In continuation of our previous blog introducing proxies, we have created another write-up to enlighten you regarding the advantages and disadvantages of using a proxy. It’s no surprise proxy servers have grown in popularity over the years.
Ultimately, proxies are extremely valuable solutions for both individuals and businesses that need to make accurate data-driven decisions. For individuals, proxies can help to access geo-blocked content, improve security levels, and optimise a web activity. For businesses on the other hand, not only will they provide an extra layer of security, but they are quickly becoming an indispensable tool to gather publicly available information.
With more and more people looking for ways to defeat internet censorship by hiding their IP address and accessing restricted content, the use of virtual servers, or proxies, is a trend that’s here to stay.
Advantages of using a proxy
If, for any reason, you would like to remain anonymous while online, proxy is the way to go. You would be wrong if you thought that only hackers use proxies for such purposes. There are many users who prefer that their IP, thus their identity, remains unknown.
2. Filtering requests
Just as you can use a proxy to obtain access to a website, you can also use it to restrict certain websites to people using your network. If you are a company, you can get proxies which will stop your employees from accessing websites that can reduce their productivity or damage your network.
3. Hiding your IP address
A proxy server can hide your true IP address and make the server controlling your target website unable to detect the real one. However, there are cases when servers at some institutions prevent people from accessing certain websites. In this case, a proxy might come in handy and enable you to visit the website you want. On a larger scale, there are even some countries that block their residents’ access to some websites or even a good part of the content found online. A reliable proxy server can also help you fool these filters and freely surf the web.
Some proxies use cached data but this probably says nothing to you and leaves you wondering what are the benefits of caching proxy servers. The answer is very simple. If a person using the same network as you wants to visit the same page as you did, a proxy server will not have to go to the target website. Instead, it will retrieve the information from its own cached data and improve both the information transaction by making it faster and reduce the load from the target website’s server.
If you browse the Internet directly from your IP address without using any proxy, the level of security is rather low, which leaves you at risk of being attacked by hackers. The very fact that your IP remains unknown to external servers when using proxies means that you are significantly safer. Some proxy servers even use a firewall as an additional security measure, so you will have double protection from any potential intruders.
Disadvantages of using a proxy
1. Cost of subscription
When choosing a proxy server, the best option for you is a paid version. These paid versions offer better protection and performance for your business. If you want to use the best versions of the paid proxies, you’ll need to pay a bit more for the service. If you also consider adding VPNs to your security tools, then you need to factor the extra cost of operations into your budget.
2. Data or Identity theft
A proxy’s cache memory can remember sensitive information such as your passwords. That may not seem like something that is dangerous to you since you know a proxy can block an external server from getting this data however, if somebody associated with the proxy servers you are using is not responsible with how they do their job, things could go wrong. In that situation, somebody with malicious intent could easily get a hold of your sensitive information. For that specific reason, it is very important to only subscribe to reputable providers.
It is true that there are many benefits to using a proxy server. However, a problem might arise if the proxy is incompatible with your local network. You need to be aware that both of these are separate systems with their respective configurations.
4. Online activity tracking
Although a proxy server might come in handy in masking your public IP address, some providers might still be able to see and monitor your activity online. For this reason, it would be advisable to research a proxy provider before using their service.
5. Unencrypted connection
Although most proxy servers will provide you with some level of anonymity, many of these do not encrypt your connection. Most providers only use an SSL certificate to encrypt data passing through their servers. This isn’t however enough considering attackers today can use SSL stripping to decrypt such connections. Although the page might show SSL encryption on your site, your data might not be as secure when going through the proxy server. Consider investing in a proxy server that encrypts all connections.