You may decide to use a proxy server for various reasons, for example if you want to increase the level of security and privacy while browsing the Web or simply to access content that cannot be reached from Italy.
A proxy server can also come in very handy should you decide to restrict browsing on a particular deviceblocking adult or dangerous content.
In this article, I will explain it to you in the simplest way possible what is a proxy server and how does it work. Finally, in later chapters I’ll show you where to find proxy server lists, how to manually set up a proxy server on Windows, what are the best online proxy servers, and how to install a proxy right on your web browser.
Proxy server: what it is and how it works
A proxy server acts as a gateway between you and the web, meaning it is a remote server that you can connect to to request access to web pages. Simply put, a proxy server is a “computer” located between the client (the user) and a site or web page.
When you use a proxy server and you want to access a specific web page, the request arrives at the proxy, the latter connects to the server hosting the requested web page, having received the response, the proxy sends the web page to the user.
In practice, using a proxy server, you will no longer connect directly to the server hosting the web pagebut you will connect to the proxy which will send the request and send the response back to you with the web pages you want to visit.
As written at the beginning, the proxy server is able to increase the level of security and privacysince while browsing, the server hosting the web page it is requesting will never display yours IP address.
Also, you should know that a proxy server can be located anywhere in the world, this allows you to access services or websites that are not available in your country.
Proxy servers can be public or private: the public ones are accessible to all and completely free, generally they are able to manage thousands of connections at the same time, however, the high number of connections can make the server unstable and slow.
It is not always possible to identify the server manager and this is not the best when it comes to security and privacy. Private proxies are not available to everyone and in most cases they are paid for, however, they are more stable and above all more secure than public ones.
Types of proxies
Proxies can be divided into at least 4 categories: transparent proxies, web proxies, anonymous proxies and SOCKS proxies.
- Transparent proxies: these are proxies that are not seen by users who access them and have the sole purpose of monitoring outgoing connections and possibly preventing access to certain web pages or services. Transparent proxies are often used to connect to public networks.
- Web proxies or HTTP/HTTPS: generally these are free proxies that do not require any type of installation and have the purpose of making the user’s computer anonymous in the eyes of the Internet. We can somehow define them as a filter for web traffic generated by the browser.
- Anonymous proxies: these are proxies that have the sole purpose of making the user’s IP address anonymous.
- SOCKS proxies or SOCKS5: These proxies can be used through browsers or other programs and are not limited to monitoring and routing traffic from Web Browsers, but monitor all Internet traffic coming from the user’s computer. All this guarantees a higher level of privacy and security, however, the large amount of data to be monitored very often makes them quite slow.
How to manually set up a proxy server
Manually set up a proxy on Windows 10 or Windows 11 it’s pretty simple. Obviously before proceeding you will need to find the IP address of the Proxy server you want to use, to do this, you can use one of the many services available on the net, the one I recommend you try is hidemy.nameto do it:
Login to hidemy.name. On the main screen you will find a section with several menus and text fields that you will need to use to view the list of available proxy servers. Here’s how to set up the various fields:
- country: allows you to choose the location of the proxy server (e.g. Canada, United States, Italy, Spain, etc.);
- Proxy speed: allows you to set the response of the proxy server and therefore the browsing speed. (if you don’t know how to set it, I suggest you leave the field unchanged);
- Port number: offers the possibility to set the port of the proxy server. (use this option only if the program you are using requires the use of a certain port, otherwise leave the field unchanged);
- Proxy types: choose the type of proxy (allows multiple choice);
- Anonymity: allows you to select the anonymization level of the proxy server.
After setting the various parameters, click on the button “Show” and after a few moments the list of available proxy servers will be shown. At this point, I advise you to leave the page open and start configuring the proxy server, here’s how to do it:
- Log in to “Settings” of Windows by pressing from the keyboard WIN + I;
- Click on the entry “Network and the Internet”;
- Click on the entry “Proxies”;
- On Windows 11 click the button “Configure” present next to the item “Use Proxy Server”then turn on the switch below the entry “Use proxy servers”instead on Windows 10, locate the section “Manual proxy configuration” and move the switch next to the item to ON “Use proxy servers”;
- At this point, choose one of the servers in the list seen previously and type in the appropriate fields, the IP address and the port number;
- Put a check mark next to the entry “Do not use proxy servers for local (intranet) addresses”then click “Save”;
Free proxy servers
If you don’t want to manually set up a proxy server on your PC, you can use one of the many services available on the net, the latter allow you to quickly and easily disguise your IP address.
The ones I recommend you try are hidester. com And hide.meafter logging in to one of the websites mentioned above, type the address of the website you wish to visit in the field on the main screen, then click on the button “Go” or “Surf Anonymously”.
In this way you will have access to the desired web page and you will be able to browse it without the server hosting the site being able to view your IP address.
There are also several browser extensions that allow you to quickly and easily use a proxy server. The one I recommend you try is CyberGhost, available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Here are the steps to take:
- Login to This Page if you use Google Chrome, if instead you use Mozilla Firefox access a This Page;
- Click the button “Add to Chrome” or “Add to Firefox”;
- Wait for the extension to install on your browser and then click on the CyberGhost icon at the top right;
- From the drop-down menu select the location of the proxy server you wish to use;
- Click the main button to activate the proxy server.
Now you know what is a proxy server, how it works and how to set it up on your PC. So if you need to browse anonymously or want to access a site not available in your country, use one of the procedures described in the previous chapters. You will see that in a few minutes you will succeed in your intent.
If, on the other hand, you want greater security and a high level of anonymization, I suggest you consider using a VPNs.