What Is a Proxy Address?

By Geoff Whiting

Proxies can help you consolidate your inboxes.
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Proxies serve as representatives or surrogates for you on the Web, and your proxy address refers to this activity either for your PC’s Internet connection and server or your email system when you have multiple email addresses. A proxy server acts as a go-between for you and the rest of the Internet for purposes like protecting your identity, while proxy email addresses allow you use a single mailbox to manage all of your email.

Private Proxy Surfing

When talking about your overall Internet connection, your proxy address is the IP address for a special server that acts as an intermediary between you and the websites and Web services you use. Proxy servers give you an extra layer of protection when surfing the Web because websites are only provided with the server’s IP address instead of your own, so your actions cannot generally be traced back to you and services have a hard time tracking your overall Web activities.

Server Types and Benefits

The two main types of proxy servers are anonymous and distorting proxy servers. Anonymous proxies simply hide your IP address, while distorting proxy servers actually provide websites and services with an incorrect IP address. Distorting servers aren’t always obviously proxy servers, so websites are often fooled by the fake IP address. Beyond providing anonymity, proxy servers also have options to monitor traffic that comes to your PC, letting you scan downloads for viruses before delivery or prevent unauthorized services from accessing your PC.

Mailbox Proxies

When it comes to your email, proxy addresses are used to let you have multiple email addresses direct to a single inbox. Your main email address is used as your login information and the proxy addresses are funneled to the inbox of the main email account. This is particularly useful for webmasters and help desks, where IT team members have a personal account as well as general help accounts so users can report errors or problems.

Microsoft’s Proxy Use

Microsoft’s Exchange Server email service is one of the most prominent email programs to refer to your secondary email addresses as proxy addresses. Exchange currently uses proxy addresses for email-related items you access beyond your secondary accounts. Proxy addresses exist for server recipient objects that include distribution groups, public folders and some networked devices like printers or scanners that use email.