What is a Proxy Server?

A proxy server acts as a middle man that forwards data requests and responses between a user and an origin server.

Proxy servers are commonly used for anonymous Web browsing, bypassing geo-restricted content, and regulating access to content. Different types of proxy servers fulfill different needs, determined by how they are configured and their classification.

As Internet-connected devices, proxies pose a number of cybersecurity risks, and users should exercise caution when using them.

Web browsing with a proxy server

Types of Proxy Servers

Proxy servers can be classified based on several factors:

  • Traffic Flow -  Forward Proxy, Reverse Proxy
  • Anonymity Level - High Anonymity Proxy (Level 1), Anonymity Proxy (Level 2), Transparent Proxy (Level 3)
  • Protocol - HTTP Proxy, HTTPS Proxy, SOCKS Proxy, SIP Proxy, SMTP Proxy, FTP Proxy, DHCP Proxy, DNS Proxy, Smart DNS Proxy, CGI Proxy
  • Accessibility - Public Proxy, Private Proxy
  • IP Location/Source - Data Centre Proxy, Residential Proxy, Mobile Proxy

What are the Benefits of Using a Proxy Server?

  • Anonymous browsing
  • Security (if the proxy is encrypted)
  • Web filtering
  • Caching
  • Changing Geo-Location

What are the Risks of Using a Proxy Server?

  • Lack of Encryption
  • Data Logging
  • Open Ports
  • Limited Privacy
  • Inconsistent Speeds

Key takeaways

  • Check icon
    Proxy servers facilitate requests between the user and the origin server.
  • Check icon
    Proxy servers do not run through secure connections unless they are encrypted.
  • Check icon
    Most proxies operate on open ports, which are common attack vectors.
  • Check icon
  • Check icon
Reviewed by
No items found.
UpGuard customer support teamUpGuard customer support teamUpGuard customer support team

See UpGuard In Action

Book a free, personalized onboarding call with one of our cybersecurity experts.

More from our blog

Learn more about the latest issues in cybersecurity.
Deliver icon

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest curated cybersecurity news, breaches, events and updates in your inbox every week.
Free instant security score

How secure is your organization?

Request a free cybersecurity report to discover key risks on your website, email, network, and brand.
  • Check icon
    Instant insights you can act on immediately
  • Check icon
    Hundreds of risk factors including email security, SSL, DNS health, open ports and common vulnerabilities
Website Security scan resultsWebsite Security scan rating