Saturday, 27 May 2017

What is a Proxy Server

You must have heard of proxy servers to get past any firewall.

There are different types of servers that you can use.

Let us understand what is a proxy server and should you use it.

What is a Proxy Server? and Should You Use It?

A proxy server is a computer that helps provide indirect network services between a client computer and the Internet.

The proxy server either may be located on the client’s local computer or may be placed at different points between the client computer and the destination servers.

It acts as an intermediary between a client computer and another server that is the endpoint computer or server. All users can use the cache of a proxy server. This makes it very popular among user clients. If a particular Internet site is used frequently, it gets stored in the proxy server’s cache. Thus, the response time is very short and using its previous interactions, it can help troubleshoot any problems.

How to Proxy Servers Work?

When a client requests for a web page over the Internet, the proxy will look for it in its cache. If the page is found, it is returned to the user without forwarding the client’s request over the Internet.

In case the requested web page is not found in the proxy’s cache, the proxy server will use its own IP address to get the page from the server on the Internet. After the page is returned, the proxy will reply to its original request by forwarding it to the user.

A proxy server is used for both legal as well as illegal purposes. A proxy server can be used for improving security in businesses as well as for administrative control as well as caching services in organizations.

Proxy servers help private users to enable user privacy as well as anonymous surfing. With the help of proxy servers, one can even monitor the traffic as well as uncover the user privacy.

Types of Proxies

There are different types of proxies used by clients. Some servers can help many users at once and some cater to only one per server. These are called as shared proxies or dedicated proxies.

Forward proxy server

These proxies send the request of a client forward to web servers. The client can access the forward proxies by directly surfing the web proxy address or by configuring the Internet settings.
Using a forward proxy may help overcome firewalls and improve the privacy and security of a user. However, it is often used to download illegal materials online.

Reverse proxy server

A reverse proxy can handle all requests by a client and forward them to the internal network servers. When the request to one or more proxy servers is forwarded, the response is forwarded to the client computer. The client will never get any information related to the origin of the response.

Open proxy

An open proxy is a type of forwarding proxy server that is accessible to anyone over the Internet.

Anonymous proxy

Anonymous proxy servers do not hide the IP address of a user but provide proper anonymity. However, these anonymous proxies are easily detectable by various sources.

Distorting proxy

Distorting proxies can modify the HTTP headers and help in disguising the original IP address.
Proxy servers are useful for many purposes like blocking objectionable websites from users or reformat the web page as per a set of audiences. It also helps many organizations as well as personal users from accessing the Internet. At times it also helps in preventing computer viruses and malware attacks. It can also help in performance improvement, filtering user requests, blocking certain web pages or websites, anonymous browsing to mask online activities, etc.

Thus, proxy servers are useful in many ways to access the Internet where it is difficult to get free access in case of geo-restricted content. However, it is recommended to use VPN solution for safe and encrypted communication over the Internet.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

What is Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is a term that is frequently used in the media these days.

This makes many wonder what is net neutrality and why is it important? If net neutrality is something that will make a difference to every individual who uses the Internet.

Let us answer these and a few more answers in the following article.

What is Net Neutrality and Why is it Important?

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is a concept where service providers are barred from blocking, censoring, as well as discriminating against any content provider. This means all companies have an equal chance to bring their content to the homes of every user. Not a single company is favoured over the other or blocking websites based on their business or political views.

Is There Any Government Involvement?

Yes. There are rules made by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that says cable and phone companies cannot manipulate traffic. They cannot create fast lanes wherein certain videos, music or data is downloaded fast and slow lanes to block or slow the traffic to certain websites.

Under the Obama administration, there have been considerable changes in the FCC’s stand over Net Neutrality. They reclassified the Internet as a utility under Title II in February 2015. Thus, all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are called as ‘common carriers’.

This has made sure all common carriers are subjected to government intervention so that the masses have a fair and equally accessibility to the utility, that is, the Internet at a fair rate.

What are Internet Fast Lanes?

Internet fast lanes have been the main cause of debate in Net Neutrality. It is the ability of ISPs to create a different connection at a premium rate for major website content providers such as Netflix or YouTube.

Many ISPs as well as OTT content providers lobby for fast lanes. The Internet fast lanes will make sure their services get a priority over others. This will allow them to double-charge the bandwidth from consumers who are already paying for the connection. This will definitely affect consumers as well as smaller companies who have to pay to be in the game.

How Will Net Neutrality Affect An Individual Consumer?

Those who are for net neutrality want all content on the Internet to remain accessible equally to all users. This means streaming video, audio as well as downloading content should be at more or less equal rate. This will also help start-ups and entrepreneurs get a chance to grow without any influence from manipulating ISPs.

Thus, net neutrality will ensure all legal content will be treated equally. No consumer has to pay extra charges to avail special services such as fast lanes to view certain websites or videos.

The Internet should be a utility to some extent just like water and electricity. This is because the Internet has become a critical aspect in terms of education, employment as well as business. Thus, a free and open Internet will only be a logical solution to allow growth of every aspect of an individual consumer as well as small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups.