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Avast Academy Privacy Proxy How to Set Up a Proxy Server on Your PC, Mac, or Web Browser

How to Set Up a Proxy Server on Your PC, Mac, or Web Browser

A proxy server sits between your computer and the internet. Acting as a bridge between your web browser and internet services like websites and software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, a proxy server can potentially make your internet a bit faster as well as more private and secure. Here's how to set up your Windows PC, Mac, or browser so you can use a proxy server to your advantage.

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A proxy server is a gateway between you and the internet. When you visit a website, the proxy server communicates with it on behalf of your browser. Then, when the website answers, the proxy forwards the data to you.

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    Proxy servers can do many jobs. These include scanning for viruses, acting as a firewall, speeding up your connection by caching, and hiding your public IP address.

    You have lots of choices when it comes to internet privacy. There’s a lot to learn, such as understanding what a reverse proxy is or distinguishing between VPNs, proxies, and Tor. If you want dependable protection and encryption for your internet traffic, consider a VPN. Avast SecureLine VPN hides your data from snoopers and protects your online identity, and it's also much easier to set up than a proxy server.

    There’s no similar guarantee of protection with a proxy, especially if you’re using one of the many web-based proxies available online. These public proxy services may slow down your service, and even worse, they may be insecure. Instead, we suggest you learn how to set up a proxy server on Windows, MacOS, and the most popular web browsers.

    If you’re configuring your browser to use a proxy operated by a company, school, or other similar organization, some of these instructions may require you to contact your IT staff. This is the case particularly when you are asked to manually enter a script name, formally called a proxy auto-configuration (PAC) file. You may also need to type in the proxy's IP and port numbers. In both cases, turn to your IT helpdesk if you haven't been given this information. If you’re using a proxy that you’ve purchased or created on your own, you’ll already have these details.

    How to set up a proxy server in Windows

    Here's how to set up your Windows PC to use a proxy server on Windows 8 or Windows 10:

    1. Press the Windows + I keys simultaneously to access the Windows Settings menu.

    2. On Windows 10, click Settings > Network & Internet > Proxy. On Windows 8, click Settings > Network Proxy.

    3. Under the Manual Setup section, set the “Use a Proxy Server” toggle to On. Make sure the “Automatically detect settings” toggle is also on.

    4. By default, Windows automatically checks to see if your business, school, or local network already has an automatic proxy server setup ready to run for you. If it does, Windows tells you its name, and encourages you to follow its instructions.

    5. Assuming that Windows finds a PAC file, in the Automatic Proxy Setup, set the Use Setup Script switch to On.

      Here's how to set Windows 10's automatic proxy server settings.

    6. Enter the script address and click Save.

    Congratulations! You're done and ready to proxy.

    How to manually set up a proxy in Windows 8 or Windows 10

    Not every organization sets up the process automatically. If you need to set up a proxy manually in Windows 8 or Windows 10, here’s how to do it.

    1. To access the Windows Settings menu, press the Windows + I keys simultaneously.

    2. On Windows 10, click Settings > Network & Internet > Proxy. On Windows 8 systems, click Settings > Network Proxy.

    3. Scroll down to “Manual proxy setup” and set the “Use a Proxy Server” switch to On.

      Set Windows 10 manual proxy server settings.

    4. In the address field, type the proxy server name or IP address. In the Port field, enter the proxy port number. You can get these from your IT support tech.

    5. If the proxy server is protected by a password, select the “Proxy server requires password” checkbox. Enter your account name and password in the Username and Password fields.

    6. Click Save.

    That's all there is to it. You're now set up to use your proxy server on Windows. The next time you use the internet, you'll be using the proxy server.

    How to set up a proxy server on a Mac running macOS

    Here's how to set up a proxy server on a Mac running macOS 10.15 Catalina. Other macOS versions use essentially the same commands.

    1. Open System Preferences. One way to get there is to click on the Apple menu > System Preferences.

    2. Choose the Network icon to adjust connectivity settings.

    3. Select the type of network you use, which is usually Ethernet or Wi-Fi.

    4. Click Advanced > Proxies.

      ere's how to set mcOS's automatic proxy server settings.

    5. To automatically configure your proxy server settings, select Auto Proxy Discovery. Click on Secure Web Proxy (HTTPS). Type in the proxy server address and its port number in the fields on the right.

      et macOS proxy server settings.

    6. To use a proxy auto-configuration (PAC) file, select Automatic Proxy Configuration and enter the proxy address into the URL field.

    7. If the proxy server is protected by a password, select the “Proxy server requires password” checkbox. Enter your account name and password in the Username and Password fields.

    8. Click OK to save the proxy setup.

    You're now ready to surf the internet via your proxy.

    How to set up a proxy in Google Chrome

    By default, Chrome uses your macOS or Windows proxy. To change your proxy settings from within Chrome, take the following steps: 

    1. Open the Chrome toolbar and select Settings.

    2. Scroll down to the bottom of the display. Click on Show advanced settings...

    3. Scroll down to “System” and choose Open your computer’s proxy settings.

      Set Chrome proxy server settings.
    4. Next, go back to the instructions for your operating system listed above to set up your proxy server settings and follow them.

    In short, to set up a proxy server in Google Chrome, you're just doing the first few steps in the browser, and then completing the process in your machine's operating system.

    How to set up a proxy server in Safari

    Like Chrome, Safari’s default setting is to follow the proxy configurations within your OS. Here’s how to change your proxy settings from within Safari:

    1. Click on Safari in the browser toolbar. Choose Preferences.

    2. Click on the Advanced tab. Under “Proxies,” click Change settings...

      Changing the proxy settings in Safari for macOS

    3. Next, you must go back to the instructions for macOS listed above to set up your proxy server settings and follow them.

    How to set up a proxy server in Edge

    Edge is Windows 10's built-in web browser, and unless you tell it otherwise, it’ll use your proxy configurations in Windows. The latest versions of Edge are based on Chrome, so the configuration is similar. The following steps show you how to set up a proxy from within Edge:

    1. In Microsoft Edge, at the top-right corner, click the Menu button. Select Settings.

    2. Scroll down to the Advanced settings section and click the View advanced settings icon.

    3. Click the Open proxy settings button.

      Set Edge proxy server settings.

    4. Next, go back to the instructions for Windows 10 listed above, then follow them to configure your proxy server settings.

    How to set up a proxy server in Firefox

    Unlike other web browsers, Firefox doesn't default to using your system's proxy settings. You’ll need to change your proxy from within Firefox:

    1. Open the Firefox menu and select Options

    2. Click on the Advanced icon.

    3. Select the Network tab.

    4. In the Connection Settings, select, Auto-detect proxy configuration for this network. When prompted, enter the proxy address.

      et Firefox proxy server settings.

    5. Alternatively, in the Connection Settings, you can select, Use system proxy settings. If you choose that option, Firefox uses the proxy settings in your operating system.

    6. Click OK to save your settings.

    How to set up a proxy server in Internet Explorer

    Please keep in mind that Internet Explorer is an outdated web browser. Instead, switch to a browser that’s still receiving regular updates and support, such as Avast Secure Browser, Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari. Though since quite a few people and companies still use Internet Explorer (IE), you should know how to set things up when necessary.

    As with other browsers, IE defaults to using your Windows proxy configurations. Here’s how to set your proxy up from within IE.

    1. Open the IE toolbar and select Internet Options.

    2. Open the Connections tab.

    3. Select LAN Settings.

    4. Check the “Use a proxy server for your LAN” box.

      Configuring a proxy within the Local Area Network (LAN) Settings of Internet Explorer

    5. When prompted, enter the proxy server name and port number.

    6. Click OK to save your settings.

    How to set up a proxy server in Android

    With Android, you must configure proxy settings for each network you use. In addition, the proxy will only be used by your web browser. Other internet applications may choose to use or ignore the proxy based on their own internal settings. This is another reason why VPNs tend to be better choices — when you use one, it covers all the internet traffic from your device.

    1. Open Android’s Settings and tap Wi-Fi to view a list of Wi-Fi networks.

    2. Long-press the Wi-Fi network name for which you want to change the proxy settings. Tap Modify Network.

    3. Tap Advanced Options.

      Configuring proxy settings on Android

    4. Tap Manual to change your proxy's settings. Enter your hostname and proxy port.

      OR

      If you have a Proxy Auto-Config (PAC) file, select Proxy Auto-Config and Android will prompt you to enter the PAC address.

    5. Tap SAVE.

    How to set up a proxy server in iOS

    1. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi.

    2. Select the active Wi-Fi connection.

    3. Under HTTP proxy, click Configure Proxy.

    4. Tap Manual to change your proxy's settings. Enter your host name, proxy port, and, if needed, your authentication username and password.

      Setting up a proxy on iOS

      OR

      If your provider supports Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Protocol (WPAD), tap Automatic. If required, enter the Proxy Auto-Config (PAC) file location.

    5. Tap back to the Wi-Fi selection window.

    Protect your online anonymity the easy way

    Proxy servers have their uses, particularly within large organizations. However, setting one up requires a bit of work, and this is a job typically entrusted to network administrators and other IT professionals.

    Avast SecureLine VPN is an internet privacy solution that’s both simpler to use and far more protective of your identity and online activities. A single click or tap of a button gets you encryption that keeps you anonymous online and prevents anyone from snooping on your sensitive personal info, such as your online banking, health info, or private photos. Enjoy true online privacy on your desktop, laptop or mobile device with a VPN that’s as convenient as it is secure.

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