Corporate networks almost always employ proxy servers. But personal computers or networks may overlook this handy solution to gain access to blocked websites. The primary reason for not putting in a private proxy at home is the perceived complexity of installation. Many believe a private proxy for home networks is too complicated if you are not a technology expert.
It is simpler than you would imagine to set up your own private proxy from home. And it is well worth the eﬀort since a local proxy server can help to improve the broadband connection, solve a myriad of network issues and add another line of defense against malware infections.
But first, here is a quick reminder about the benefits of hosting a proxy server from home.
If you find you are blocked from accessing specific websites or you want to cruise the internet in total anonymity and hide your IP address, then a proxy server is for you. Many web filters block websites based on URLs, but a proxy acts as an intermediary for your browser and the website that you want to access. A proxy server can also permit access to sites blocked by a firewall.
By connecting to the internet through proxies, the home IP address of your machine is not shown. Instead, only the IP of the proxy server is revealed for exceptional privacy while surfing the web. Hooray for anonymity!
Web Server Proxies
Often in order to run a proxy on your home computer, you’ll need to install a local web server. Getting a basic proxy service is usually quite simple. There are many online websites that will provide the proxy directly through that website.
Unfortunately, a major downfall of a web-based proxy is that they can be easily blocked when someone notices that their rules are being bypassed through that particular website.
There are companies that oﬀer private proxies that guarantee that you will be the only person using the assigned proxy. The best of these proxies deliver fast connections and have no restrictions on the amount of bandwidth you use. Businesses such as Squidproxies and MPP Group provide the option of private proxies for complete anonymity. But before installing a Web Server Proxy, you’ll want to confirm that your home proxy supports HTTP/HTTPS protocols or SOCKS, as well as performs authentication by IP or username and password.
- The HTTP protocol forwards the HTTP requests to the correct servers. This method recreates the request from the original device on the proxy server, and then the proxy server forwards the exact request to the desired destination. The communication between server and device is left unhindered and open
- SOCKS: This protocol uses a “handshake” operation to initiate the connection with the proxy server. There are two frequently used operations of SOCKS ; SOCK4(a) and SOCK5. The most recent SOCK5 version oﬀers higher levels of authentication.
Configuring the internet settings on your computer to route itself through the proxy server is another option for setting up your own private proxy from home.
This method is not as simple as the previously mentioned one, but it does tend to work very well once you know how to configure everything properly. In fact, many of the popular browsers and applications, like Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer support configuration for proxy connections.
Read more, Guide to config the proxy on the browser.
Companies that provide the proxy servers almost always provide the consumer with instructions on how to set up the home proxy. They also oﬀer troubleshooting suggestions and “how-to” videos on their websites or You-Tube.
Step your home network as proxy server using Python & Google App Engine
There are a number of proxies that can provide you with proxy service. You can find a list of these simply by typing “Proxy List” into any search engine. Some are free while others charge a fee. (Usually, the paid proxies are more reliable, faster and more secure).
In fact, there is a multitude of PHP scripts available (such as php-proxy, glype) on the internet that can be used to create a proxy server for free, but the majority requires a web server and a domain name for the proxy site. However, it is possible to create a personalized proxy server without purchasing any domain name or web server.
One of the simplest methods to set up a private proxy from home is to use the Google app engine.
Tutorials on the process are easily available, but here are the basic steps:
- Step 1: Open google.com and login in with your google account.
- Step 2: Click the “Create an Application” button.
- Step 3: Select an Application Identifier and it will become the sub-domain of a proxy server. Give a title (say My Proxy Server) to your app, set the Authentication Option “Open to all users”, create the application.
- Step 4: Go to python.org, download the 3.7+ Installer and install Python. If you are using Mac, the good news is that Python is already installed on your computer.
- Step 5: Download the application files required to create a proxy server then extract the zip file on your desktop.
- Step 6: Go to google.com, download the “Google App Engine SDK for Python” and install it. When the installation has finished, click “Run Launcher” button.
- Step 7: Inside the Google App Engine Launcher, Select Edit >> Preferences from the desktop and set the correct values for the Python Path, App Engine SDK and the Text Editor (set this is as WordPad or write.exe and not notepad.exe) as shown in the screenshot below.
- Step 8: Click File tab >> Add Existing Application under the Google App Launcher program and browse to the folder that contains the files that you extracted in Step 5. Save and close the file.
- Step 9: Hit Deploy, enter your Google account credentials and, within a few seconds, your online proxy server will be deployed!
Another Choice for Windows
Several proxy server software packages are also available to help you build your own proxy server. Some of them are Windows OS based while some are Linux and Unix based.
For example, WinGate Proxy Server benefits a small business or home network. It will increase your computer’s eﬃciency, responsiveness, and reliability.
Finding “free” proxies is relatively simple by searching the internet. But there is often a catch when these free proxies are utilized both at home and in business.
- There is a risk that the “free” proxy is actually set up by a hacker looking to obtain personal and private information
- You will encounter a large number of unwanted advertising
- It will be unreliable and often not available after just a few uses
- They rarely provide a guarantee of privacy protection
- They are very (very) slow
Troubleshooting Your Home Proxy
Unlike working at a corporation, you likely don’t have an IT department down the hall in your home.
Troubleshooting can become a challenge without this extra support. Here are some tips for the most typical issues with proxy servers:
- Authentication Error. When this message pops up usually means the username and password is incorrect. Double (and triple-check) your login information.
- Logging Into Websites. Removing scripts is a good step to try when experiencing problems on websites that you want to log into.
- Slow Proxy Connection. Whenever you connect to a proxy, you should take into account the location of the server. Distance from the server will impact your top download speed.
- Connection Timed Out. Most of the time this error can be resolved by closing and restarting your computer.
Read more, What Causes Proxy Connections to Time Out?
- Setting up your own proxy is a useful project, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Some private proxies may have an additional cost for use over their stated bandwidth limit, which can become expensive. Be sure to check out the “fine print” on this feature before purchasing a private proxy for your home.
- Some users experience their browsing to slow down when they are surfing through a home proxy. Remember, your requests are being routed through your home proxy server every step of the way, which puts a slow middleman (your home network) between you and the websites you want to access.
- A few ISP oﬀer limited data plans so your proxy may have performance limitations
- Some ISPs can block all traﬃc connected to known IP addresses belonging to a particular proxy provider
- Most private proxies are not liable for any act, direct or indirect, incidental, special or consequential damages arising out of the use of or inability to use the service
- If you use your home proxy at work, it is likely your employer can still see everything you’re doing on the internet (and your computer). Some employers actually forbid the use of any type of proxy, so if you get caught, you could face some very serious consequences.
To Sum it Up
Accessing blocked web sites has become a necessity in today’s technological world. Having a proxy that is reliable, credible and dependable is not only useful in business but is also helpful for home users.
It is important to understand associated risks with home proxies. Although using an intermediary between your computer and the internet has numerous advantages, there is some risk associated with proxy servers, especially if you decide to use free and public proxies.
Every day, even every hour, new proxy servers pop-up and some last for only a very short time. It is essential that you select a credible and legitimate proxy server for your home that is interested in more than making money hacking into your personal data.