What is a Proxy Server, and should I use one?

A proxy server is a server or piece of software on your home computer which intercepts
your communication with websites and modifies it. These can be used by malicious entities
on the internet to provide false information to your computer, or collect outbound
information such as passwords. However, proxy servers are used for perfectly legitimate
and good purposes as well, and should not be feared. Some security software, for example,
activates a proxy server on your computer to intentionally block access to hazardous or
unwanted websites. Proxies are also commonly used by businesses to route all traffic
through a company network. Generally, only advanced users should actually turn on use of
a proxy. Additionally, an incorrectly configured proxy setting on your computer can
completely block your connection to the internet! In Internet Explorer, you can find your
proxy settings by going to Tools -> Internet Options -> Connections -> LAN Settings. In
Safari, this can be found by going to Safari -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Proxies.