Some Useful Proxy Definitions

If you’ve searched around looking for secure proxies to use, you’ve probably come across these three definitions –

  • Transparent Proxy
  • Anonymous Proxy
  • Elite Proxy

Now none of these definitions are set in stone, but they’re used in most sites to describe the different level of security and privacy afforded by a particular proxy.  The three definitions are explained here on this video

However if you don’t want to listen to the video, here’s the basic concepts.

Transparent Proxy
This is a very basic proxy server which actually provides very little security or privacy. This server simply forwards all parts of the request without any restrictions at all, this includes your real IP address. The web site you visit will be aware of your real address and the fact that you are using a proxy to access. It’s commonly used merely to speed up internet access, particularly by caching popular pages. If you want some security or privacy, then you need to use a different type of proxy server.

Anonymous Proxy
These are probably the most common form of proxies particularly if you’re looking at free ones. This server will hide your real IP address from any web site you visit. However it will normally forward some information in the form of HTTP headers. This could include information about the proxy software, the IP address of the proxy etc. It does offer a certain level of privacy in that it will normally protect the client address, however a lot depends on individual configuration settings.

Elite Proxy
This proxy offers the highest level of security and privacy similar to a VPN but not necessarily with the encryption. Not only does an Elite proxy hide your real address, but it also hides it’s own existence as a proxy server. Many sites block access to clients who are using proxies so this can be very useful. The elite proxy server should forward the absolute minimum of information required and should look like a normal client itself. Again though a lot depends on how it is configured, some Elite proxies are much more secure than others. Also just because something is labelled ‘Elite’ on a web site does’t necessarily make it true!

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