Web Proxy Guide 2023 [With Steps to Use it]
Sharing your original location with every site you visit is not smart. It exposes you to a large set of cyber threats and online troubles. A web proxy online can save you from all of it.
Not sure what can an HTTP proxy web can do for you and when should you use it? Not an issue. Read this article, and you will be well-acquainted with the following:
- What is a Web Proxy?
- What does it do? What are its pros and cons?
- How is it different from other types of proxies or VPNs, and when to use it?
- Is it legal to use a web proxy? Which sites or proxy servers are the best for you?
- How to configure it for Various Devices?
If it’s something that interests you, let’s begin without further ado.
What is a Web Proxy?
A web proxy is among the top methods for hiding your IP address. This type of address masking can be helpful when browsing safe and unsafe websites online.
When you access a website through a proxy, the proxy server acts as a middleman or shield between your device and the site being visited. In this case, all web traffic between the visited site and your device will pass through the proxy server. So, the site won’t see your real location and will consider you a visitor from the proxy server’s location instead.
The process is:
- You request the proxy server to access a web URL.
- The web proxy server requests the page on your behalf.
- It receives the page back and sends it to you.
Using a web proxy is easy (we have explained it later in the article), and the above process is repeated every time you access a URL through the proxy in your browser/device.
What Sets it Apart from other types of Proxies?
Web proxies or HTTP proxies are the most widely used by all types of users. Their main purpose is to enable safe browsing or uninterrupted access to the sites throughout the internet. Web proxies use the HTTP protocol to process your one-way requests (to access an URL).
It is different from the other 3 common proxy types:
- SOCKS Proxies or proxy servers help people connect to a particular server or intranet. It uses the SOCKS protocol and accepts multi-layered TCP or UDP data.
- FTP Proxies are specifically used for file transfer. They use the FTP protocol and relay big chunks of data.
- SSL Proxies are similar to HTTP proxies but are more secure. They encrypt and decrypt the communication happening via them. The traffic passes through SSL (Secure Socket Layer).
To sum the above details up, HTTP or web proxies:
- Read your request header to understand the request (of accessing a URL);
- Request the URL from the client on your behalf;
- Connect to the web server and accepts the response;
- Render/Deliver the received response at your end.
By doing so, they:
- Hide your public IP address;
- Help you bypass geo-restrictions or other such constraints;
- Display a different IP address to the sites you are visiting;
- Prevent tracing back of your IP and cyber attacks.
The Purpose: Why would one use such a service?
Different people use web proxies for different reasons.
For example, there are various media sites that ask for a subscription when you access them from the same IP for 3rd or 4th time. But if the site sees a different fake IP every time, you can read its contents without interruption. A Twitter user suggested the same in an interesting discussion.
Twitter people I just have to ask, for someone who enjoys reading the New York Times, is there anyway I can be reading without having to subscribe?😌🥺
— Josh Black (@JoshBlak592) July 20, 2022
- Using Browser Extension “Bypass Paywalls”
- Using Web Proxy like HideMyAss.
- Using Wayback Machine to access Archived Web Pages.
You can also get to read more on each method below: https://t.co/hHA0PFgH6H
— Grand_Machismo (@Mr_Nakz) July 21, 2022
Other reasons why one would want to use a web proxy are:
- To browse the web anonymously so that the infected sites, wrong hands, or intruders cannot trace you back.
- To hide your web habits from your ISPs so that irritating advertisements and pop-ups can be avoided.
- To avoid getting tracked by the sites you are visiting.
- To visit a site that has blocked you for multiple visits, your location, or other reasons.
Benefits of using Web Proxy
Hiding your actual identity or the public IP is a life savior for many reasons, including the ones enlisted:
- It shields you from hackers and malicious actors upon visiting an unsafe website.
- It skips binding your web behavior to your IP for the ISPs.
- It lets you access sites that have blocked you or your location.
- It saves your data by preventing unnecessary ads or pop-ups.
- It will help you skip cookies from troubling you further.
- It prevents scripts from saving in your browser.
Web Proxy Sites
You may try the sites like Bright Data, Web Share proxy, or ProxySite in case you want a free web proxy. These online tools are good for hiding your IP address. Besides this, you may also have a look at our list of 10 best Proxy servers (Free and Paid) or check out these proxies ranked highest in TrustPilot:
Which is the Best Web Proxy Site?
Impressed with the advantages of web proxies and willing to try them once? Well, go ahead and try the best one. Bright Data is one of the best free web proxy that we have reviewed until today. The proxy helps you to access blocked websites quickly, hide your real IP addresses, gain instant internet access to blocked webpages, browser web anonyms, and many more things.
You can purchase data center, residential, ISP, and mobile proxies from this free web proxy service provider quickly and at an affordable cost. You may not experience a fully encrypted connection, like a VPN service, but secure internet access is possible because real IP addresses are hidden.
It does more than being a proxy service provider. You can enjoy advanced features and facilities like custom datasets, web scraper, web scraper IDE, and many more.
All in all, Bright Data is the best web proxy that you can try to access any blocked website that you want without getting involved in the hassle of additional software installation, as there is a browser extension to use. You can’t avoid this web proxy service.
Limitations of using Web Proxy
- No encryption of traffic
- No hiding your web searches or visits from your browser
- It won’t secure your bank details or social media credentials against threats if you enter them on unsecured sites.
- Web Proxy services are bound to expose your real IP address when authorities ask for the same.
- A few free and unreliable web proxies may steal your data and cookies.
Web Proxy Vs. VPNs
Now, this is an interesting part of the article as it will help you differentiate between the two most confusing yet viable technologies.
Confusing because VPN and web proxy perform on many similar grounds. They both are used to hide the IP address, and access blocked websites or webpages. It’s just that VPN offers more than IP address hiding.
VPNs are much more advanced than web proxies. They can not only hide your IP from the site you are visiting but can encrypt the traffic, prevent your browser from keeping your browsing log and do much more. You can learn about the best VPNs for different purposes here.
Let’s explain these differences in an elaborated manner.
This is a great advantage for VPNs. They let the user traffic pass through a fully encrypted tunnel. Best VPNs offer advanced encryption like AES 256-Bit encryption. The use of encryption makes communication hard to decode.
Web proxies lack this ability. They can’t keep the user-server communication safe. Hence, they are not recommended for sensitive data transfers.
If we compare the server network of these two services, most VPN service providers have a wide server network. It’s because they offer more solutions than web proxies. Even though some of the best web proxies, like Bright Data, have decent server network coverage, they won’t be able to beat VPN industry giants like ExpressVPN and NordVPN because their server network is wide.
VPNs are likely to support more devices and offer dedicated app support even for devices like routers and game consoles. With the best VPN services like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, you even get dedicated browser extensions as well. All in all, using the VPN means enjoying dedicated app support for almost all devices.
The best app support you will experience with proxies is an app for desktops, mobile phones, and browsers. One key reason behind the limited app support is that proxies don’t require any heavy software installation. You can just type the port details, and the proxy set-up is done.
From the price point of view, a VPN service is generally more expensive than a proxy because maintaining a VPN server is a costly affair. Also, the feature profile of a VPN is more extensive. Well-known VPNs like CyberGhost and NordVPN offer additional features like adblocker, double VPN, and many more.
The more features a VPN offers, the higher will be the cost. With proxies, no such advanced features are offered. So, the expenses involved in using a proxy are less compared to VPN.
If speed is considered, proxies are faster than VPNs because VPNs encrypt the traffic. As traffic passes through the encrypted tunnel, speed will reduce for sure. Proxies don’t have such encrypted tunnels. So, traffic passes through without any disturbance.
Considering all these factors, we can easily conclude that a VPN service is better when you’re seeking secured internet access while unblocking blocked websites. But the proxy is the right choice to make when you want to protect IP addresses, and access blocked websites at a decent speed.
To get more details on VPN v/s web proxy, you can have a look at this table.
Reduced as compared to proxy because traffic has to pass through an encrypted tunnel.
Better because there is no encrypted tunnel to protect the traffic.
The server network is wide and mostly covers the entire world.
Limited server network with restricted reach.
Almost all the leading devices are covered by the VPN’s app and browser extensions.
The best device support that you get with proxy is browser extensions and browser apps.
Powerful encryption like AES-256 Bit encryption is offered.
No encryption is offered.
Kill switch, adblocker, anti-virus, server hopping, multiple security protocols, and many more.
No extra security features are offered.
Use VPN when a secured internet connection is required, long-term of IP address hiding, maintain data privacy while using the blocked website, prevent data leaks, and hide your internet activities from government agencies.
Geo-bypassing, no transfer of sensitive information, no need to maintain data privacy, and avoiding IP address block.
Guide to Setting up a Web Proxy
By now, we’re sure that you know what a web proxy can do and when you should use it. So, let’s move to understand its set-up process on all the other devices. Mostly, the setup is simple and doesn’t require much effort to get started.
In Windows Settings, search for ‘Proxy Settings’ and go to ‘Manual Proxy Setup’ > ‘Use a Proxy Server.’ Here, enter the IP address of the proxy port of your preferred server. You can also go to the extra options and configure your proxy-related settings further.
A Twitter user, with his handle name Taggart, has suggested a simple way to set up a Proxy for your Mac. You can follow these simple steps:
– Save your proxy CA cert
– Download to the device (Safari works best)
– In Settings, you’ll see a “Downloaded Profiles” section, recognizing the cert as a new config profile. Install it.
– Also in Settings -> General -> Certificate Trusts, you can enable trust for this certificate.
— Taggart (@mttaggart) July 2, 2022
Not SOCKS. Use an HTTP Proxy like @zaproxy or Burp Suite
— Taggart (@mttaggart) July 2, 2022
You can access your favorite sites on your iPhone or iPad with the help of a proxy. Follow these steps to activate the proxy on iOS.
- Go to Settings
- Open Wi-Fi connection
- Click on the activated Wi-Fi connection
- Scroll down and go to Configure Proxy section
- Click on it and select Manual
- Just type the server and port details of the web proxy and start using the proxy.
For Microsoft Edge
If you want to activate a proxy in Microsoft Edge, which is the default browser for Windows 10, then you have to use the proxy configuration settings of Windows only.
- Open Microsoft Edge and go to Settings.
- Go to Advanced Settings and click on Open Proxy Setting. It will open the proxy settings of Windows.
- Click on the Manual Set-up and enter the port details to set up the proxy.
That’s it! The proxy is now ready to help you.
VPNWelt collected proxy-related content for you here:
- The Best The Pirate Bay Proxy and Alternatives in 2023
- Residential Proxy Guide 2023 – Everything That You Must Know
Web Proxies and other types of proxies are easy to use. However, their usage is limited and is more for businesses needing to access several URLs beyond the allowed limit or geo-locations. It is wiser to go with VPNs for added privacy and security. If you need some proofs, you can find them here.
- A Detailed Guide On Torrent Proxy
- YouTube Proxy Guide To Refer in 2023
- ISP Proxies 101 [Updated for 2023 Readers]
The main purpose of using a web proxy is to hide/mask your original IP address and secure yourselves from all online threats. A web proxy address is the IP address that hides your original address and helps you access various sites online. The visited websites, if tracing your IP, will see this address only.