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Web Proxies

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In computer networks, a proxy server is a server (a computer system or an application program) which services the requests of its clients by forwarding requests to other servers. A client connects to the proxy server, requesting some service, such as a file, connection, web page, or other resource, available from a different server. The proxy server provides the resource by connecting to the specified server and requesting the service on behalf of the client. A proxy server may optionally alter the client’s request or the server’s response, and sometimes it may serve the request without contacting the specified server. In this case, it would ‘cache’ the first request to the remote server, so it could save the information for later, and make everything as fast as possible.
A proxy server that passes all requests and replies unmodified is usually called a gateway or sometimes tunneling proxy.
A proxy server can be placed in the user’s local computer or at specific key points between the user and the destination servers or the Internet.

Caching proxy server
A proxy server can service requests without contacting the specified server, by retrieving content saved from a previous request, made by the same client or even other clients. This is called caching. Caching proxies keep local copies of frequently requested resources, allowing large organizations and Internet Service Providers to significantly reduce their upstream bandwidth usage and cost, while significantly increasing performance. There are well-defined rules for caching. Some poorly-implemented caching proxies have had downsides (e.g., an inability to use user authentication). Some problems are described in RFC 3143 (Known HTTP Proxy/Caching Problems).

Web proxy
Proxies that focus on WWW traffic are called web proxies. Many web proxies attempt to block offensive web content. Other web proxies reformat web pages for a specific purpose or audience (e.g., cell phones and PDAs)
Access control: Some proxy servers implement a logon requirement. In large organizations, authorized users must log on to gain access to the ‘WWW.’ . The organization can thereby track usage to individuals.

Anonymizing proxy server
A proxy server that removes identifying information from the client’s requests for the purpose of anonymity is called an anonymizing proxy server or anonymizer.

Transparent and non-transparent proxy server
The term “transparent proxy” is most often used incorrectly to mean “intercepting proxy” (because the client does not need to configure a proxy and cannot directly detect that its requests are being proxied).
However, RFC 2616 (Hypertext Transfer Protocol — HTTP/1.1) offers different definitions:
“A ‘transparent proxy’ is a proxy that does not modify the request or response beyond what is required for proxy authentication and identification.
“A ‘non-transparent proxy’ is a proxy that modifies the request or response in order to provide some added service to the user agent, such as group annotation services, media type transformation, protocol reduction, or anonymity filtering.”

Source: Go-Hacking

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