A proxy, or virtual proxy server, is actually a single computer which stands between the internet user and the web server. The proxy server intercepts all of the outgoing web traffic before it is passed on to the real website. With a proxy server, the location and identity of the individual user stay (partly) secret. The proxy servers do not know who uses them, just as users of websites using anonymous proxies do not know who uses them.
There are two kinds of proxy servers: the layer 1 proxy and layer 2 proxy. A layer one proxy simply translates requests made by the client computer into the appropriate protocol on the proxy server and vice versa. While both are effective, layer one is considered to be more secure than the layers two because it does not reveal the actual IP address of the client. This means that all requests go through the proxy instead of through the website.
Layer two, however, does provide some security benefits. By choosing a higher level of security, an anonymous proxy will ensure that requests to the server will have an IP address and that the server will return these requests. However, anonymous proxies do have another security benefit. Through the use of socks-based or IP-based authentication, it is possible for two different clients to share the same IP address. This is more secure means of securing the connection than requests to a server IP directly. For this reason, many sites prefer to use layer two services.
One of the most common types of proxy setup is the simplex proxy. This setup basically uses a small amount of bandwidth from the client computer. All requests go through the proxy and are then bypassed through the proxy server itself. It is commonly used for anonymous browsing and web conferencing. Another common type of proxy setup is the content filtering proxy.
One example of using this type of proxy in the Internet is by using ISP’s VOIP service. Some ISPs allow their customers to use UPnP. With this technology, a user can connect to a VOIP service even though he has no connection to the public Internet. With this type of service, a proxy can use the real IP address of a host so that all requests go through a single IP address. Although this type of setup may sound complicated, it is easy to implement since UPnP support in most computers will automatically detect the first available network address.
While some people may consider proxies as useful tools for anonymous browsing and web conferencing, others frown upon this setup. Some believe that using a proxy is not only insecure but also poses threats to confidential information. Websites that change their IP address frequently are some of the websites that may be affected by using a transparent proxy.
In cases where a proxy has to forward traffic through several layers before reaching the end user, the traffic gets jammed and can lead to performance problems. In order for this to work properly, a proxy must always make sure that each layer of the path has a secure gateway. This layer is what makes the proxy secure. There are two types of layer 7 protocols that a proxy can use. The session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and the transport protocol (UDP), however, are more commonly used.
Some software companies include SIP as an option when developing a web proxy. However, many Internet users do not prefer this because it does not provide the same security that an SSL or Secure Socket Layer offers. For instance, using a SIP system will not guarantee that the data sent is secure and private. Also, a SIP system may be unable to provide clients with authentication or encryption services. Users should be wary of using cgi proxy and ensure that the application they are running is free from spyware and adware.