Most of us find ourselves in situations where a website we wish to visit is blocked by a software or by our ISP (Internet Service Provider). So the question arises, how can we access blocked websites? The answer to this is simple: Proxy websites. Before going into details, let us know a bit about these proxy websites.
A proxy website acts as an intermediate source between the user and server the site being contacted is hosted on. Users send requests to proxy websites which conveys them to the site's server. The reply received by the proxy website is then forwarded to the user's computer. This gives an impression to ISP's and blocking software that the user is visiting the proxy website but in reality, s/he is visiting the site which was blocked. Thus, proxy servers also provide extra security to users by hiding their online activities from their ISP's.
Commonly Blocked Web Sites
The sites which are most commonly blocked at workplaces, schools and offices include websites like Facebook, Orkut, Blogger (blogspot), Google News, Typepad, eBay, MySpace, YouTube, MSN, Yahoo! Messenger, Bebo, Google Talk, Gmail, Photobucket, AOL AIM, Flickr, Twitter etc. In some countries, social bookmarking sites like Digg and Reddit are also blocked. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China have even blocked access to mainstream media websites like The New York times. A proxy website can be used to easily access these blocked websites. As proxy websites hide a user's location, they can also be used to access popular websites which are restricted to particular countries and block users from other countries from visiting them.
Types of Proxies
There are two types of proxies. First, there are web proxies which have an interactive interface; and second, the proxy servers which work on the basis of IP Addresses and port numbers. Proxies can also be segregated on the basis of anonymity into Anonymous, Transparent and High Anonymous depending upon the amount of privacy they provide.
How to Find Proxy Websites and Proxy Servers
A simple Google search containing the word "proxy websites" is likely to return a lot of useful results. However, most of them are likely to be lists containing proxy servers which you can setup using their IP Address and Port Number. So, in order to find interactive proxy websites, you will have to search for something like "Facebook Proxy Server" or "Twitter Proxy Server". A search like this is most likely to return interactive proxy websites with which you can access your blocked website by simply entering the URL in URL field. If you want additional security and anonymity, you can opt for a paid proxy server.
If you do not want to search, here are few popular free proxy websites you can use:-
How to Setup Proxy Servers using their IP Address
If you wish to visit your blocked website using a web proxy, you do not need any setup. However, if you wish to use a proxy server that can only be accessed by using its IP address and port number, you must configure your browser to use it. Follow the instructions given below to setup this type of proxy in your browser:-
Google Chrome and Internet Explorer Users
Google Chrome uses the same network settings as Internet Explorer. So, in order to configure Google Chrome to use a proxy server, you have to configure Internet Explorer. You can configure a proxy server in Internet Explorer by following the instructions given below:-
- Start Internet Explorer.
- Click on Tools, Internet Options.
- Click on Connections Tab, select your Network Connection and click on Settings.
- Check on Use a Proxy Server for this Connection.
- In the Address field, add the IP Address of your Proxy server. In the Port field, enter the Port Number.
- Click on OK and OK again.
Mozilla Firefox UsersMozilla Firefox users can configure their browser to use a proxy by following the instructions given below:-
- Start Mozilla Firefox.
- Click on Tools, Options.
- Click on Advanced Tab.
- Click on Network tab.
- Click on Settings.
- Encircle Manual Proxy Configuration.
- Enter the IP Address and Port Number at the appropriate place. In most cases, it will be a HTTP server.
After you have successfully configured your browser to use the proxy server, you will be able to access blocked websites whenever you browse the internet with your browser.