What Are HTTP Proxies?

HTTP, or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, is a standard proxy used for surfing the internet. You can see this proxy used in the URL address of all websites. It is used everywhere around the world for web browsing. It is the most common protocol and can process requests from apps that use HTTP protocol.

With HTTP proxies, you are limited to a particular protocol and there are geographical restrictions too. However, HTTP can also save a lot of time if you’re scraping data because it can understand or read data in a different way as compared to SOCKS proxies.

HTTP Connections

There are two types of HTTP proxies which are used to establish a connection between the client and the server. HTTP uses a TCP transport protocol, while the web traffic uses the TCP port 80 which breaks the TCP stream into IP packets and transfers them in the correct order. Another connection is the HTTPS connection, which we’ll discuss in the next section in more detail. While the HTTP connection uses TCP, HTTPS uses TLS or SSL. With HTTPS, the server responds to only the correct message using a multi-step process and the data reaches the client.


An HTTP connection in general is formed by the following steps:

  • Use DNS to resolve the IP address from the host name
  • Form a connection with the server
  • Send a request message to the server
  • Wait for a response message from the server
  • Close the connection

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How Does the HTTP Proxy Works?

HTTP is a client-server protocol where an HTTP client sends a request to an HTTP server to establish a connection. The server then gives a response and the protocol pulls the message from the server to provide it to the client. HTTP is a stateless protocol and the request that is being processed currently is not aware of the previous requests.

Whenever you write a URL in the browser, you use HTTP as a source to fetch the information. The browser converts the URL into a request message and sends it to the HTTP server, which is then interpreted by the server and the response message is given, as stated earlier. The response message comes in the form of either a resource or an error message. Thus, the HTTP proxy plays two different roles, one of the client and the other of a server. It also acts as a content filter and accelerates the caching rates.

How HTTP proxy works

Image from @parsiya.netHow HTTP proxy works

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What Is HTTPS?

HTTPS

HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. These proxies are the most secure types of HTTP proxies. All the information that is communicated between you and the server is encrypted and secure. Most confidential data is shared using HTTPS proxies such as online banking, shopping order forms, and other online transactions. HTTPS proxies use a more secure and encrypted connection, while HTTP proxies offer an insecure connection between the client and server and can be traced, so if you want to stay anonymous, HTTPS would be the way to go.

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How Does the HTTPS Proxy Works?

HTTPS uses TLS or SSL to encrypt the communication that takes place between the client and server. Both of these are secure protocols and use the PKI system, which is a two-key method of encrypting communications. A public and a private key is used, which can be encrypted and decrypted only by these keys. The encryption and decryption are highly protected and can only be accessed by the private key owner.

How foword HTTPs Proxy work

Image from @parsiya.net – How HTTPs Proxy work

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Identification and Authentication

Identification of the connection is an important step as it is necessary for the HTTP proxy to know the site’s or app’s usage for tracking purposes. The HTTP server must also know the identification of the user so that it can provide accurate functionality. An HTTP server does the identification and authentication in different ways which are as follows:

  • Client IP
  • Request headers
  • Cookies
  • Fat URLs

The above four factors provide information to the HTTP server and thus, the identification and authentication take place.

You may be Like to read, How to distinguish the Proxy Anonymity Level?

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Variations of HTTP/HTTPS Proxies

There are different variations of HTTP proxies. The main factor which causes them to differ is the connection speed.

Public HTTP proxies are available for free and are the slowest ones. The reason they are slow is that the bandwidth offered by such proxies is accessed by many people. Sometimes, the user might not even be able to access the internet using public proxies because of their sluggish nature.

Then, there are shared proxies or dedicated proxies that are accessed by only a few people and are faster than public proxies.

Shared proxies are not for free but are cheaper than private ones. The private dedicated proxies are the fastest ones because they are accessed by a specific person only. These proxies are speedy and do a good job of providing a speed similar to a normal internet connection.

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Conclusion

An HTTP proxy operates between the server and client and it filters all the harmful or malicious content before the information reaches the client. You can configure an HTTP proxy to perform various functions such as:

  • Evaluate the HTTP header and make sure it is from an authentic source.
  • Allow the content that matches the specifications for web clients and servers.
  • Block the downloads that don’t match the RFC specifications.
  • Restrict the content that is allowed by Firebox based on the MIME type.

HTTP proxies are smart enough as they can interpret the data being communicated between the client and server. For this reason, some people prefer SOCKS proxies as they are not smart enough to understand the data and thus, the user can remain unidentified. The same benefit can also be gained from HTTPS proxies, so if privacy is a must, go for HTTPS or SOCKS.

With HTTP proxies, if speed is a concern, you can try elite private proxies, which are a bit costly but provide excellent value for money.

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