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Proxy surfing

Proxy surfing

Proxy surfing definition

Proxy surfing is the act of accessing the internet while connected to a proxy server. The proxy server acts as an intermediary between your device and the websites you visit, hiding your IP address and virtual location.

See also: transparent proxy, HTTP proxy

Real uses for proxy surfing

  • Bypassing censorship: Proxy servers change the user’s virtual location, letting them access social media platforms and websites that are blocked in their region.
  • Improving privacy: By hiding your IP address and virtual location, proxy surfing techniques can prevent websites and advertisers from collecting valuable identifying information about you.
  • Unblocking websites: Proxy surfing can be used to bypass web filters put in place by network administrators, letting users access blocked websites (such as popular social media platforms).
  • Local access: By connecting to a proxy server in a particular country, users are able to explore local versions of that country’s online shops, app stores, and news sites.
  • Home content abroad: Proxy surfing lets users easily access content from their home country while traveling — all they need to do is connect to a proxy server back home.

Common proxy surfing methods

  • Web proxies: Websites where you can enter the desired URL to have the proxy server retrieve and display it for you. Web proxies do not require any software installation, but they are slow, do not offer any additional security, and may leak your IP address.
  • SOCKS proxies: SOCKS proxies are more difficult to set up than simple web proxies, but they are not restricted to accessing websites — SOCKS proxies can cover activities such as gaming and file sharing.
  • Virtual private networks (VPNs): VPNs encrypt your online traffic and route it through a secure VPN server, protecting your data from snoops and hackers. VPNs are one of the most secure proxy surfing methods.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security