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What is a proxy server? Easily explained

Proxy server is a term that you have probably come across in connection with your browser or while surfing. We explain what a Proy server is and what you can do with it in our practical tip.

What is a proxy server?

When you set up an Internet connection with your computer, for example to call up a website, as a client you send your IP address belonging to your PC, similar to a digital fingerprint.

  • When you access a website as a client, you send a request to the server on which the content of the website is located, and the server sends the content back to you.
  • A proxy server is a server that is connected between your PC and the target server. He acts as a middleman, so to speak.
  • If you send a request with the proxy server activated, it first arrives at the proxy server. This then sends the request on with its own IP address. The content from the target server is sent back to the proxy server and then forwarded to you.

What is a proxy server used for?

A proxy server can serve several purposes:

  • The obvious thing is that you can use a proxy server to disguise your identity. Your own IP address is not sent, but that of the proxy.
  • Proxy servers can also serve as a cache. Web pages or content that is often required can be cached on the proxy server. This means that not every request that arrives at the proxy has to be forwarded to the target server. If the requested content is in the proxy cache, it will be sent back to you directly.
  • If you use a proxy server that is located abroad, you can fool the target server into thinking that the request does not come from Germany. For example, you can bypass GEMA blocks on YouTube or watch Hulu in Germany.
  • We have clarified for you to what extent the so-called bypassing of proxy blocks is legal.
  • And in another practical tip we will of course also reveal how to set up such a proxy server. Probably the best known proxy service is Tor.