Setting up a proxy server in Chrome offers added security and privacy when you’re browsing the web.
A proxy server (or proxy for short) acts as an intermediary between your browser and the internet.
Modern proxies can hide key potentially identifiable personal details about you while you browse for extra security and to help protect your privacy.
Some proxies need to be manually enabled every time you want to use one. But, you can save time by adding one through Chrome’s browser settings. That way, it automatically connects when your browse.
Today, I’ll share more details on proxy servers, why you need one, how they work, and how to set up a proxy server in Google Chrome.
What is a Proxy Server?
As mentioned above, a proxy server is a server or software that sits between your browser and the rest of the internet.
It’s also known as a “proxy” or “application-level gateway.”
How Proxies Work
According to Indiana University, Proxies use a network addressing scheme to assign an IP address to all its users, separate from the one that’s given through your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
When a proxy server is enabled, internet traffic is filtered through the proxy before it reaches your browser.
That way, the IP address of the proxy is revealed when browsing instead of the IP address that your ISP provides you.
A proxy server can also be used to protect computer networks rather than one browser such as within a company. These private servers can also be used to block certain websites from being accessed.
There are also many other types of proxies for different purposes as well such as reverse, or DNS proxies.
For details, check out What is a Proxy Server and How Does it Work?, and Proxy Servers.
The Risks of Surfing the Web without a Proxy
Without a proxy server in Chrome, you can visit a website and your ISP sends the request, then connects you to that website.
When this happens, your IP address assigned by your ISP is exposed.
No Proxy? Your IP Address Can Be Tracked
Your IP address can reveal the general area where you’re located. It can also be tracked using cookies so websites can keep a record of the websites you visit.
For example, every time you search for something in Google or Amazon, then visit sites based on the results, they track your search and browsing history through your IP address, and your user account.
They can see what you’re shopping for so they can show you relevant ads across the sites you browse later on.
Similarly, when you travel anywhere with your phone on – whether it’s to your local grocery store, or halfway across the world – Google notes where you are, where you’re going, and keeps a log of it. They later sell this data to advertisers.
Other websites can choose to track you in similar ways as well, though, most trustworthy sites typically don’t do so as vigorously.
For example, using your IP address to send you a greeting based on the time of day it is for you such as “Good morning,” or “Good afternoon!”
Hackers can also use software to target and infiltrate insecure sites, and steal personal details from its users through XSS, CSRF, RFI, SQLI, and similar attacks.
How a Chrome Proxy Server Protects You
When you use a proxy server in Chrome and you want to visit a website, your ISP reads and sends your request to the proxy. But, instead of the ISP fetching the website for you, the proxy server connects you to the site.
As previously mentioned, the proxy’s IP address is revealed when you browse the web instead of your own so you can’t be personally tracked with your IP address.
So, when you use a Chrome proxy server, you’re helping protect your privacy as well as helping to secure your web browsing.
Where to Find a Proxy Server
When you decide to add some security to your internet browsing with a proxy server for Chrome, you’ll need to purchase one or find a free version. Then, you can add it to your Chrome browser to automate its use.
It may be important to note that free proxies are often abused which makes them less secure. As a result, they’re often blocked by reputable sites. Your privacy also wouldn’t be ensured.
No matter which proxy you choose, it’s essential to find one that is secure, includes a lot of bandwidth for increased surfing speeds, and is regularly well maintained.
You can also choose to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which provides a separate IP address, similar to a proxy server, but protects your entire computer including all the apps that access the internet, rather than just protecting your browser.
For details, check out The Best VPN and Proxy Services of 2019, and 10 Best Free Anonymous Proxy Servers.
Setting up a Proxy Server in Chrome
Once you have chosen a proxy server for Chrome, you can set it up so you can automatically use the proxy’s IP address every time you browse the web, as previously mentioned.
That means you won’t need to manually activate the Chrome proxy server, and you can just set it, and forget it.
Start by opening the Chrome browser, and clicking the menu button toward the top, right-hand corner.
Next, select Settings on the list.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page, then click the Advanced link to access additional options like the one to enable a Chrome proxy server.
Under the System section, click the Open proxy settings button.
To finish the proxy’s set up, follow the steps below for Mac, or scroll down for Windows.
Finishing the Chrome Proxy Server Set up on Mac
A window should open on your computer. On the left-hand side of the the Proxies tab, make a selection of the protocol you want to configure.
If you’re not sure which one to select, check with your proxy provider to find out.
Fields may appear to the right depending on your selection, and that’s where you can enter your login credentials, or other pertinent details to connect you to the proxy.
When you’re done, click OK.
If you’re unable to make any edits, click Cancel, and on the Network window, click the lock button, and enter your administrator’s password.
Be sure to select the appropriate option on the left to adjust your Ethernet, or WiFi connection, for example.
Then, click Advanced, and select the Proxies tab to enter the details you need to enable the proxy server for Chrome.
Now, your Chrome proxy server is set up and ready to go.
Finishing the Chrome Proxy Server Set up on Windows
The Internet Properties window should open where you can configure the details for your proxy.
Click the LAN settings button toward the bottom.
Next, check the Use a proxy server for your LAN box, and type in the IP Address and Port number in the fields.
If you’re unsure what credentials to use, consult your proxy provider for the details.
Then, click the OK button.
That’s it – your Chrome proxy server is ready.
It may be important to note that some proxies or VPNs will require you to login in before you can safely surf the web.
Proxy servers for Chrome are a great way to help keep you safe, and help keep your privacy intact as you browse the web.
While it’s not the only security measure you should add to your arsenal, it’s a brilliant step in the right direction.
Just be sure to vet any proxy server you use since they’re not all made equal.
Do you use a proxy server for Chrome, or do you plan to use one? What kind of proxy do you currently use, or are interested in setting up? Are there other details about proxies you’re unclear about? Share your thoughts in the comments below.