When you’re dealing with web proxies, you’re liable to encounter a wide range of possible errors. This is primarily because the web was not designed with the use of proxies in mind. They are, in a sense, exploits in the way the web works.
Unfortunately, there’s a sort of sliding scale of errors in proxies. Errors come when a piece of software, a server, or a website expects one thing and gets something else. It’s like opening a box labeled “puppies” and getting spiders. You error out of that situation right quick.
The more data the proxy passes, the fewer errors there are. However, if the server passes enough data, it’s no longer even really a proxy, it’s just a referral server and is part of a normal web operation.
Many people use proxies because they want a more anonymous connection, though, and that’s what causes problems. A proxy server that passes your requests but strips out header data is sending one thing while a server expects another.
Most of the time, this doesn’t cause any issues; it just means the server thinks you’re located somewhere else and doesn’t have much data about you to report to analytics. Sometimes, though, the discrepancy between expected data and provided data causes an error.
That’s what the ERR_PROXY_CONNECTION_FAILED error is. It’s a particular set of software interacting with a proxy in a particular way such that it causes an issue.
To Err is Human
To forgive is divine, but forgiveness doesn’t help you in this situation. In fact, you may be begging for it if you’ve been fighting this error for a while. The problem is, it’s a pretty specific, narrow situation that doesn’t come up a lot, so you may have been happily using proxies for quite a while without ever encountering the error.
What is err_proxy_connection_failed
The error is specific to Google Chrome, which may be helpful to know if you’re willing to use another browser. That’s not always possible, though; similar errors will show up on Firefox and – god forbid – IE if you’re using them.
Why chrome err_proxy_connection_failed
The error itself is caused when you try to access a page that uses SSL, which is going to be more and more pages moving forward ever since Google declared SSL was a search ranking factor.
If you’re interested in making sure that the error you’re getting is the one we’re talking about and not just a related error, you can replicate the behavior by using a proxy that filters SSL requests and use it to try to access the HTTPS Google page or Facebook. You’ll end up with the Error 130:
ERR_PROXY_CONNECTION_FAILED: Unknown Error message. You can read a bit more about the error and why it happens here.
Another possible cause of the error is a broken registry key on Windows machines. If you’re getting the error intermittently, or on a non-Windows machine, this isn’t the problem. However, if it is, you may have to try alternative solutions.
How to fix error code err_proxy_connection_failed
“Unable to connect to the proxy server”
Error 130 (net:: “err_tunnel_connection_failed”): Proxy Server connection failed in Google chrome? Fixing it right now!
Change Browser Proxy Settings
In Chrome – the source of this error most of the time – you can go to change your browser settings by navigating to the Chrome settings URL, which is chrome://chrome/settings/.
By visiting that URL, you are presented with a basic settings menu. Click to show advanced settings, then scroll down to the section labeled network. There will be a “change proxy settings” option there, and the option you’re looking for is “automatically detect.”
When your browser is set to automatically detect proxy settings, it will look for settings about proxies embedded in your operating system.
For Windows, it looks for the configuration used by IE as well.
For Mac, it pulls the Safari settings.
By turning oﬀ this automatic detection, you allow Chrome – or whatever application you’re using based on it – to use its own settings, which are likely set by you or the proxy owner to be more eﬀective.
You can read more about Chrome and its handling of proxy information in this developer document. It’s probably overkilled if all you needed to know was to change one setting, but it helps you understand what’s going on and why.
Make Sure IP, Password, and Port Are Correct
This is a simple tip, but it’s an important first one nonetheless. There are three important bits of information when using a proxy to connect to a site. Those are the IP address of the proxy you’re using, the password you need to authenticate if any, and the port you need to connect.
The IP address is quick and easy to test. Just try using the proxy to reach another site. If it works, your IP works and your issue is with the SSL. If it doesn’t, check to make sure the proxy is still online, and that the IP address you want to use is correct.
The password is a password. Verify that you’re using the right one. You should be able to manage that on your own.
As for the port, most proxies by default connect through port 80. This is the most common web port for proxies, but it’s far from the only one. I recommend checking into the system you’re trying to access and see if there are specific ports it uses.
For example, some proxy providers will work on a port like 55555. This might be a question you ask your proxy provider, or it might be a question you research about the site you’re trying to connect to.
Related: How to setup proxy server in chrome.
Make Sure IP Authentication Matches
Some proxies will pass geolocation data, while others do not. Some websites take oﬀense to this. They want to know where you’re coming from. A lot of times, nothing comes of it if you don’t provide that information. You just end up as one of the garbage connections in analytics providing no useful data.
Other times, though, the site will have filters in place. They want to make sure that their traffic is coming from the areas they offer. A local HVAC company in Wisconsin doesn’t want or care to know about people visiting their site from California. A US-only business doesn’t care about visitors from Russia. It’s all the same concept; keeping your visitors in the areas you service.
Some sites take this a step further and will identify and filter connections from high-risk countries, or from out of their service area. High-risk countries tend to be countries where a lot of scammers reside, like Nigeria, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.
Other sites might not actively block connections coming in from risky countries, but instead might just look for hidden or mismatched IP authentication data. If the site gets a connection claiming to come from Oklahoma but reads an IP coming from Sweden, there’s probably something fishy going on, and that connection may be blocked.
By fixing your authentication data, or choosing a different proxy for the task at hand, you can remove the errors caused by the mismatch.
Contact Proxy Provider for Support
If all else fails, one thing you can do is hope you have a high-quality proxy provider. Just visit their site and send their support staﬀ a message, give them a call, or use whatever other contact information they have provided. A good provider will have a solution on hand, or at the very least will have a trained technician available to help you with your problems.
This isn’t much help if you’re using a free proxy list that doesn’t have active support. Most of the time, these lists are made up of compromised computers and they’re run by a small team of foreign nationals who don’t have any support structure. You’d be hoping they would work with you, while they’re hoping you won’t go out of your way to harm their reputation. Not that they care; they survive without you.
Consider a Software Solution
I put this option in the end, even though it might be the easiest of them all, just because it has the potential to cause more harm than good. This is because a software solution by default can only fix problems on your computer, not on the proxy itself. Therefore, this fix is only valid if the registry key on your Windows PC is the problem.
Fair warning: much of the time, any program that tampers with the registry has the potential to
cause problems with other software and normal operation of the machine. Ideally, you will want to find a program that will allow you to selectively fix a single issue, rather than presenting you with a list of 500 it finds and forcing you to fix them all at once.
One possible option is to try the software called RegCure Pro. I have not used it myself, so exercise caution when you’re downloading and installing software from an untrusted source. Scan any files you download for viruses and be wary if it asks you for any personal information.
For reference, here is the registry fix you can make to bypass the error in Internet Explorer. The error is no longer the ERR TUNNEL one we’re familiar with, though; in this specific situation, the error is “Error Code: 502 Proxy Error. The Forefront TMG denied the specified Uniform Resource Locator (URL).”
The fix is to dive into your Registry using Reg Edit.
Check under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or HKEY_CURRENT_USER for the tree of Software – Microsoft – Internet Explorer – Main – FeatureControl. You will need to find or create the key FEATURE_SHOW_FAILED_CONNECT_CONTENT_KB942615. In it, set the reg key name to iexplore.exe, the type to REG_DWORD, and the value to 0x00000001.
Be aware that making this change has the potential to open you up to a security exploit that has been known since at least 2011, and thus is likely in use by numerous viruses floating around the web.
I recommend that you only implement this change when you’re actively needing to access something on the page via proxy and cannot access it any other way. Once you’ve got what you need, remove the key so you close the security hole.
Alternatively, ditch IE. If you’re married to using a Microsoft browser, Edge is supposed to be quite good in comparison. Chrome, of course, has a bunch of fixes above you can try.
The Android Issue
Android phones and tablets use Google’s operating system, and of course, Google is going to put Chrome in their OS as their sole web browser.
That means if you’re trying to use a proxy service on a mobile device running Android, you’re stuck with chrome, so you won’t be able to use a diﬀerent browser unless you have a device with an alternative installed. Also, despite being chrome, the chrome://chrome/settings URL doesn’t exist. If you’re encountering the error on mobile Chrome, try these steps:
1. Try updating your version of Chrome. On an Android device, you need to go to the Play Store and swipe over to the “My apps” tab, and then install any updates that are available for the Chrome app.
2. Try opening a new incognito tab to do your browsing there. If your issue was caused by the data being passed or a data mismatch, as mentioned in the IP authentication section, incognito should solve it by not passing as much data along. Note that if this solves the problem, you may have a Chrome extension aﬀecting your ability to connect.
3. Clear your mobile browser cache and cookies. Yes, this is a step you should do even on mobile devices.
4. Clear your profile. This is sort of a nuclear option but can remove any data hampering your ability to browse via proxy. Go to your settings, app settings, and chrome settings. Once there, clear your app data. This will remove your profile, clear your local state, and reset any errant flags.
Be aware that you may have to log in, input data, open old tabs, and generally restore your sessions manually.
Another alternative is to use a dedicated proxy manager for your phone. ProxyDroid is one such manager, though it does require that your device be rooted for full access. This is a problem you’ll encounter a lot with proxy management on mobile; you need root access to make the most of the functions these apps provide.
This is because by default mobile devices segregate a lot of their data, to make it harder for them to be compromised or hacked and exploited. However, many of the advanced features we come to expect in PCs are locked out on mobile for that reason.
If all of that fails to work, every desktop and mobile fix, well, maybe the problem isn’t on your end. Contact your proxy provider and work with them to see if the problem is on their end.
If so, they can fix it from where they are. If not, it’s also possible that the site you’re trying to access is having issues. The ERR_PROXY_CONNECTION error can also appear when the site you’re trying to reach is under a DDoS attack. You’ll just have to wait for the issue to resolve itself, in that case.