Proxy vs. a Proxy server, what is the difference?

October 31, 2008

If you have been using the Internet for a decent amount of time, you may have heard the technical terms proxy and proxy server tossed around casually by people.

However, many people interchange the word and phrase assuming they are the same thing, but in reality they are actually two separate things.

To fully understand what either of these terms really mean, you should know that literally translated a proxy is an agent who completes a task so that the first person can stay anonymous.

In Internet terms, a proxy, or proxies are defined as websites that allow you to access information on the web without having to reveal your true identity.

An example of how one may choose to use a proxy website is a person at work who wants to have access to social networking websites that are otherwise blocked by access points on the server at work.

Therefore, people use proxies so they can access any information they want without having to reveal their identity and without leaving a trail that their bosses can find.

This brings up what a proxy server is, which is most likely what is installed at work to keep you off of the social networking websites in the first place.

A proxy server usually works somewhat like a firewall allowing you to only access certain websites that are in accordance to the guidelines set by the workplace. Many educational universities also operate and allow their users access to the internet through proxy servers.

While many people think that proxy servers are a nuisance because they limit your abilities, proxy servers can also be useful since they block users from accessing websites that contain spyware and other viruses.

For this reason, sometimes surfing the internet from a proxy server is the best way to protect yourself and your computer from infection.