What does "Anonymous", "Distorting" and "Transparent" actually mean?
Everybody who have used proxies to keep his own privacy in the Internet asked yourself the same question: How much anonymous this particular proxy I'm currently using? In other words whether all my personal data is hidden or only part of it.
There are many different proxy anonymity classifications in the Internet. The simpliest way is to divide all proxies into two parts. First part of proxies are completely anonymous i.e. they hide all your private information. All other proxies are non-anonymous.
Most complicated variants of proxy anonymity classification have several levels depending on presence of some special HTTP headers. For example if some proxy adds HTTP_FORWARDED_FOR header to user request it's classified as say second level of anonymity. Furthermore if proxy server adds HTTP_VIA header to the same request this proxy is classified as third level of anonymity.
From our's point of view all these approaches have their pros and cons but none of it fits our needs so we decided to create our own proxy classification.
While developing our approach to proxy classification by level of anonymity we kept in mind two basic principles.
- Since most important information about user is IP address of his host computer we need to divide proxies into two parts: hiding this real user IP address and passing this IP address to the target server in some HTTP header.
- As long as there is no any standard on HTTP headers that must be added to a user request by a proxy server some proxy server developers and administrator has invited their own like HTTP_XROXY_CONNECTION, HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR, HTTP_VIA, etc. By adding such HTTP headers to a user request proxy server tells to target server that some proxy was used in this communication. Well it's quite logical to divide proxies by those adding some special HTTP headers to a user request and those keeping user request as is without any modification.
Starting from these basic ideas we divide proxies into three levels of anonymity
Transparent proxy servers do not hide your IP address. They do provide anyone with your real IP address and do not hide any information about you and your reading interests.
Actually they just retransmit information between your computer and server without modyfying it in any way to keep your privacy. Besides that, they let anyone know that you are surfing through a proxy server.
Transparent proxy servers can be used for all kinds of Web-services just to speed up data transfers.
Distorting proxy servers hide your IP address or modify it in some way to prevent target server know about it. They may provide or may hide information about you and your reading interests. Besides that, they let anyone know that you are surfing through a proxy server.
Distorting proxy servers can be used for all kinds of Web-services to speed up data transfers and to keep your privacy. But they specificly tells target server that you are using proxy server.
Anonymous proxy servers hide your IP address and thereby prevent your from unauthorized access to your computer through the Internet. They do not provide anyone with your IP address and effectively hide any information about you and your reading interests. Besides that, they do NOT even let anyone know that you are surfing through a proxy server.
Anonymous proxy servers can be used for all kinds of Web-services, such as Web-Mail (MSN Hot Mail, Yahoo mail), web-chat rooms, FTP archives, etc. to speed up connection and keep privacy as well.