Types of Proxy Server Protocols

Proxy servers are a great tool for working on the Internet, keeping your data secure and browsing anonymously.

Proxies employ several different types of protocols – sets of rules they operate by. In relation to computing, Merriam-Webster defines protocols as “conventions governing the treatment and especially the formatting of data in an electronic communications system.”

On the Internet, the highway for proxied data transmission, protocols spell out essential traffic rules such as size of data packets, destination management, and data security. Industry groups, international associations, and government are the main contributors to these preset conventions. These data-transmission protocols are a key source of the benefits that proxies offer you. This article describes the main protocols used by proxies.

Note: Several protocols are described in this article. Among them, ProxyMesh currently supports only HTTP connections to the proxy servers. But the server can securely proxy HTTPS/SSL connections between you and an HTTPS server using the CONNECT method. You’ll find details below.

HTTP proxy server

The HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) proxy, built expressly for proxying web requests, is usually the best choice for accessing http:// or https:// addresses. This widely used protocol is supported by all browsers and most HTTP client software. It also supports SSL (Secure Sockets Layer – a connection that encrypts data transmissions to keep outsiders from “listening in.”

Advantages of Rotation

A rotating HTTP proxy can help you avoid getting blocked by remote sites. Once you have your HTTP client configured to use a proxy, it will provide you a list of quality IPs that get rotated frequently, thereby making detection extremely difficult.

Advantages of Caching

Some mobile browsers and many company intranets use HTTP proxies to cache a user’s most visited websites. With caching, frequently used data is stored in memory. That means it can load to your screen a lot faster than if it had to be fetched from a remote site, or by an application, every time it’s needed. Because this feature speeds proxy requests, HTTP proxies are often used for browsing web pages, viewing images, downloading files, and scraping content.

SSL proxy server

“SSL” stands for Secure Sockets Layer. The “S” in HTTPS also stands for “Secure.” HTTPS combines HTTP and SSL/TLS (Transport Layer Security). As HTTP is a “layer” in data transmission structure, so SSL (or HTTPS) is an additional layer below it, enabling a proxy to transfer data securely and anonymously between client and server. The SSL layer encrypts your data against access by third parties, including your Internet service provider.


As mentioned, ProxyMesh proxy servers currently use only HTTP connections, but can securely proxy HTTPS/SSL connections between you and an HTTPS server using the CONNECT method. All communication between your client/browser and the secure site is encrypted; the proxy server is only moving the data back and forth.

Please note that since the proxy server cannot inspect HTTPS requests, all proxy authorization headers or custom ProxyMesh headers must be sent with the initial CONNECT method. IP-based authentication is recommended.

SOCKS proxy server

The SOCKS protocol (short for “Socket Secure”) is commonly used to transmit data between client (e.g., your computer) and server (usually a website) through a proxy, which shields your computer’s identity.

Within the SOCKS context, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) collects and reassembles packets of transmitted data, while the Internet Protocol (IP) ensures that data reaches its intended network. It’s these two protocols that enable digital devices to communicate over long distances.

Of two versions widely used today, SOCKS4 handles client/server transmission efficiently, but without authentication, so that it wouldn’t be appropriate in projects that involve – among other examples – gaming sites or Skype. SOCKS5, the more recent version, can handle voice and video, and supports advanced authentication methods.

If you’d like more information on the SOCKS protocol, please see our blog article SOCKS Proxies Vs HTTP Proxies. If you are looking for a SOCKS proxy, take a look at Proxy Seller.

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