A proxy is something (or someone) that does something on your behalf. Let’s look at it through an example. Suppose you ask your colleague: will you get me coffee? This colleague is then the ‘IPv6 Proxy’ for the coffee. He grabs a tray and puts the cups on it from the people who all want coffee. He walks to the coffee machine and fills all the cups with the right coffee and brings everyone their coffee.
- So this coffee proxy does something for you, so you don’t have to think about it yourself. It’s the same with an internet proxy. It receives Internet requests from all kinds of people and handles them neatly. Our internet filter consists of a number of these internet proxies.
- Now we go a step further. So what about a so-called transparent and a non-transparent proxy?
The non-transparent proxy
The example of the colleague fetching coffee is about a non-transparent proxy. You explicitly ask him or her to do something and otherwise you leave the task to him or her. That’s like having set up in your browser (for example, Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox) that you’re using a proxy server, for example proxy.kliksafe.co.uk on port 8080. Your browser sends all requests there and has everything handled by that provider that handles private proxies online.
The transparent proxy
It’s a little different when you transparently use an Internet proxy. In that case, you don’t have a proxy set up and your computer doesn’t even know there is a proxy. Your computer now wants to handle the whole process of browsing the Internet. It figures out how to get to a website, requests the information and edits it and displays it on the screen. And it does all this without really noticing that there’s a proxy in between.
Compare this to getting the coffee. Now everyone walks up to the coffee machine and tries to put their cup under it. However, the colleague who is ‘coffee proxy’ grabs your cup, fills it with the right coffee and gives it back filled. Then you walk back to your seat with the cup. You thought you had poured the coffee yourself, but in reality the ‘coffee proxy’ did that for you.
What’s the difference?
When the proxy is set, your browser understands how everything should be handled by the proxy. There are agreements on the Internet about this. Therefore, when the proxy server starts asking questions, your browser can give the right answers. With a transparent proxy this can sometimes go wrong. To know whether you are allowed to do something, the proxy asks who you are. A simple App on your phone, for example, does not understand this. In such a case a solution must be found that ensures that it does work.