A server that acts as a go-between for a web-browser and the internet. When a proxy server receives a request from a user it evaluates the request to simplify and control its complexity.
Doing this helps improve web performance since frequently used web-pages are cached in the proxy server. These proxy servers may reside in the user’s local computer or at points between the user’s computer and the destination server.
They were designed to add structure to distribution systems, as well as encapsulate them. Most proxy servers today are web-proxies, which facilitate access to content found on the internet and provide anonymity.
Proxy servers that pass-on unmodified requests and responses are typically called a gateway, or tunneling proxy.
Internet-facing proxies used for retrieving a wide range of sources are called forward proxies and reverse proxies are usually internet-facing proxies used as a front-end to protect and control access to a server on a private network.
Reverse proxies are also used for tasks such as authentication, decryption, load-balancing, or caching.
Networks within companies or organizations are the ones who typically utilize proxy servers. People connecting from home don’t often use them.