Configuring a proxy is an essential step for internet security and privacy. Though some advocate a ‘one size fits all approach to proxy settings, tailoring your proxy to your specific use case can maximize protection and performance.
This article will highlight the three most common proxy uses and the best standard settings for each. While each system and setup is unique, these guidelines will help you get the best experience from your proxy.
The Top Three Proxy Uses and Settings in 2021
The term ‘proxy’ in computing is a general term for any server that acts as an intermediary between a source and the destination computer. A proxy will receive a connection from a client and forward that communication to the intended destination. The proxy will then relay the response from the destination machine back to the client.
Sometimes the proxy will act merely as a relay; other times, the proxy will perform additional functions, such as masking IP addresses or encryption. Here are the three most common proxy uses and settings.
Basic Proxy Setup
The first step in configuring a proxy is to locate your proxy settings. Your device’s proxy configuration screen will vary widely depending on your Operating System and web browser. We’ve included the most common steps here for reference.
1. Click the Start button, and then click Settings.
2. In the Settings window, click Network & Internet.
3. In the Network & Internet window, select Proxy from the left column.
4. In the resulting screen, scroll down until you see Manual Proxy Setup.
5. From this section, you can configure various proxy settings.
1. Open System Preferences and click Network.
2. In the Network window, click Advanced.
3. In the resulting screen, select the Proxies tab.
4. From this section, you can choose which proxy types to enable and configure.
Top Proxy Types
Now that you know how to enable a proxy on your device, which should you choose? There are many proxies, each with a different purpose. Check out this list of the most common proxies in use today.
- HTTP(S) Proxy
HTTP proxies have been around as long as the internet itself. In recent years, however, their usage has skyrocketed due to raising privacy concerns and increased internet usage in general.
HTTP proxies can have various uses and benefits, ranging from increased speed, better name resolution, and extra privacy. An HTTP proxy can provide superior overall performance than an ISP’s native servers, particularly in specific regions.
One of the most crucial settings when setting up an HTTP proxy is the ports. Incorrect port settings will prevent you from establishing any connection. Typical HTTP ports are 80, 8080, and 465 if you want to use HTTPS.
Your particular port numbers may be different and highly dependent on your ISP, firewall, and router. Your proxy provider should be able to help you configure your devices for use with their proxy.
There are multiple ways to authenticate an HTTP proxy. Some proxies have a strict IP address whitelist, while others require login credentials. Verify the correct authentication settings with your proxy provider during setup.
- Unblocker Proxy
Unblockers are a particular type of proxy designed to allow viewing of restricted content. Unblocker proxies gained popularity in recent years, as much of the world was confined, relying on streaming services for entertainment.
The main advantage of an unblocker proxy is accessing entertainment from other regions such as China without restrictions. Unblockers make it appear like you are accessing the content locally instead of your actual location.
Unblocker proxy settings may vary depending on your specific use. If your Unblocker isn’t working, you can try disabling cookies or scripts on the page.
- Encrypted Proxies/VPN
As the name implies, these proxies employ a layer of encryption. Encrypted proxies may also mask the source of the user, but it is not a requirement. You will often see encrypted proxies on banking websites, private servers, or corporate networks.
As with Unblockers, settings for encrypted proxies change from server to server, though there are some things to verify.
The most common cause of issues for encrypted proxies is firewalling. Since every firewall handles security differently, you might need to change some firewall settings to get things working.
Many firewalls have an option for TCP/IP filtering and SPI. These settings can cause problems with VPNs and should be disabled if you encounter issues; otherwise, leave them on.
Proxy Use Continues to Grow
As more and more daily activities move into the digital space, the need for fast and secure connections will also grow. Proxies will be an essential tool in the fight against cyber threats.