What is “proxy” and why do I need to disable it?

Question by Matt: What is “proxy” and why do I need to disable it?
I’m trying to figure out the details of tethering my laptop to my HTC Tilt using the program “Internet sharing” and I’ve been told I need to disable proxy. What does this mean and why do I need to do it?
Well, some people are saying that I should disable proxy before I tether, but other people are saying that I need to have proxy enabled to connect to MediaNet, and if I disable it then I will only connect to AT&T ISP (or something like that) and then I will be charged per kilobyte. How do I now if I should have it enabled or disabled?

Best answer:

Answer by Narcoleptic Insomniac
A proxy server is used for increasing security by filtering content and restricting access. It’s obviously interfering with the software you’re trying to use.

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