Being online today is such a blessing for businesses. While in the past, companies could only sell to buyers found around their vicinity, digital companies can sell to anyone in any part of the world.
Selling is no longer limited to a physical location, and businesses can have the entire world as their market.
However, being in a physical location can still affect a brand to some significant extent. For instance, the location a brand finds itself can very much determine its size of online customers. That is to say that your brand can have less or more access to customers online depending on where your business resides physically.
This is often called geo-blocking – where a person or business is restricted from accessing certain data and markets because they live in a forbidden location.
The best way to deal with this challenge is to use a proxy. Proxies allow businesses from whichever part of the world to reach any customer or data they want by simply changing their location.
Let us now explore this further by understanding what a proxy is and how it helps businesses online today.
What Is A Proxy?
A proxy is a tool that mediates between an internet user and the rest of the internet. It is a software developed specifically to help transfer requests from any user to the web.
Connection to the internet requires that the user use an internet protocol (IP) address and a physical location. However, these criteria can also easily become the very things targeted to block users from accessing certain services.
Typically, a proxy mitigates this problem by providing its IP address and location and using them instead of the user’s.
That way, the user isn’t only concealed from the websites that would otherwise restrict him, but he is also protected from harmful content and online attacks.
A good proxy takes your request for communication, reads it, and forwards it to the target server without encrypting it. This makes the connection more efficient by ensuring your request is not mixed up.
Using a proxy is also very fast as proxies can store caches and retrieve the necessary data upon subsequent visits. And aside from the added speed, this mechanism reduces the load placed on servers and prevents crashes or downtime due to excess traffic.
The Role of Proxies in Business
There are several ways that businesses can employ a good proxy as it is known to perform several important roles:
Increasing Corporate Security
One major function that proxies play in business is keeping the company and its data safe. A data breach can result in the loss of confidence and resources.
When a brand suffers an attack, the damage is most times irreparable. Some of the most gruesome attacks are usually online and occur after internet hoodlums succeed in getting the brand’s sensitive information.
Using a proxy helps to avoid this by hiding as much sensitive information as possible from the eyes of phishers on the internet.
For Data Collection
Data is vital in every aspect of business today. Companies need data to stay alive, as relevant and current data must back all crucial business decisions.
Data also helps companies perform well, reach newer markets, and increase profit.
Even to protect brand reputation and maintain a pristine image, brands need as much data as possible and very often too.
Collecting such an amount of data would be near impossible except with the help of tools such as proxies.
For Faster Operations
Proxies do not only keep your brand safe or help you collect an enormous amount of data online, but they also help you perform different tasks more quickly.
For instance, a task such as data extraction would typically take days to complete by the end of which the data may no longer be relevant.
Therefore, many of the operations and activities that today’s businesses carry out need to be done quickly, and this is what proxies offer – speed, amongst many other things.
Geo-restriction or geo-blocking is a common tool many websites and content providers use to partially or completely restrict users’ access.
They target certain physical locations and block any IP emanating from that location. This means that anybody or business residing in that location will either have limited access or no access at all.
Luckily, you can also use a proxy to overcome this problem if you have ever encountered it while accessing the data you need.
For instance, if you face a reoccurring restriction accessing the content in Germany because you live in a forbidden location, quitting shouldn’t be the first thing you think of, especially if you need the data. Instead, you should reroute your request through a Germany proxy.
How Proxies Help In Bypassing Geo-Restrictions
The way a proxy helps in bypassing geo-restriction is straightforward. Geo-blocking works by reading IPs and locations and blocking any IP tied to a particular area.
Interestingly, a proxy works by using only its IP and concealing the user’s IP all the way. This way, the website only sees the proxy’s details and not the user’s. Because the proxy usually comes with preselected IPs and locations, it becomes impossible for geo-restrictions to work.
Like in the case of using a Germany proxy, the proxy reroutes your request using IPs and locations allowed in Germany. This makes it easier to access content in Germany regardless of where you live. Oxylabs’s blog article about proxy servers in Germany highlights the notion further.
There are legal and valid reasons why geo-restrictions are put in place. But ultimately, they hurt a business and make some brands suffer and even fold up because they can’t access the data they need.
And since this system targets locations, it would have made sense for brands to change where they reside. However, this may cause too much time and money and may even be impractical to carry out in most cases.
A more practical approach (and a much simpler one, too) would be to use a proxy to change your IP address and location every time you surf the internet, especially restricted servers.