What is an SSL Proxy?

what is ssl proxy
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An SSL proxy is an intermediary server that uses the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. They are also known as HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol over SSL) proxies. In essence, they use cryptography to encrypt data that’s being sent over to the server.

 

In most cases, there’s no reason not to use an SSL proxy if you’re using the HTTP protocol. They are more secure, provide encryption, and provide a higher degree of anonymity. Additionally, almost no proxy providers will add to the price of their solutions simply because SSL is enabled.

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How does SSL proxy work?

An SSL proxy server functions more or less just like any other solution of its type. It takes user requests and forwards them to the intended destination. As such, there’s no great difference in the primary functionality of an SSL proxy server.

 

They do, however, add an encryption layer when sending requests. Since they essentially use the HTTPS protocol, all outbound connection requests are encrypted. As a result, all SSL traffic is significantly safer as it’s nearly impossible to snoop on the connection requests.

 

These security practices, in fact, are so ubiquitous that you’ve likely had run-ins with it, even if you haven’t used an SSL proxy before. SSL certificates are a modern day necessity for websites. If you’ve ever tried to connect to websites without SSL certificates, your web browser will have put up a warning that it might be insecure.

 

Other than the SSL encrypted traffic, these proxy servers have no other differences. They simply add an extra layer of security to any process without having an impact on performance.

Advantages of using an SSL proxy server

Extra security

As mentioned, SSL proxies add encryption technology to all outgoing traffic. In practice, that means that no third party can decrypt the requests and understand what’s going on. As such, tracking the flow of traffic through SSL connections is more or less impossible.

 

Without the transport layer security, hackers and other malicious actors could perform a man in the middle (MITM) attack. They could not only intercept what should be a secure transmission, but even alter the connection packets, which can cause a whole host of issues.

Additional anonymity

Piggybacking off of SSL proxy security benefits, they also provide better anonymity. SSL encryption, as mentioned, means that no third party can view or alter the secure connection. While no personal information is revealed in the traffic, without SSL encryption someone could deduce the identity of the user with enough data.

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Where are SSL proxies used?

Since an SSL proxy works just like any other intermediary external server, it can be used for pretty much every use case. The only use case that would be off limits for SSL proxy would be if SOCKS5 needed to be used instead of the HTTPS protocol.

Web scraping

Automated data collection is one of the most frequent use cases for any type of proxy. Since a multitude of IP addresses is required for the process, an SSL forward proxy pool fits the bill perfectly.

 

Additionally, outside of extremely traffic-intensive cases, most web scraping happens through the HTTP protocol, allowing an SSL proxy pool to cover nearly all data collection needs. While the secure communications layer might not be strictly necessary for web scraping, it helps nonetheless.

Social media account management

Social media platforms keep a watchful eye over the internal users of their platform. They track IPs, establish identities, and forbid any sort of automation or account sharing. As such, using SSL proxies becomes a necessity when managing multiple social media accounts.

 

Without the usage of a proxy pool, social media websites would quickly catch on that the same IP address is managing many accounts and ban most of them.

Brand protection

An offshoot of web scraping, brand protection collects data about various businesses and companies to figure out if someone isn’t damaging their reputation. SSL proxies are used to monitor websites, reviews, and comments online to see if no defamation or intellectual property infringement is happening.

 

Since such events can happen all across the World Wide Web, using a wide variety of SSL proxies from many different locations is necessary as some of the content is geographically blocked.

How do I set up an SSL proxy?

Every SSL proxy provider will have slightly different ways of setting up. Some of them may use some internal client, such as a browser extension, others might just give integration instructions.

 

The foundation of setting up an SSL proxy, however, will nearly always be the same. After all, an SSL proxy is just an IP address and a port number. There’s no fancy technology like a web server being employed for the connection, so technically you need no additional software.

 

So, all you need to do to start using SSL proxies is to connect to the IP address and port. Sometimes a provider might give you authentication details (such as a username or password), but outside of it, there’s nothing else you need to do. There’s no extra layer of authentication even if it may seem that secure connections would require that.

 

You can use a browser extension or even your OS settings to set up SSL proxies. There’s no need to install an SSL certificate or anything of the like. An SSL certificate is intended for websites, not proxies.


Finally, since an SSL proxy means just that extra security is enabled, you can use nearly any other type of intermediary server. Datacenter proxies, regardless of your use case, are often the best way to start as they are the cheapest and fastest IPs available.

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