In this series, we will detail how to connect to a proxy web server in order to be able to browse anonymously. This series is related to the post on how to connect to a VPN that Mohd Sohail wrote in the past and you can read that here.
In the post of VPN we saw its theoretical operation, the benefits it can provide us and finally, we saw how to establish a connection with a series of free VPN servers that we can find on the internet.
Now the idea is to do the same but this time with a proxy server. So we’ll start by detailing what a Proxy Server is and how it works:
WHAT IS AN HTTP PROXY SERVER?
Basically, it is a machine or device that acts as a gateway to clients to connect to web servers.
Therefore when we are in the browser and we want to connect to a web page we first make the request to the proxy server. Then the proxy server will make the connection request to the web server or web page to which we want to connect.
If after reading this section you still have doubts read the following section. After reading the next section everything will be completely clear. Note: This post focuses on http proxy or web proxy servers. There are other proxy servers such as Proxy socks or Forward Proxy servers.
HOW A PROXY SERVER WORKS
In the following graphic you can see the operation of a proxy server:
In the graphic, we see that we want to visit a web page hosted on a web server. Therefore, we make the request through the proxy server. Therefore, the proxy server will receive a request from our computer with an external IP.
Once our request has been received, the proxy server will make the same request that we just made to the web server, but with the particularity that the request will do with IP which is the IP of the proxy server. With this, we will get to hide our IP to the staff that is managing the web page to which we want to connect.
In other words and to simplify it even more. Imagine that we have to borrow money from a person and we do not want him to know that he is lending it to us. What we would do in this case is to ask a third person to ask for the money for us. Then the person who is lending the money would never know that we are in possession of the money that he has lent.
ADVANTAGES THAT WE OBTAIN WHEN CONNECTING US THROUGH A PROXY SERVER
As we have just seen, the main utility of connecting through a proxy server is to hide information from the people who are tracking us. Therefore in a way, a proxy server is not becoming anonymous. Being anonymous is extremely important for several reasons. At the moment that we are providing our IP we are revealing among other things our location. So that you can see that what I say is true, you only have to access the following web page: https://premproxy.com/anonymity-test/
When you access the web you will get information similar to the following:
Note: For obvious reasons, I have hidden the information that appears in the screenshot. As you can see in the screenshot anyone who has our IP can know our exact location and our Internet provider very easily. Apart from what we have just seen, there is more. Every time we visit a web page we are delivering more information apart from our ip. So that you have an idea of the totality of information that you are providing, you can connect to the following website. www.xhaus.com/headersWhen you connect you will get a screen similar to the following:
Note: In the screenshot, you can see all the information we enter when visiting a web page. Some of the information we provide is necessary to make the web server interpret our request. People who are interested in the http communication protocol I leave the following introduction link: https://ccm.net/contents/273-the-http-protocolTherefore, the information that our browser is providing in each of the websites that we connect is the following:
- The address of the web page to which we are accessing.
- The connection method that in this case is the GET. The GET method is the one that requests a resource located in the URL that we connect.
- Our IP address and the port through which our machine is transmitting.
- The requested protocol version, which in most cases is HTTP / 1.1.
- The type of content our browser accepts.
- Information about whether our browser accepts pages with gzip compression, etc.
- Our language preference. This point, for example, is useful in the case that we access multilingual web pages. With this feature, the web server will know that you will have to give us an answer.
- The type of connection that in most will be Keep alive. The http protocol when making the connection gives a response. When the answer is given, it disconnects the connection automatically. With the keep alive parameter, we make this connection stay alive to support future requests to the server to which we are connected.
- Information about our browser type and the operating system that we are using.
- Other additional information that is not shown in the screenshot such as the source by which we have accessed the website, etc.
As you can see with the information we are giving, any hacker will have enough information to access our computer and embitter the existence. Think that we are giving you a lot of crucial data such as our IP, the operating system we use, the version of a browser, the browser version, etc. Just knowing our IP and the browser version we use may be enough for someone to access our computer.
Other advantages that we obtain when connecting to the Internet through a proxy server are:
- Have access to services that are not available in our country. For example, if we are in Nigeria, we could access services such as Pandora or Netflix.
- The possibility of skipping the restrictions of proxy servers that are common in many companies so that we do not connect to our personal email, YouTube, Facebook, etc. Depending on the infrastructure the company has, it may not be possible to bypass the restrictions
- Hide the sites we visit while we work. It may be that the computer department, of the site where you work, is registering the web pages to which each of the employees connects. In the case of using a proxy server, they can only register that we have connected to a proxy server but they will not be able to know in the web pages that we enter.
- Skip restrictions imposed by certain Internet services. For example, direct download servers that allow a limited number of downloads per IP.
- Access to forums or websites where our IP address has been banned.
Also in the case that we had a server, for example, squid, and we could configure it as a forward proxy we could obtain the following features of the proxy server:
- Provide an http cache proxy service. So the second time we want to access a website, the connection speed will be much faster. A cache proxy server is especially useful in the case of having multiple users visit common pages. If these users are connected through the same proxy the loading of the pages will increase enormously.
- Deny certain users such as p2p, skype, email , etc.
- Prohibit access to certain web pages.
- Register the traffic of a user of the network in particular.
- Deny access to certain network sub-masks.
A proxy server is a computer that acts as an intermediary between the client and server connection. In this way, it is the proxy who receives the requests to access pages and transmits them to the server of the web. That is why they are widely used as a measure to increase the privacy of Internet browsing. It is also a technological solution to access web pages or services that are blocked in other countries. In the next phase, we will go to de entails how to connect to a proxy server.