What is a proxy server?

This information applies to Windows Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Internet Explorer 8.

A proxy server is computer that functions as an intermediary between a web browser (such as Internet Explorer) and the Internet. Proxy servers help improve web performance by storing a copy of frequently used webpages. When a browser requests a webpage stored in the proxy server's collection (its cache), it is provided by the proxy server, which is faster than going to the web. Proxy servers also help improve security by filtering out some web content and malicious software.

Proxy servers are used mostly by networks in organizations and companies. Typically, people connecting to the Internet from home will not use a proxy server.