A proxy is software that resides in-between a client computer and a server. All communications between the client and the server are routed through the proxy. Proxy software can reside either on a dedicated computer, sandwiched between the client and the server, or exist in the client computer itself. The proxy acts as a filter that sifts through all communication that occurs between the client and the server.
New fresh proxies are widely used in the business environment to control internal computer network communication with the outside world. The data flow is constricted through the proxy for the purposes of security and policy enforcement. Any data that violates the policies of the company or it is a threat to the internal network Security is immediately filtered. New fresh proxies are also used in schools and public institutions such as libraries for the same purpose.
Proxies may be used for a wide variety of purposes. Based on their functions, they are called by different names. A proxy that is used for monitoring and content filtering, as explained above, is known as a content filtering proxy. On the other hand, a proxy that forwards all calls without changing the content of traffic is known as a gateway.
A proxy cache is one that maintains a cache of frequently requested information. It is mainly used to reduce bandwidth usage and network acceleration. When a client requests a piece of information, the proxy normally passes this request to the server and relays the response from the server to the client. But if the same information is requested on several occasions, the proxy maintains a copy of the information in its cache and sends information directly to the client instead of sending a request to the server. This speeds up the response time and also reduces the bandwidth requirement of the entire network.