A proxy server is a server that retrieves data on the Internet such as a web page on behalf of the user so normally when the computer wants to see a web page on the Internet you will open a web browser and browser Then type in the address and retrieve that web page from your web server.
Now when you go through a proxy server, the proxy server will act as a middleman and retrieve that web page for you. So now when you want to visit a website, the proxy server receives the request from your computer and the proxy server will retrieve the web page directly on your behalf and then send it to your computer.
Why would you need to use a proxy server
A proxy has many benefits and one benefit is confidentiality. This allows you to surf the Internet anonymously as it hides your IP address.
Because your public IP address appears without using a proxy and when you visit a website, some people may know which websites you are visiting.
But when you use a proxy your IP address disappears because since the proxy server is retrieving the webpage, only the IP address of the proxy server can be seen on the webpage.
So your IP address stops in the proxy server and then the proxy IP does the rest.
If a corporation uses a proxy server and whenever a user wants to retrieve a webpage, the proxy server will retrieve the webpage of the Internet on behalf of the user and then store that web page in a centralized cache database.
So if another user of a different computer visits a webpage stored in a proxy database, the proxy server does not have to go out on the Internet to retrieve the web page. It can simply retrieve it from its database also then send it to the user. So this makes webpage retrieval very fast.
Because a proxy server reduces the need to go out on the Internet to retrieve data because it already has data that is stored in its database.
Many companies are now looking at their employees on which websites they will use a proxy to track. So while employees of a company are surfing the Internet, the proxy will keep a record of which websites they are visiting and for how long they have been on those websites.
And a company can also configure a proxy to block certain websites to prevent its employees from visiting them.
Now a notable thing is that a proxy server cannot do this and that encrypts the data while surfing the Internet. And when the data is not encrypted, the data can be intercepted by hackers, ISPs, or governments with appropriate tools.
VPN or virtual private network
So this is where a VPN comes in. The VPN or virtual private network not only hides your IP address but also encrypts the data being transferred between your computer and the Internet. Therefore any activity you do on the Internet such as viewing web pages or transferring files is encrypted and kept private when using a VPN. And no logging is included.
A VPN provides a dedicated secure tunnel between two points on the Internet.