Web Proxy: How & Why should you use one.

A web proxy allows you to hide your real IP Address from the websites that you visit. When you visit a website, your real location will not be revealed because you are using a fake IP address that makes it look as if you are accessing the website from a different place. The website sees a different IP address because the web traffic between the web server and your computer goes through a proxy server first. Simply put, a web proxy acts as a shield or middleman between you and the website you want to access.

You know you have a web proxy if there is a space for you to input the URL of the website you want to access using the proxy. To be able to check if your web proxy is working, you should first know what your public IP address is. This way, you can check your IP address before and after to see if it shows a different IP address.

Why use a web proxy?

The major reason why people use a web proxy is to be able to browse the Internet anonymously. There are a lot of reasons why people would want to hide their real IP address.

Here is a list of the most common reasons people use a web proxy:

  • To do private searches that will be undetected by their Internet service provider.
  • To protect themselves from websites that may access their private information & computer files.
  • To browse freely when agencies are tracking their online habits.
  • To access again a site that they were banned from.
  • To access a site that is banned in their country.
  • To be able to browse freely at work or in school.
  • To get rid of targeted and personalized ads, suppress pop-ups, disable cookies, remove scripts, and compress data.

What are the limitations of a web proxy?

Having a web proxy does not mean you are invisible every time you go online. It also has its limitations.

Personal accounts

You do not become anonymous if you use a web proxy and then access an account that belongs to your real identity. For instance, if you log in to your email through the web proxy, your email will not be anonymous since your identity is revealed through the account you logged in.

Doing online transactions

If you do online payments like paying your bills or shopping online, your payment information will not be anonymous even though you are using a web proxy because you are still using real details tied to you.

Some people think they can bypass their data limits with a web proxy. This will not save you from having to deal with a slow connection since it will not hide your bandwidth usage. For example, if your cellular plan only allows you 5 GB per month, going through a web proxy will not hide your data usage from your cellular service provider. However, some web proxies can help you compress data, making you consume less.

Web browsing history

Just because you are using a web proxy does not mean your web browsing history is not being tracked. The web proxy only works on the information being exchanged between you and the website. Your browser will still be able to track your browsing activity so you still have to clear your browser history if you do not want other computer users to see what you have been doing online. You also have the option to put your browser in private mode then access your web proxy from there.

Internet connection

The web proxy only works to websites that you access through the proxy site, it does not mean that your whole Internet connection will be covered and seen as anonymous. This means that if you access websites through other devices like your gaming consoles or smart TV, they are not running through the web proxy. You can fix this by encrypting your entire connection by fixing the settings of your VPN.

Hiding the web proxy itself

One thing you should remember is that you can not hide the web proxy itself. Your Internet service provider can still detect your web proxy usage but they will not be able to see the websites that you go to while using the web proxy. Because of this, anyone who is monitoring your Internet can still see that you are using a web proxy.

There are still some things that you can do to make up for the limitations of a web proxy. If you are browsing the web from your phone, you can fake your GPS location. Other methods include using an anonymous email for your online transactions, erasing your personal information online, and using a virtual number for your phone.

Choosing the right web proxy

If you want to use a web proxy, take the time to do some proper research first. Some web proxy providers are not as good as they look. There have been horror stories about people putting all their faith in a web proxy and it turns out that the web proxy was accessing their bank account information, passwords, and accessing their emails.

Also, you should check what country the web proxy is operating from since some laws will require them to provide your real IP address if the authorities ask for it.

It only takes a quick search to get a list of free web proxies, each having its own set of unique features. Again, research is the key to making a good decision. When doing your research, always read the fine print.

Emil S.

Emil is a Data & Design Specialist with a degree in BS Information System, specializes in Admin Support & Creative Design.

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