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Accessing Blocked Sites With Proxy

    Accessing blocked sites with proxy

    In the digital age, internet censorship and content restrictions have become a prevalent issue, with governments, organizations, and institutions imposing various forms of online content blocking. Whether it’s for political, social, or security reasons, these restrictions can significantly limit your access to information, communication, and online resources. Fortunately, there’s a solution that can help you bypass these barriers: using a proxy server. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of accessing blocked sites with proxy servers, exploring their functionality, advantages, and best practices.

    Why websites are blocked?

    Websites can be blocked for various reasons such as containing inappropriate content like pornography, illicit content, copyrighted material, malware, etc. Governments also block certain sites which contain politically sensitive information or are against their agenda. Educational institutions and workplaces may block sites not related to studies or work. Parents block inappropriate content from children’s access.

    What is a proxy server?

    proxy server acts as an intermediary for requests from clients seeking resources from other servers. It is a server (a computer system or an application) that sits between a client (web browser) and the internet. A client connects to the proxy server, then the proxy server connects to the target server on behalf of the client and relays information between the entities.

    How do proxy servers help in accessing blocked sites?

    Proxy servers help in accessing blocked sites by hiding the identity and original IP address of the user/device making the actual request. When a user attempts to access a blocked site, the request first goes to the proxy server instead of going directly to the intended server. The proxy server then makes the request on behalf of the user to the blocked server. To the blocked server, all requests appear to originate from the proxy server and not the user’s device or network.

    Types of proxy servers

    There are different types of proxy servers that can be used to bypass website blocking:

    HTTP proxy server

    An HTTP proxy server operates at the application layer of the TCP/IP model and can be used to bypass all types of website blocking including those at the IP address level. It is the most common and effective proxy for general use.

    Web Proxies

    These are the most common and user-friendly type of proxies, accessible through a web-based interface. They allow you to access blocked websites by entering the desired URL in the proxy’s web interface. One of the best web proxies is CroxyProxy. You can access YouTube, Facebook or any sites blocked by provider.

    Anonymous proxy server

    An anonymous proxy server removes identifying details like a user’s IP address from the request headers before sending the request. This helps maintain anonymity while browsing through the proxy.

    Secure proxy server (HTTPS)

    A secure proxy server encrypts the communication between the user’s device and itself as well as between itself and the target server using SSL/TLS protocol. This adds an extra layer of security and privacy.

    Transparent Proxies

    These proxies do not require any manual configuration on the client side and are often used by organizations to filter or monitor web traffic within their networks.

    SOCKS proxy server

    A SOCKS proxy server operates at a lower level, the network layer of TCP/IP, to bypass blocking at the IP or port level. It is effective against firewalls but does not support HTTPS encryption.

    How to set up a proxy?

    Setting up a proxy is easy. Here are the basic steps:

    1. Download a proxy app or browser extension supporting the proxy type needed (HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS etc.). Popular free proxy apps include CyberGhost VPN, Proxy Master, Proxy SwitchyOmega.
    2. Open the proxy app/extension settings and enter the proxy address and port number. Some free public proxies can be found online by searching for “free proxy list”.
    3. Set the proxy app/extension to system-wide or browser-only mode based on needs. system-wide means all programmes and traffic uses the proxy, browser only applies it to the browser alone.
    4. The proxy should now be active. Try accessing any blocked site to test if it works. Refresh the site if it doesn’t load fully the first time through the proxy.
    5. For anonymity, change proxies periodically. Public proxies may log traffic or face blockage over time for heavy usage.

    Advantages of Using a Proxy for Accessing Blocked Sites

    Using a proxy server to access blocked sites offers several benefits, including:

    • Bypassing Censorship: One of the primary advantages of using a proxy is the ability to circumvent internet censorship and access websites or online services that are blocked or restricted in your region.
    • Anonymity and Privacy: By routing your internet traffic through a proxy server, your actual IP address and online activities are concealed, providing an added layer of anonymity and privacy.
    • Improved Security: Some proxy servers, particularly SSL/TLS proxies, encrypt your internet traffic, protecting it from potential eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks.
    • Content Filtering: Proxy servers can be used to filter and block access to certain websites or online content, making them useful for organizations or individuals who wish to implement content restrictions.
    • Geolocation Spoofing: By using a proxy server located in a different country or region, you can bypass geographical restrictions and access content or services that are otherwise limited based on your location.

    Drawbacks of using proxies

    While proxies help bypass website blocking, they do have some disadvantages:

    Speed and performance issues

    The proxy adds an extra hop in the connection that can slow down page loading and overall performance compared to direct access. Speed depends on the proxy server quality.

    Restricted content

    Some sites detect proxy usage and restrict access to certain features like videos, downloads etc if not logged in directly.

    Privacy and security risks

    Free public proxies may log traffic details like browsing history for profiling. They can also be compromised servers exposing users. Anonymous proxies mitigate this risk.

    Possible blocking over time

    Using a proxy frequently from one network may still get detected and targeted for blocking eventually by smart filters.

    Finding and Choosing a Reliable Proxy Server

    With numerous proxy servers available online, it’s essential to choose a reliable and trustworthy service. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a proxy server for accessing blocked sites:

    • Speed and Performance: A reliable proxy server should provide fast and stable connections, ensuring a smooth browsing experience when accessing blocked sites.
    • Privacy and Security: Look for proxy servers that prioritize user privacy and security, offering features like encryption, no-logging policies, and robust security measures.
    • Ease of Use: User-friendly proxy servers with intuitive interfaces and straightforward setup processes can make the experience of accessing blocked sites more convenient.
    • Reputation and Reviews: Research the reputation of the proxy service provider and read user reviews to gauge the reliability and performance of their servers.
    • Location and Unblocking Capabilities: Choose a proxy service that offers servers in various locations, allowing you to effectively bypass regional content restrictions and access a wider range of blocked sites.
    • Pricing and Plans: While some proxy services are free, consider paid options that offer better performance, security, and customer support.

    Conclusion

    To sum up, a proxy server acts as an intermediary to bypass website blocking by hiding the user’s real IP address and device details. Setting up a proxy requires downloading a suitable proxy app or extension and configuring it with a proxy server address. While proxies effectively help access blocked sites, they may impact speed and introduce some privacy/security risks that need weighing against the censorship circumvention benefit. Using proxies intermittently along with good practices like frequently changing servers maintains a good balance.