I’ve been trying various proxy servers to get to MySpace from school and sometimes they work for a while but other times they don’t work at all because they’re banned or blocked. What is a MySpace proxy server, how does it work and why would they work for a while and then stop?
I forwarded your question along to Mubin Ahmed, who runs an overseas proxy server that should let you access MySpace and other commonly blocked sites, and here’s his informative and amusing answer:
So you want to waste your parents tax money talking with your friends on Myspace eh? No problem. Oh, your school has somehow blocked Myspace from being accessed? Again not a problem you simply use a Myspace proxy.
First off, a definition: a proxy server is a website that lets you “cloak” or hide your Internet activity. In this case you are hiding the fact that you are going to Myspace by using a proxy server. Generally, proxy servers are third party websites that offers you the service of acting as a go between so you can circumvent any site block or ban from a monitoring package, firewall or other privacy or security system. You go to the proxy’s homepage, and from there you enter the site you want to visit, whether it be Myspace, Facebook, YouTube, or an Arcade site, and that website actually retrieves the page you want to visit on your behalf.
There are two basic types of proxies: a CGI-based proxy, and a PHP-based proxy. The difference between the two is that a CGI-based proxy will let you visit sites that requre you to sign in — for example, MySpace, Hotmail, and Google’s Gmail — while a PHP-based proxy usually only works with sites that don’t require you to sign in (unless they’re heavily modified). Much like a translator listens to a speaker and than repeats it to someone else, a proxy listens to your request, rebroadcasts it to the Internet at large, captures the result, then sends you the information you desire.
That’s how you get around the pesky MySpace filter at school!
Schools can be particularly annoying in this regard because sometimes they do a mass block for all types of terms. It might seem reasonable to filter out all “naughty” words, but what if you’re in high school and are doing research on breast cancer for a health class? Right, probably it’ll be blocked as inappropriate content.
Now comes the question of why a proxy server works for a while, and then abruptly stops working and goes into the banned or blocked list. Well, it turns out that while your network admin might not look like the smartest guy in the world, but he CAN see a list of every site every student visits. It is very simple for him to check the list and find popular sites that he’s never heard of or seen!
Further, us kids are a talkative bunch, and once one finds out how to get to MySpace, YouTube or Hotmail he tells his friends and it snowballs like crazy and suddenly gets a huge spike in traffic. As you might suspect, that’s the best thing in the world for a proxy owner because he is getting Word of Mouth traffic. The problem is, your admin will also see a large amount of activity going to one site, and once he figures out that its a proxy he will most likely ban it immediately.
If your school or company is running Websense, there’s no human intervention needed: they send out their spider bots checking for proxies, and once they find one they automatically ban it, if your school is behind a websense filter that might be another reason why a popular proxy suddenly gets banned or blocked.
One more thing: Before you start thinking that a proxy guarantees complete anonymity and means you can safely hack into NASA you should know that the proxy owner is logging your IP address and if you do anything illegal he would be obliged by law to hand over server logs to the relevant authorities. Be safe, keep on chilling at MySpace and don’t do anything stupid, okay?
Thanks to Mubin Ahmed, who runs the eHide proxy server (which you can find on Google by searching for unblock myspace), for his insight and coherent explanation of proxy servers and blocked/banned site mechanisms.