A proxy server acts as an intermediary between your personal router and other servers. Proxy servers allow you to keep your computer anonymous, speed up access to different sites and content through the process of caching (or transparently storing data so it can get accessed faster in the future), prevents downloading the same thing more than once so you do not use up bandwidth and memory, and scans the content and other viruses before delivering it to your computer. 

A proxy server can also be used by companies to audit internet usage by employees, to scan outgoing content so that it does not get lost in case of a malfunction, and to bypass security, parental controls, and the filters of certain ISPs. By using a proxy server, you enable yourself to get access to more content, like overriding cross-domain restrictions ,while keeping others from getting your data and other information. 

Ultimately, whether it is a case of filtering, caching, translating (localizing a website experience to best suit the needs of the user), bypassing filters and censors, eavesdropping, or just accessing a server anonymously, proxy servers allow you to safely and discreetly browse the internet at your convenience. 

There are a few different ways to get access to a proxy server. You can use:

  • Web proxy, which processes requests like any other server, but targets directly URLs in the user's browser window to bounce them back
  • Suffix proxy, which allows a user to get access to the proxy simply by amending the URL used, but are not generally as secure and anonymous as web proxies.
  • Transparent or intercepting proxies, which get used by businesses to make sure acceptable use policy is in effect by blocking sites or recording data. 

Depending on your purposes, the use of a proxy can enhance your web browsing experience while keeping you clear of any unwanted records or prying eyes. However, business proxies can have the opposite effect if you do not know how to detect them. Using a proxy server is a great way to store your data without sharing it with the world, filter out malware, spyware, and other hacking tools and viruses, bypass firewalls, and give you access to otherwise unobtainable data and information. By using the right proxy server, you can enhance your internet experience while still staying safe from identity thieves, hackers, and other unwanted visitors.