Businesses and individuals increasingly find ways to change their IP addresses and surf the web more freely. Companies alter their IP to retrieve crucial competitor data, monitor pricing, and conduct lead generation.
On the flip side, individuals change their IPs to bypass geo-restrictions and browse the web anonymously.
Not only does it boost your security and keeps your data safe, but it also allows you to complete your critical business tasks anonymously.
You can use different ways to connect to the proxy and retrieve desired content seamlessly.
What Are Proxies?
Proxies are gateways between the user and the internet. Generally, a user connects directly to the internet when browsing the web. However, proxies make the communication indirect by forwarding requests on behalf of the user.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns you a unique IP that belongs to your device.
Websites can quickly detect your IP and discover your location. However, proxies use their own IPs when connecting to the web. Ultimately, your IP address remains hidden, and your online activity stays anonymous.
Businesses and regular internet users need proxy servers to harvest data and access geo-restricted websites.
Benefits of Proxy Servers
Proxy servers provide several benefits to users. However, the advantages may differ depending on the proxy type and configuration. A reliable proxy server offers the following pros at the most basic level.
- Individuals can use anonymous proxies to browse the internet anonymously. It will mask their IP and conceal their identity.
- Some proxy servers secure the connection through encryption. For instance, they block malware websites and keep you from accessing content that may harm your private data.
- Bypass geo-restrictions. A few streaming sites implement geo-blocking for licensing purposes and legal requirements. A proxy allows you to alter your IP, tricking the sites into believing you’re accessing content from another location.
- Web filtration. You can filter the web to restrict employees from accessing specific sites. Parents can also use proxies to monitor their children’s online activity.
Different Ways of Using a Proxy Server
Proxy servers give you the freedom to stream your favorite content, harvest competitor data, and complete crucial business tasks without revealing your identity. Here’s how you can use them.
Via Browser Extension
One of the simplest ways to use a proxy server is to install, for example, a Chrome proxy extension. It only takes a few minutes to download a proxy extension for your browser (find more info). Once installed, you can surf the internet anonymously when the browser forms a stable connection with the proxy server.
Through Browser Settings
You can also connect to the proxy server through browser settings. Follow the instructions below to get started.
- Open Chrome and navigate the Customize and control Google Chrome.
- Choose Settings and move to System.
- Now click Open proxy settings.
- Check Internet Properties to form a connection with your network.
- Enter the proxy server’s address and port number and click Ok.
That’s it! You have successfully connected to a proxy server through browser settings.
Through OS Settings
There are two ways to find proxy settings in Windows operating system: via the control panel and via settings.
Use Control Panel
- If you have enabled Manual Proxy Setup, you can get a Proxy Host and Port from the Address and Port section.
- Those who have enabled Use Setup Script have configured the PAC proxy. You can get the PAC file through Script Address.
Use Settings App
- Click start > settings
- Choose Network & Internet in settings
- Select Proxy on the left side
- You can choose the desired proxy settings and save them.
Via Headless Browser
Using proxy servers with the headless browser is a bit complicated.
If you want to use a custom proxy that requires authentication, the Puppeteer library lacks support. So, you’d need to utilize the page.authentication() function to log your details into Chrome login and dialog box.
It will allow a straightforward way to use proxies on Headless Chrome for scraping. However, it may do less than what you expect from an authenticated proxy browser.
For instance, it may hang on certain pages because the code doesn’t clarify how a headless browser will tackle several authentication requests.
Proxy servers offer a reliable way to boost your online security, change IP, and surf the internet anonymously. However, there are various ways to use proxies, from Chrome proxy extensions to changing the settings of the operating system.
You can also use proxies via browser settings and through headless browsers. Regardless of your chosen method, they offer numerous advantages and add to your browsing experience.