CNET GLOSSARY: Terms for the techie
An intermediary server situated between a user and a target server that caches items from the target server to speed up users' access. Proxy servers are commonly used by large enterprises that do a lot of business on the Internet. AOL is a good example, When an AOL user clicks a link on a Web page, the request for that page actually goes to an AOL proxy server, which in turn requests the page from the target Web server. That server returns the requested page to the proxy server, which sends the page back to the user--while also caching the page. Then when another AOL user requests the same page, the proxy server has it cached already and can send it to the user much faster than if it had to access the target Web server all over again. Users are unaware that the proxy server is acting as an intermediary. Proxy servers can also provide security by acting as a firewall between the enterprise and the Internet.
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