A proxy is a middleman between your device and the internet. So it takes your requests, processes it, and then sends it to the web from where the information you need is sent back to you via the proxy.
It can be likened to asking a friend to enquire on your behalf. Your friend enquires, and gets the result back to you. You remain anonymous as no one would know you requested in the first place. There are however different anonymity levels and they depend on the type of proxy you choose.
There are different proxies on the internet, each one being perfect for a specific purpose. The most popular of these is the HTTP proxy and it provides you with great ways to conceal your identity on the internet.
HTTP is often used with bots and scrapers and is preferred to SOCKS protocol as it can easily interpret data and is more compatible with the computers.
This is your ultimate guide to different anonymity levels of HTTP proxies.
Table of Contents
What Is HTTP Proxy?
An HTTP proxy is one that connects to the target website using HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). Since HTTP is very popular on the internet, it’s common to see HTTP proxies in use as they can easily access the web pages you send requests to.
Interesting read: What is private proxy?
What Is HTTP/SSL Proxy?
SSL is short for Secure Socket Layer, and it’s an additional security layer on the HTTP, making it HTTPS. By adding this layer, there are additional security certificates that are available and used for end to end encryption so that all transferred data remains secure. So when inputting username and password on a website with SSL, you can do it with peace of mind.
Different Anonymity Levels of HTTP Proxies
The anonymity level of a proxy depends on how the proxy server modifies the HTTP header packets. REMOTE_ADDR is usually added by the browser, but there are other headers that the proxy server can add.
Some headers used by the proxy server to show that a proxy is involved include:
Generally, the HTTP_VIA header provides details on the use of a proxy server. HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR header provides the IP address of the user. Even though the X_FORWARDED_FOR isn’t a standard header, it’s used in combination by proxy servers with a standardized header.
1 . Transparent Proxy
Transparent proxies are also called intercepting proxy or forced proxy. Unlike what you know about proxies, transparent proxies do not modify your requests to a target website, so your IP address can be read. Since the proxy doesn’t modify the HTTP header and provides you with no anonymity level whatsoever, the webserver doesn’t detect it as a proxy.
The REMOTE_ADDR header is present which bears your IP address, so the sites you visit can recognize you. obviously, the purpose of this proxy isn’t anonymity and depending on its use, there are three types of Transparent proxy:
Interesting Read : Differences between http proxy vs socks proxy
Gateway Proxies: gateway proxies are a type of transparent proxies that are used in public Wi-Fi hotspots to restrict access to only those with permission. Whenever you try to log into a public Wi-Fi and you are redirected to a login page, it’s the gateway proxy at work.
Caching Proxies: this type of transparent proxy caches content on the server to facilitate quick delivery. Most content delivery networks use caching proxies to reduce loading time and enhance faster connections. ISPs also use this proxy to limit the bandwidth users consume.
Filtering Proxies: filtering proxies are used in workplaces and schools to prevent employees and students from accessing social media platforms for example, with the office or school network. Just as with other transparent proxies, the transferred data is not modified, and the administrator can eavesdrop on whatever data you share.
2. Anonymous Proxy
An anonymous proxy is a type of HTTP proxies that hides your IP address by modifying the header so that the webserver has no idea who you are. The target website can detect the use of a proxy, but cannot tell who you are since the HTTP-X-FORWARDED-FOR header is modified, and the HTTP_VIA header is present. This proxy gives the least anonymity level and can be used with any protocol.
Anonymous proxies change the HTTP header information as the request is sent and the resulting HTTP header has two header comments: HTTP_VIA and HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR headers added to the REMOTE_ADDR header that’s already existing. The REMOTE_ADDR proxy is however replaced with the IP address of the proxy server and the HTTP_VIA header includes the IP address of the server. Since the X_FORWARDED_FOR header still contains the real IP address, the target website can still get the information, meaning your anonymity level isn’t solid.
It’s up to the proxy server to include the X-FORWARDED-FOR header, and so for the sake of better anonymity, some proxy services overwrite this with their IP addresses, while others don’t include it at all. Doing this makes it more difficult to trace back a request to the client.
3. Elite Anonymous Proxy
Elite Anonymous Proxy is similar to Anonymous Proxy but is even safer since this proxy gives you the highest anonymity level among HTTP proxies. It completely alters the HTTP header, removing any information and doesn’t include any forwarding commands. By this, the target website doesn’t see the request as coming from a proxy and treats it as a normal connection.
If you are looking to use HTTP proxies for web scraping and sneakers copping, Elite Anonymous Proxy is your best choice as the chances of your IP getting banned is slim since the webserver doesn’t see the connection as coming from a proxy.
HTTP proxy is the most commonly used proxy as its compatible with most web processes. There are different types, however, and each one offers you different anonymity levels. Understanding them can help you in getting the most out of them.
From keeping your internet activity private to preventing unauthorized access, HTTP proxies will come in handy in your day to day internet use. You can also use HTTP proxies in your web scraping and sneaker copping projects.