If you’ve come to this article it means you’re using proxies. Congratulations. How’s all that anonymity treating you? It also means that you probably have multiple proxies, and it’s getting pretty laborious to switch between them manually. I get it. Proxies take time and energy to use correctly, and that’s without loading them up and clicking on each one separately.
There’s a better way to switch proxies. Whether you’re using a couple of proxies to browse anonymously or massive batches to scrape data, you should not be clicking on a diﬀerent proxy every time you want to use one. I’ll explain three main methods for automatically switching your proxies. They’re all pretty easy and some of them are free!
Browser Proxy Switchers
The browser in this sense means a web browser, which should be pretty obvious to you proxy savvy people. Browser switchers are very helpful because a lot of the time proxies are used by individuals in a casual way; people that just want to protect their anonymity, have purchased a small batch (or use free proxies), and need to switch between them.
Often times our web browser is where we’ll update proxy settings. Sometimes you have to update it in the networking settings of your OS, but if you want a single browser to use a single proxy or switch between a number of them, you’re going to need an extension. Extensions are downloaded from web stores and are specific to individual browsers, like Chrome and Firefox. Extensions number in the thousands and do all sorts of things. These extensions will make switching proxies super easy.
We added a list for switching proxy chrome extension Here.
When checking out the extensions of a specific browser, you’ll want to search for “proxy switchers.” A ton of options will come up, especially in a popular browser like Chrome. If you’ve had any experience with this in app stores, it’s the same concept. People upload countless extensions—some of them are good, some are terrible. Make proxy switcher extension decisions based on reviews, how often the software gets an update (also called support), and how easy it is to use.
Proxy technology, in general, can get dicey quickly, so you’ll want a trusted proxy switcher to be handling your proxies. I’ve also selected a couple of well known extension-based proxy switchers for you.
Also, note that this method will work for roughly 2-15 proxies. It’s best for the person that just likes to browse the internet anonymously, as opposed to scraping data with large batches.
Named after the adorable, swirling-tailed Firefox browser, FoxyProxy is probably the most common and long-lasting extension for easily switching proxies. Today it works with both Chrome and Firefox; you’re probably using one of those two browsers, or can, so this is a pretty universal solution.
One of the downfalls with browser extensions is that you have to use the browser the extension is available on, so shop around for what’s best for you.
FoxyProxy Standard is recommended, though the Basic version is available for simpler users that don’t want bells and whistles. Both are free, and both can be added with a single click.
With FoxyProxy Standard you’ll receive an extension that allows you to easily upload all your proxy IP addresses and switch between them at will. You do this with a simple click, and the browser will start browsing the internet with the proxy you’ve just chosen.
Some of you might be thinking, “Uh, that’s not automatic at all. You’re still clicking!” Those of you thinking such things are spoiled and are clearly used to technology solving all of your problems. You’re also right, of course.
FoxyProxy Standard can perform more complex functions, the most important of which is automating the proxy switching. You can set a number of rules for automatic switching. They can be set to automatically switch based on what website you’re visiting or for diﬀerent types of proxies. This allows a SOCKS proxy and HTTP proxy to be employed at diﬀerent times, depending on your browsing habits.
FoxyProxy functions a little diﬀerently in Chrome and Firefox, and it’s really built for Firefox. In that browser, it provides helpful color-changing bars to indicate your proxies’ strength, has clear tabs for changing specific settings, and is accessed easily.
In Chrome FoxyProxy melts into the Chrome API, which is nice, but it’s not quite as user friendly. Still, the functionality is great — there are lots of updates and help and you can switch through your proxies easily.
As you’ll begin to see, there are a ton of options in the Chrome web store. Proxy SwitchySharp is one of the most reviewed and is actually a ported project from SwitchyPlus, a well-known extension proxy switcher that stopped receiving support.
Proxy Switchyaharp also works within Chrome’s API and allows you to switch proxy to use in a single click. You can do it manually, but you can also set up rules for switches to occur at specific times or scenarios.
The user interface for Proxy SwitchySharp is well designed, and you’ll be able to do a lot of complex, scenario-based functions with this extension.
Unfortunately for users of Safari, there aren’t any extensions that allow you to easily or automatically switch proxies.
You can always use Chrome or Firefox on a Mac to get through this issue, but I’m all about providing you with options.
Safari does have a method of easy proxy switching, though it won’t ever be “automatic.” To do this, you’ll need to be able to access your Network settings in Mac OS System Preferences. Once there, find the “Location” drop-down menu (it’s at the top). It will likely say “Automatic,” which is not at all the type of automatic we are looking for.
Click on this to “Edit Locations,” which will open up a screen that allows you to add, subtract, and edit new locations. Essentially, you create a Location for every proxy you have. This will allow you to have a custom setting for each proxy.
Do this by naming the Location so you’ll remember which proxy it is, then head over to the “Advanced” button in the same network panel. In the “Advanced” section head to Proxies; you’ll find a number of types of proxies that can be entered, including the authentication methods. Select the type of proxy you are using, enter the IP address and port, click “Ok,” then click “Apply.”
Do this for every proxy you want to use in Safari. After this, you can click on the Apple button in the top left of your screen (not in Safari itself), and you’ll see the option for Location under System Preferences.
All of your entered locations will be there, and you can select one to use at any time. This routes all your web traﬃc (or all your traﬃc, if you have a SOCKS proxy) through the selected Location.
The next category for easy and automatic proxy switching is software. This is a massive category and will eﬀectively switch your proxies for you while also performing a whole bunch of other tasks. There are many tiers of software, from free open source options to paid-for applications. I’ll touch base on two main options.
Proxy Switcher is a well-named software application that will switch your proxies with the best of ‘em. The program is free, went open-source in 2014, and all of its files can be found on GitHub. The open-source junkies reading should stop here, because this is the resource you wanted.
Proxy Switcher works for Windows 7, 8 and 10. Its technology allows it to auto-detect a network connection and executes “actions” based on that connection. Actions are the term for specific protocols the program follows, like automatically adjusting proxy settings in Internet browsers. The product ships with default actions for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera, so if you use one of those browsers it’ll be really simple to use.
It’s a well-used resource, which means many people have created other Actions for other web browsers, and you can create your own Actions. That will require some know-how, of course.
If you’re getting into the world of proxies and have enough that you need to switch them frequently, you either need to know about ScrapeBox, or you’ve already heard of it. The tool is primarily used for scraping large batches of domain data, but it’s really a jack of all trades
Most of the previous examples were about basic users wanting to automatically adjust proxy use based on internet browsers. This is great if you have 5 proxies and just want to adjust which one is being used at a given time.
ScrapeBox is more for the power user and takes everything to a whole new level. The basic function of ScrapeBox is that you enter in a list of proxies, then execute certain complex data scraping actions with those proxies. ScrapeBox is built to use both free public proxies and private proxies, so you can enter in massive lists without an issue.
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This process is hyper-focused web browsing, but you don’t actually browse the web at all. ScrapeBox browses for you. In this way, it’s a bot or crawler software that really opens up the doors to your proxy use.
The automatic part of this is also what ScrapeBox is known for. Within the massive list of proxies, you can create individual or overall settings for the proxies, controlling the ping time, a number of threads used, when to rest or stop using a proxy. ScrapeBox will also automatically let you know when proxies are no longer functioning properly, saving you the headache of checking.
If you’re a power proxy user, get ScrapeBox. It costs $197 retail, but there’s a continual code online to get it for $97. You can probably find a promo code on Black Hat World for even less. You pay once and it’s yours.
The previous two methods should get you through most of your automatic proxy rotating needs. However, there are also some services that allow you to perform the same sort of actions within a website application interface (API).
The diﬀerence between a website API and a browser extension is that the website API is often a service you’re already paying for, not just a proxy switching method.
A good example is IgersLike, an Instagram bot service. The entire process is done within the API of the IgersLike website—you log in and performs all your actions there, rather than having a piece of software installed on your computer.
In the IgersLike example, there are countless ways to automatically rotate proxies, including many of the pinging and thread limits available in ScrapeBox. You’ll notice that IgersLike isn’t a service specifically for switching proxies, that’s just one of its features.
You wouldn’t register and use IgersLike just to rotate proxies, just like you wouldn’t buy ScrapeBox just to browse the internet with a diﬀerent IP address. Each of these has a diﬀerent level of user interaction.
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Proxy Provider API
The other main way to automatically rotate your proxies with a web-based API is through your actual proxy provider. This will depend on the provider, of course. Just like IgersLike, you are paying your proxy provider for a specific service — in this case, it’s the actual proxies you’ll be using. When a provider says that it has a web-based API that you can control your proxies from, this is what they’re talking about.
Log into your proxy provider’s website and it will have a screen that shows all the proxies you paid for and what their status is. Some of these APIs will have specific functionality that will let you assign the proxies to diﬀerent browsers, sites, or types of traﬃc. The best of these can be automated right there, so you don’t have to download software, an extension, or adjust your OS settings.
If you want to know if a proxy provider has this functionality, shoot an email to customer support.
One Final Thought
The above methods will take care of all your proxy switching needs, and work best for the most common types of proxies: HTTP and HTTPS proxies, which are inherently web and browser-based. Each is really meant for the type of user you are, so identity that first, and then explore your options.
I did want to mention another possibility. There are a number of proxy providers who sell rotating proxies, rather than assign you batches of single IP addresses. This is diﬀerent from a proxy service that will change your proxies if they fail or if you request new ones.
A rotating proxy service will typically refresh your proxies every couple hours, so you’ll receive new proxies multiple times a day. This is excellent for users concerned with bans and captchas, and those performing more complex functions like Ticketmaster spinning. In eﬀect, this means you’ll never be using the same proxies, so they won’t ever bust. While these services are great, they tend to fall on the sketchier side of the proxy equation.