Using Website Proxies to Get what you WantHave you ever found yourself wanting to update your Facebook status message in the middle of a busy day at work, but can’t because the website is blocked? Or how about after learning that your friend just uploaded those highly-coveted photos of your night out the previous day, you want to see them right away, but are unable to do so because you’re hopelessly restricted at the office? Well, fret no more: you can use a Proxy website to get what you want.
What is a proxy?
The word “proxy”, by dictionary definition, is “the function or power of somebody authorized to act for another person”. When you want something done but do not want to do it yourself, you need a proxy. Basically, that’s the same principle with proxy websites. When you’re using proxy, you’re actually asking it to do things for you – opening websites.
What difference does it make?
First, using a proxy hides you from your intended destination – because the proxy fetches the web pages, you are hidden in the process. Your “destination”, the website you are viewing, has no way of knowing that it’s actually you who are requesting the information because it sees the proxy. This eliminates the possibility of that website getting a hold of your personally identifiable information, such as your IP address. Second, it hides you from yourself - that is, your network or your internet service provider. Both will have no way of knowing what web pages you are opening because they see the proxy.
Where can I find them?
Because proxy sites can open other blocked sites, they are often blocked themselves. There are many ways to find unblocked proxies. First, you can do is a quick google search on the keyword “proxy” or websites that provide lists of proxies, such as proxy.org. This will show you the most popular proxies online. The downside is, that since they are popular, your company’s IT department may have already blocked the proxy sites themselves. There’s a plethora of proxy sites for you to try out. However, the downside is the same as above. One last option, which is the most recommended, is just to keep your ears open. Ask your friends or co-workers, “what are good, unblocked proxies?” This method usually works because the knowledge is regarded as a secret - nobody among you will share it to the management or IT department, hence it will not be blocked.
How do I use them?
A proxy website usually consists of one text box – this is where you type in the website that you want to open. Just click “Go” or hit Enter after typing the URL. Aside from the text box, there are also a couple of checkboxes, which control the behavior of the proxy. Two of the most common and useful check boxes are: Encode URL and Encode Page. The first one is useful to ensure that none of the words in the URL of the website you are opening can be read. For example, the text “google.com” will appear instead as a random string of characters, such as “vswe1koo29fhalcba3nr73ncqcn”. The second checkbox does the same thing but to the actual contents of the page. These two are important to ensure that the content filters set up by your IT department cannot detect key words that will trigger the blocking of the websites you are trying to visit.
What are the risks?
Website proxies are great, but they can also provide great risks to the user. Though the website you’re visiting through a proxy cannot see you, the proxy itself can. Your IP address and other information are visible to the proxy. Proxies must never be used when you have to deal with confidential information online.
Now you can finally see those photos that you wanted to see, or watch YouTube clips when you want to relax for a while during a hard day of working at the office – thanks to proxies. With a little patience in finding good proxies and knowledge in using them, you can always get what you want out of the web.
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