How to Connect to a Proxy Server

Proxy servers are useful because they act as mediators between your computer and the Internet. They make online requests for you, and then they return the requested information. If you want to connect to a proxy server yourself, know that it is not as difficult as it seems.

Read on to learn more about proxy servers, their uses, and how to connect to a proxy server.

Proxy Servers 101

What is a proxy server? It is a mediator or a replacement server. It allows your computer to connect to the Internet using a different IP address. Simply put, proxy servers add an extra layer of privacy to your online presence and can also save a lot of bandwidth in certain situations.

Using a proxy can compress internet traffic and files and omit all unnecessary parts (for example, annoying advertisements on web pages). Proxies are very useful for companies with a large number of employees on the same wireless network because they can facilitate the bandwidth traffic of a single address.

Proxy servers are also faster because they look up cached website versions without downloading other unnecessary files. Please note that cached versions of websites or pages may not be current! Proxy servers can be divided into two simple categories, private and public. In general, private proxies are much faster because fewer people use them. For the same reason, private proxies are also much more secure.

In terms of privacy and security, a proxy server is much less effective compared to a VPN service. If you’re looking for a VPN, check out NordVPN, it’s one of the fastest and most secure virtual private networks.

Using proxy servers

Proxy servers are usually set up by schools, employers, and other places where many people are connected to the same network. Proxies give network owners better visibility and control over what is happening.

For example, if you want to use the Internet in a school, you need to connect to your school’s proxy network. Proxies are the reason why network administrators block many websites with ease. But what does the proxy server defend?

Well, it’s probably just a basic firewall. For example, the sites are limited and nothing is allowed to penetrate the network. If there are firewall breaches, rest assured that they are from malware or an intruder on your network.

You don’t need to have a company or anything else to set up a proxy. Feel free to install it in your home if you have multiple devices and want more control over the internet usage in the household. Spoiler alert, your kids won’t enjoy a proxy as much as you do!

Connecting to a proxy server on Windows

There are two basic ways you can connect to a proxy server on a Windows computer. One is with an automated script and the other method is manual. Let’s start with the instructions for using the script:

  1. On your computer, go to Home > Settings.
    Windows Start Menu
  2. Click on the Network & Internet choice.
    Windows settings menu
  3. Click on the side menu Proxy.
    Side menu Network & Internet
  4. Switch the . in Using installation script choice.
    Network and Internet proxy
  5. Enter the script address given to you (by your employer, school, or other server owner) and select Save. You can then exit the settings and the script should take effect immediately.

The other way is to manually connect to a proxy server:

  1. Switch Use a proxy server below the Manual proxy configuration section.
  2. Enter the IP address under the Address tab, and the Port number in the appropriate field.
  3. when you’re done, Save the changes and exit this menu.
    manual proxy setting

Connect to a proxy server on Mac

Creating a proxy server on Mac computers is also not difficult. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start the System Preferences menu.
  2. Select the Network tab.
  3. Find the Advanced option and select it. System Preferences - Network
  4. Then select the Proxy choice. Here you can set the proxy automatically if you choose the Automatic proxy detectionand your computer will configure everything itself.
  5. Alternatively, you can do it manually. Then you need to click on the proxy type, enter the port and address in the appropriate fields (port is the smaller one). You may also need to enter the proxy server credentials if the server is password protected.
  6. When you’re done, click Okay to save the changes and connect to the proxy.

You will notice different types of proxy servers. HTTP is the most popular, but it is not very secure, no encryption, HTTPS provides a layer of encryption, so content is not sent in plain text. Finally, SOCKS has many uses, for example it is excellent for torrents, but it is significantly slower than other types of proxies.

Connecting to a proxy server via a web browser

Most modern web browsers support accessing and using proxy servers, we’ll cover connecting to a proxy server in Firefox.

  1. In Firefox, click the Application menu icon at the top right of the screen. Firefox toolbar
  2. From here click on Settings to open a new window. Firefox application menu
  3. Now scroll down in the General tab to Network Settings and select Settings. Firefox Network Settings button
  4. Choose your proxy configuration method (manual, automatic or system), fill in the details and click Okay. Firefox Connection Settings Window

Are proxy servers enough?

Proxy servers are useful depending on your needs. If your main concern is security and online privacy, then using a VPN service is a better choice. Still, proxies are very popular and have many uses. Schools and workplaces, for example, could not do without.

Are you setting up a public or private proxy server? Let us know in the comments section below and let us know if you’re happy with the results.

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