HTTP Proxy Server Basics

HTTP proxy server is a software (such as squid, wingate and ccproxy) installed on some network computer server. We usually just call it proxy. The main purpose of proxy is to relay traffic between two computers (client and server). Usually it does some data caching to improve the performance. If your browser is configured to work through the proxy server then all your surfing traffic will go through that proxy server.

The main purposes of proxy servers

  • Transfer speed improvement (in case of caching proxies). You may use your ISP’s proxy to access the internet ?usually you have better connection to your ISP’s proxy than to other hosts, if this proxy has the resource you requested from the internet you will get a copy of it from proxy (from its cache).
  • Security and privacy (for HTTP). Anonymous proxies hide information about your computer in the request headers, so you can safely surf the net and your information will never be used in any way.
  • LAN interconnection (or LAN to WAN connection). Sometimes you experience some problems while accessing the server located in the other network (for example in the internet).

How to setup proxy in your browser

To set up your web browser follow the intructions below. You have to replace <proxy> and <port> with the proxy address and its port. It is preferred to use an IP address instead of proxy’s hostname to avoid the name resolution that your browser will perform in case of hostname usage. Examples:

Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE)

1) Choose the Tools menu.
2) Select Internet Options.
3) Select Connections.
4) Select LAN Settings.
5) Check “Use a proxy server”.
6) Enter <proxy> in the “Address” text box.
7) Enter <port> in the “Port” text box.
8) Press “Apply”.
9) Press “OK”.

Mozilla Firefox

1) Choose the Tools menu.
2) Select Options.
3) Select Advanced->Network->Connection->Settings.
4) Check “Manual Proxy Configuration”.
5) Set the <proxy> and <port> into HTTP proxy option.

Google Chrome uses the same proxy settings of IE. There is no settings for it.

Here a tutorial with pictures to show how to set proxy for your browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox) step by step.

There are 3 types of HTTP proxy

  • Level 1: High anonymous (elite) proxies. Such proxies don’t change request fields and look like real IP. You real IP is hidden of course. People that administrating internet servers will think that you are not using any proxies.
  • Level 2: Anonymous proxies also don’t show your real IP but change the request fields, so it’s possible to detect that proxy with log analyzing. Nothing really matters, but some server administrators restrict the proxy requests.
  • Level 3: Transparent proxies (not anonymous, simply HTTP) change the request fields, also they transfer real IP. Such proxies are not applicable for security and privacy while surfing on net. You can use them only for network speed improvement.

How to know the level of the proxy

The software Elite Proxy Switcher (EPS) is a professional proxy checker to test the level of a proxy server. It’s also a handy tool to set the proxy for your browsers (IE, Chrome and Firefox). Just double click the proxy server in EPS and it’s done. The free edition should be enough for most users.