How to Set Up a Proxy Server: Configuration Instructions

Learn how to set up your proxies on various devices, operating systems, and apps.

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Proxy servers can help you filter traffic, improve anonymity, and access geo-restricted content. They’re also frequently used to collect information at scale by scraping the web.

You might be new to proxies, or simply wonder how to set them up for a particular tool. This page will show you how to configure a proxy server with various operating systems, browsers, and apps. The guides here feature step-by-step instructions with illustrations to make your proxy setup simple and straightforward. 

The page will be constantly updated to include more setup instructions. If you can’t find something, feel free to contact us, and we’ll add it to the list.

Understanding a Proxy IP Address

Whether you’ve bought proxies or found a list online (we don’t recommend using free proxies, by the way), a proxy server consists of three main elements: protocol, address, and port.

1) The protocol shows what kind of content on the internet you can access using the proxy server. You’ll encounter three main protocols: HTTP, HTTPS, and SOCKS. The first two support website traffic; HTTPS is safer because it encrypts the information you send. The SOCKS protocol allows accessing more diverse content, such as torrents or SMTP.

2) The address shows where the proxy server is located. It functions like a ZIP code. The proxy server’s address can look like a regular IP (192.168.0.1). Or, it can use a DNS hostname and look like a website (en.proxyprovider.net).

3) The port number indicates how you can reach that address. It doesn’t reflect which ports the proxy server actually has open – you’ll have to find that out from your provider.

So, here are the two formats of a proxy IP address you’re most likely to encounter:

  • 192.168.0.1:10000
  • en.proxyprovider.net:10000

Proxy Authentication Methods

If you’ve bought access to private proxies, you’ll most likely need to authenticate them before you can start using the proxy server. The two main authentication methods are credentials and IP whitelisting. Some proxy suppliers offer both, while others have only one method available.

1) Credentials simply refer to a username and password. Apps may have separate fields for them or require adding credentials to the proxy IP address. In the latter case, the address would look like this: 192.168.0.1:10000:username:password. If your proxy server requires password, you most likely haven’t entered the credentials.

2) IP whitelisting lets you specify an IP address that can access the proxy server. This method isn’t ideal if you have a dynamic IP (there are workarounds) but it doesn’t modify the proxy IP address and doesn’t require any other fields like credentials.

What happens if you’re not authenticated? The proxy server won’t let you access any content. Instead, you’ll get the proxy server is refusing connections or the 407 error.

Working with Rotating Proxy Servers

Unlike proxy lists, which have a separate address for each IP, rotating proxies often use backconnect gateway servers. These servers provide one hostname and allow you to access different IPs by changing the port number. After a while (it depends on the provider’s settings), the IP rotates; the gateway server remains the same.

backconnect proxy server example

An example of a backconnect gateway server with 10-minute rotation frequency.

Set Up a Proxy on an Operating System

Enabling a proxy server on an operating system will make all your connection requests go through proxies. In other words, the settings apply system-wide, unless you use applications that override them.

Set Up a Proxy on a Web Browser

There are multiple ways to use proxies on a web browser: via operating system settings, browser settings, or various browser extensions, such as FoxyProxy and SwitchyOmega. If you’re not planning to have proxies on all the time, an extension is probably the best tool for the job.

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