Your IP address helps your ISP (Internet Service Provider), the websites you visit, and other third parties recognize your internet-enabled device online. Your ISP can also see the websites you visit and the desktop and mobile apps you use and record your online activity.
However, your IP address also contains geolocation data, enabling web services and apps to see your approximate location. A proxy server can help you hide it and enhance your online privacy and security. Here’s how.
What is a proxy server?
A proxy server is a server app that provides a secure gateway to websites. It’s an intermediary server between a client (your browser) and any target website’s hosting server. It sends HTTP requests on your behalf to help you access and interact with websites without disclosing your location.
When you visit a website, your browser sends an HTTP request to the site’s server to get a specific resource, such as an HTML file containing a particular page’s content. The server authenticates the request and relays an HTTP response, providing access to the content while recording your IP address and approximate location.
A proxy sends an HTTP request from its server, masking your IP address. It routes all your traffic through its network, making you anonymous online.
Why would you need anonymity online?
Privacy and safety are the apparent reasons for online anonymity. For instance, potential thieves or criminals could snoop on your internet network to collect all connected devices’ IP addresses and location data.
Cybercriminals often obtain personal and sensitive information like credit card details to steal identities and commit fraud. They could intercept your online data transmission if you don’t encrypt your internet connection and hide your IP address.
Not all proxies encrypt traffic, but they conceal your IP address, helping you surf the web without third parties noticing you online or targeting you for criminal gain.
That’s perfect for business users because they depend on data and would suffer severe consequences if someone stole or misused it. A high-quality proxy can safeguard your corporate network, preventing data breaches and keeping your sensitive, employee, and customer information safe.
Accessing geo-restricted content
Some countries impose geo-restrictions because of censorship laws, preventing users from specific locations from accessing particular websites.
Many companies do the same because of licensing agreements, using geographical locations to restrict access to their content and services. Some use geo-blocks only on specific website pages or redirect international users to a different site.
A proxy can bypass geo-restrictions, unblocking any website and helping you view and interact with its content. Many proxy services let you choose a server in a specific location, assigning you its IP address and virtually putting you in your target website’s country.
For instance, you can use a US proxy to access your streaming service’s home library while traveling. You can catch up on your favorite TV shows or watch sports live.
Business benefits are far more extensive. A proxy server can help you conduct many activities to gain actionable insights, including:
- Market research;
- Competitive analysis;
- SEO monitoring;
- Software testing;
- Background checks on potential foreign partners.
You can use it to enhance web scraping efforts and gather valuable intelligence to optimize prices, improve user experience, expand to another market, and gain a competitive edge.
Web scraping requires sending multiple HTTP requests from one IP address, often resulting in IP blocks and bans. A proxy server can change the IP for every request, going around anti-scraping measures and the annoying CAPTCHA tests.
It can also reduce your HTTP requests, thus saving bandwidth, accelerating data transfers, and reducing operational costs. It will keep copies of HTML files in its cache memory, enabling quick access to your frequently visited websites.
Benefits of using quality US proxies
A US proxy can help you unlock any restricted content in the US, no matter where you are. You can enjoy all the benefits above without worrying about IP bans and cybersecurity threats.
You only need to paste a URL in the specified box, select a US server from the network, and hit “Enter.” The website’s hosting server will grant you access because it will detect a US IP address.
However, not every proxy server guarantees the benefits above. For example, anonymous proxies are detectable, while their high-anonymity counterparts aren’t.
There’s also the question of quality. For instance, free proxy servers promise false security because they don’t use encryption and may even include malware. They’re unreliable and shouldn’t be part of your cybersecurity toolbox.
A quality US proxy is a paid service that encrypts your internet connection, converts HTTP to HTTPS requests, conducts virus and malware scanning, prevents attacks, and ensures complete anonymity.
Hiding your IP address and location is pretty straightforward with a proxy. You don’t need technical skills because proxy servers only require copy and paste commands.
Find a reliable proxy provider that charges for its services because that’s the best way to protect your online privacy and data security. Anything else would nullify the benefits.