5. Proxy server

A 'proxy' is a word meaning substitute or stand-in.

A proxy server reduces the bandwidth required for internet access. It does this by keeping a copy of often-used web pages in its local 'cache'.

If a client computer asks to view a web site then the proxy server checks to see if it has a copy - if it does, then that local page is sent to the client and there is no need to use up bandwidth calling for it over the internet

As far as someone using that client computer is concerned, they experience a fast internet experience.

A proxy server can also act as a data filter - only allowing data packets that conform to company policy. For instance many companies ban their employees from visiting gambling sites over their network or other time-wasting preoccupations such as watching a sports game in work hours. This feature is called a 'firewall'.


Advantages of a proxy server
Disadvantages of a proxyserver
Provides a fast internet experience Can be tricky to set up
Reduces the bandwidth consumed over the internet link Not cost-effective for low bandwidth internet use
Firewall can be set up to block unauthorised data packets Must have an effective method of updating cached web pages otherwise clients are viewing out of date pages

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