Many parents and workplaces attempt to restrict Internet use by blocking access to certain websites. Some users, however, circumvent these restrictions by accessing proxy servers or proxy server websites. Parents and employers can avoid this type of circumvention through the use of proxy server blocking, which makes it impossible for a proxy or a proxy website to be used to get around any Internet controls that have been put in place.
A proxy server is a server that can be used to access websites to which a user cannot directly connect or to which the user does not want to directly connect because his or her computer's Internet protocol (IP) address could be detected by the website. The user instead accesses the proxy, which then accesses the website and acts as an intermediary for the information passing from the website to the user and from the user to the website. The proxy can be accessed by changing certain settings on the user's computer or through one of many proxy server websites available, some of which are free. Unless proxy server blocking is used, even if the user is restricted from accessing a specific website directly, he or she still can gain access by going through a proxy server.
Parents with children at home might be well aware of the danger that exists with unrestricted Internet usage. Those who are not available to constantly monitor their children on the computer can use Internet control applications to prevent access to websites that the parents deem unsuitable. After these boundaries have been set, those websites are off limits to the child, and some applications record any attempts to visit the blocked websites. Not all website blocking applications include proxy server blocking, however, so parents of older children, especially, might consider using additional software that does include the ability to block proxy servers.
Website blocking also is popular in places of employment. Usually, these controls are installed and monitored by employees in the information technology department. Many workplaces require administrator privileges for certain settings on a computer to be changed, which means that most employees will not be able to change the computer's proxy settings. In those cases, the company's proxy server blocking software would have to focus only on restricting access to proxy websites.
Proxy server blocking can be found bundled in various applications. These applications range from simple anti-viral programs to more complex computer security software. The prices for such software vary. Some might be available to be downloaded online for free or for a fee. Although free software often fills the user's basic needs and might be all that is needed in some cases, it typically lacks some of the advanced features and functions that often make the more complete software worth the money that is spent.