Proxy server facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Schematic Proxy Server
A proxy server connects two computers indirectly to each other.

In computer networks, a proxy server is a server (computer) which clients (people or computers) use to access other computers. A proxy server that passes information to its clients without changing it is usually called a gateway or sometimes tunneling proxy.

Proxy servers get their name because they act like a proxy (a stand-in) and act on behalf of a Client's computer.

A client that connects to the proxy server requests some service, such as a file, connection, web page, or other resource, that is available on a different server. The proxy server then goes to the other server and requests what the client wants for them.

A proxy server can change the information that it gives to the client, and if the same information is accessed many times or by many different clients it can use what is called a cache to make things faster. A cache is the term for information that has been accessed and saved for future use; if a proxy server has what the client is accessing in its cache, it will make it faster because it does not need to go and access the other server to provide what the client wants.

A proxy server can be placed anywhere in the connection between the client and the server, which could include software on the client computer itself or on any computer between.

Some proxy servers use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to secure the connection between the client and the remote server. This security layer helps to make sure that no other computers can read or understand what the client is asking from the server.

Benefits of proxy servers

There are many benefits of using a proxy server. First, the client machine can exchange data with the remote server without making a direct connection. This way, the client's real internet address will not be known to the remote server. This is sometimes called anonymizing because it makes the client anonymous. A second advantage is that when the proxy server itself is able to serve the request made by the client, it will not contact the remote server any more. So the load on the remote server will be reduced by using a proxy server. This type of proxy servers are called caching servers.

Big organizations (or even countries) sometimes use proxy servers to control access to the Internet. A large bank may use a proxy server that only allows connections to other websites relevant to banking.

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