A proxy is called a proxy server, which is to say that its purpose is to relay information.
How does it work?
A proxy is a gateway … it was invented to communicate local networks that do not use TCP / IP (the protocol used on the web) with the web.
It is a server (there are many available, the most widely used as Squid, or Japanese, Janus or Provixy… does the 4 most popular, there are many more!) That the relay between client and the server receiving the application.
There are three types of proxy:
– Generic: a specific port is used for certain types of queries (for example HTTP or FTP) server that can be opened or closed (mainly IP range)
– Socks: relay all information, whether web requests, mail, messenger, torrent, etc…
– Transparent: it is a generic proxy but in its application that transmits the IP request (and thus you lose your anonymity, but we’ll come in two seconds)
Uses may be many, but there are two:
– Protection / restriction: you want to protect or restrict certain protocols (for example to avoid using MSN or Torrent), you can set up a transparent proxy that will relay some information on some certain protocols and ports … block everything else.
– Anonymizer: you do not want that you know your IP address to browse to the neighbor in the network (this is wrong), or send queries to Google without toast … you go through a proxy (not transparent otherwise it is useless) and now (almost immune).
– Cache system: you often see the same websites … you can go through a proxy that will go regularly check the content of the site, caching in local … and access the site will be much faster (squid does well, to be reserved for large sites sluggish).
The answer is yes and no doubles.
No, you are not anonymous, but the server that receives your application log the IP address of the proxy and not against you … by the proxy server can keep track of your requests, so it’s all relative anonymity.
It is quite possible with a lot of resources and perseverance to trace some queries, even across multiple proxies (as long as they log all queries).
But for standard use (if you have nothing to reproach yourself) your anonymity is pretty well guaranteed.
Some typical uses:
– I want to access Pandora, the wonderful service and listening to American music recommendation … but with my IP I’m French and I flush denies access to the service. Solution: I go through a proxy us and now I can quietly listen to music on Pandora.
– I was asked to re-direct site visitors based on their IP address to the French, English, Italian, etc … how to test that it works correctly? I go through a proxy English, Italian, etc … and I can test if my code works.
There are many possible use proxies and it is a technical solution to know!
And you use proxy and for what use?