A proxy is an intermediary found between your personal device (web user) and a web server. It stops any direct communication between these two entities by intercepting the web requests originating from the PC and subsequently sending altered versions on the PC’s behalf. The alteration is simple. The proxy server hides the real IP address and, in its place, uses a new IP address, essentially giving the user a new online identity.
Indeed, by assigning the computer a new IP address, a proxy server provides anonymity, given that it makes it harder for people to track the user. This subsequently enhances security and privacy. These three elements are the most common advantages of proxies, but they facilitate activities that, in isolation, can be regarded as benefits of proxies. This article discusses all of these benefits.
Advantages of proxy servers
Proxy servers are not the reserve of only a single group of users. Individuals and companies can integrate them into their computer networks. Nonetheless, the benefits proxies bring to each of these two groups are different, although there are some similar advantages.
Advantages for individual users
Individual users get to experience the following benefits when they use proxies:
- Enhanced security, anonymity, and privacy
- Protection against cyberattacks since proxies filter content sent via HTTP as well as allowing only authorized files to be stored in the user’s computer in effect protecting against malware or spyware attacks
- Accessing geo-restricted content – you can use a Brazil proxy to access Brazilian content, for example, on streaming platforms
- Parental control – proxies are effective in restricting access to certain websites for those using your home network, especially children
Advantages for businesses
Business can enjoy the following benefits:
- Accessing geo-restricted content on various websites, for instance, to carry out ad verification or minimum advertised price (MAP) monitoring
- Facilitating web scraping. Web scraping provides data on competitors’ pricing strategies, what customers and news organizations write about your brand, hiring practices, etc.
- Balancing traffic, thereby preventing server crashes
- Increasing connection speeds by saving bandwidth
- Restricting access to specific websites, in effect promoting productivity in the workplace
- Protection against email phishing and other forms of cyberattacks
- Secure the company’s internet connection, thereby preventing any snooping efforts – proxy servers act much like firewalls. Furthermore, since they change the computers’ IP addresses, they stop anyone with the real IP addresses from snooping around.
Accessing geo-restricted content
Suppose you incorporate proxy servers into your company’s computer network. In that case, you are bound to reap the benefits mentioned above, which will, in turn, help your company grow and even protect your brand’s reputation.
For instance, unauthorized e-commerce sellers can create an enabling environment for the counterfeit goods business to thrive at your company’s expense, which could be a manufacturer or supplier. Using proxy servers gives you access to these websites, some of which restrict their content to particular jurisdictions, perhaps because the regulations are lax. This exercise, also known as MAP monitoring, provides insight into unscrupulous traders threatening your company.
For instance, you could use a Brazil proxy to conduct MAP monitoring in Brazil. MAP monitoring protects companies’ brands by ensuring that customers buy goods at standardized prices. It eliminates price discrepancies, which could mislead consumers into thinking the lower price is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), yet the higher one is the real deal. Ordinarily, when customers notice such inconsistencies, they will rarely blame the retailer. More often than not, the blame is usually heaped on the supplier and could ultimately destroy their reputation.
At the same time, using the Brazil proxy could enable your company to verify ads displayed on Brazilian websites. Perhaps you run a company that recently opened shop in Brazil and is currently marketing itself on various platforms, including online. In that regard, ad verification is an undertaking you might have considered, but if not, it would be best if you implemented it.
Ad verification gives insight into the websites on which ad publishers display your ads. This exercise helps prevent ad fraud and ensures that your ads are not displayed on websites that could tarnish your brand’s reputation.
Similarly, you can access geo-restricted Brazilian content on streaming sites by simply using a proxy server.
How proxies bypass geo-restrictions
By now, you could be wondering how proxy servers facilitate MAP monitoring and ad verification. They do this by assigning your computer an IP address from the location whose content you wish to access. For instance, in the Brazil proxy example, the proxy service provider will assign you a Brazilian IP address.
Proxy servers are suitable for organizational as well as home use. They are advantageous because they promote online anonymity and this, subsequently facilitates several other significant benefits. For example, through the anonymity provided by the new IP address, you can access geo-restricted content from a country such as Brazil. All you need to make this possible is a service provider who will assign you a Brazil proxy.