What Is Proxy Mode?

by Stephen Byron Cooper

Proxy mode is when a network device is changed to act on behalf of other devices. A "proxy" stands in for another person. In networking, it substitutes itself for another communication endpoint. Proxy mode indicates that a device which has other functions can be altered to operate proxy services.


A gateway passes traffic from a network to the Internet. The software that achieves this role can be set to either translate network addresses or completely repackage the data packets. In the latter example, the gateway would be operating in proxy mode.


Proxies are used in many different applications. One example is an email system. The proxy can be used to filter incoming email, reading the content and blocking those that contain a keyword or characteristic. Alternatively this function can be performed by the mail client, which is the receiving software of the email. If filtering is performed by a proxy, the email system can be said to be operating in proxy mode.


In general, any system can be switched to proxy mode by removing part of its functionality to a separate computer. Routers and gateways operate in proxy mode when they readdress packets to show their own address rather than the address of the actual source of the packet.

About the Author

Stephen Byron Cooper began writing professionally in 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computing from the University of Plymouth and a Master of Science in manufacturing systems from Kingston University. A career as a programmer gives him experience in technology. Cooper also has experience in hospitality management with knowledge in tourism.

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