While there are many uses for a proxy browser (also known as an anonymous proxy server or Web proxy), the number one use for this Internet tool is to provide anonymity to the computers using the browser. Used by everyone, from political dissidents to criminals, hackers and those who just don’t want their personal information out on the Internet, the proxy browser provides false information about the end-user’s IP address to those who request it. The nature and purpose of the proxy browser is to hide the IP address and you need to take measures to ensure that your proxy browser is effective.
1. Use a “High Anonymity Proxy.” There are multiple types of proxy browsers and some are detectable. If you want to completely obscure your identity, you need a “High Anonymity Proxy,” which is the only type of proxy that is completely anonymous. It works by keeping your IP away from the firewall of the sites you surf, making it seem as if you have not visited the website at all. This type of proxy browser is not available for free, as many of the other types are.
2. Configure your proxy browser according to the directions provided with the software, by the browser type or by your IT department. Depending on the type of proxy you’re using, whether it is a free proxy or one you’ve constructed yourself, there are very specific steps you must follow to configure it to your IP address and machines. The failure to follow those steps exactly could result in your IP address being visible.
3. Configure your Internet browser to use a proxy server. Consult the support documents for the specific browser client you’re using (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, etc.) and follow the directions provided.
4. Clear your cache and cookies often. One of the ways that proxy browsers often fail is when an interested party performs a reverse proxy lookup. This allows the interested user to view cookies and other information placed onto your IP by the websites you visit in order to try to determine identity. By clearing your cache and cookies at least once a week you’ll lower the chances that someone identifies you through your proxy shield due to a website history.