This will depend on which one you use, but it can be configured to block content related to a theme or simply certain pages.

This can be useful for the security. For example, it could block content that has been classified as dangerous because it contains malware or is a website created solely to carry out Phishing attacks. By filtering access, we may be improving our protection on the network.

Hide IP address

Without a doubt, another very useful point is that we can hide the real IP address. This will provide greater privacy, which in turn will also help security. It will also help to hide the geographical location, since through the public IP they could know where we are exactly.

A proxy allows hide the IP since when browsing through their servers, the address shown is actually that of the proxy. For example when entering a website or opening any program on the network. We will be protected in this sense.

store cache

A proxy server will also act to store cache. This is very useful if we want to access with greater speed to an online service, for example. Instead of sending the request and waiting to receive the response, the proxy will store the content and we will be able to access it through this service.

For example, think of a web page that you access for the second time. That content may already be cached and you will receive it more quickly. It can be static type content, such as HTML, CSS, images… It is an interesting option to be able to navigate faster in certain circumstances.

Steps to set it up on Windows

There are many proxy servers on the Internet. You can use both free and paid. Some work simply through a web page, which what it does is redirect traffic through its server. You can also see lists of proxies, such as ProxyScrape or ProxyNova. Of course, you must make sure that the option you choose works well and with good speed.

You can easily set up a proxy server in Windows. To do this, the first thing you have to do is go to Startyou access Setting Y Network and Internet. There you have to click on Proxy, which is one of the options that will appear in that window.

Proxy server on Windows

Once you have clicked on Proxy, you have to click on Configuration, within the section of use proxy server.

proxy settings

When you sign in, it will appear disabled by default. You simply have to click on the box to activate it and fill in the corresponding data with the proxy IP address and the port. In addition, you can configure it so that it does not act on certain addresses.

Activate a proxy

You will have to obtain this data from the proxy server that you are going to use. For example, you can make use of some of the services that we have shown. You simply write down that information, put it in the Windows configuration and hit Save. From that moment you will navigate through a proxy.

Differences between proxy and VPN

At this point you may be wondering what differences are there really with a VPN. In a way, you may also get what you need with a VPN. For example hide the IP address or bypass geo-blocking. But there are some differences and we are going to show what they are.

Web traffic encryption

A very important difference is in the encryption of web traffic. A VPN will encrypt all traffic. This is very interesting if, for example, you are going to connect from a public Wi-Fi network that may be insecure. This way you will prevent them from stealing your data when making an online payment or logging in to a site.

Instead, a proxy will only encrypt web traffic. The proxy works mainly through the browser. For example, if you use a proxy in Chrome, it will only act on the pages you visit from the browser and not on the entire Internet connection, as a VPN that you have installed would do.

Velocity

Both a proxy and a VPN are going to affect speed. After all, our connection will go through an intermediary first. That will slow it down, although the difference can be important between one server and another, which is why we must always choose correctly which one to use.

Nevertheless, a proxy is usually slower than a VPN. Of course, you can find a proxy that is very good and works better than a free VPN that does not work properly. But in general, a proxy will be slower and you will have more problems being able to surf the Internet or download files.

Security

In both cases you will be able to have problems with security and privacy if you use a bad service, as they could sell your data. However, if we take into account that both are correct and that your objective is to improve security, in this case there is undoubtedly a notable difference in favor of the VPN.

A proxy will not improve security, as it will not encrypt your entire connection. What we mentioned before can happen, that you are connected to an insecure network and your data can be compromised. A VPN, on the other hand, does encrypt the entire connection and makes the information travel in a kind of tunnel.

In short, as you have seen, a proxy is a server that acts as an intermediary when you access a web page, for example. There are differences compared to a VPN, but it will also serve to hide the IP address or avoid geographical blocking that may exist when using an online service.

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