Have you heard of a proxy server before? It’s possible for someone to use the Internet on a daily basis and not know of the existence of proxy servers. Despite this, proxy servers have found homes in all kinds of environments, from within the home to big businesses and companies. This is due to the wide variety of roles they can perform, from regulating Internet connections to providing an extra layer of security. With Windows 10 becoming commonplace, users may be unsure how to use a proxy server in Windows 10.
So, what are they? And if you want to use one, how do you set up a Windows 10 machine to use it?
What Proxy Servers Are
When you access the Internet, your IP address is broadcast to the websites and services you use so they know where to send their data to. This is usually fine, but for users who want to hide their IP address due to privacy and security issues, it can be troublesome.
The solution to these problems is a secondary server that handles your data before it goes to the Internet. This is called a proxy server. This serves as your “middle man” between your computer and the Internet. You send data to the proxy server, and it passes the data along to where it needs to go. That way when you use the Internet, your proxy server’s IP is broadcast instead of your own PC’s.
How They’re Used
How are proxy servers used in the computing world?
For one, someone can turn a spare PC they have into a proxy server, then route their Internet through it. When they access the Internet, they broadcast the proxy PC’s IP rather than the user’s. This is useful for an added layer of security, as malware and malicious attacks looking for IP addresses will target the proxy server rather than the user’s PC.
As a Service
People can use paid-for or free proxy servers as a service provided by companies. This is useful if the proxy server is in a different country! A UK user, for instance, can have a US proxy server handle their data, allowing them to access US-restricted websites. Be careful when using a free proxy server, however; it might be logging all the information that passes through it!
Businesses also make use of proxy servers. Not only do businesses use them to maintain anonymity and protect themselves from cyber attacks, but they can route their employees’ web traffic through the proxy server. They then give the proxy server rules and regulations on how the ‘Net can be used, and the proxy server will monitor all the Web traffic using said rules and block any that disobeys them.
How to Connect to a Proxy Server in Windows 10
If you’re interested in proxy servers, you can set up a Windows 10 machine to connect to one. Before you start, however, you’ll need to find a proxy server Windows 10 can use so you can redirect your traffic to it. Either find a good proxy service, or set up a PC to act as a proxy server yourself. If you need some help, we’ve covered a few places you could get a proxy server. The following steps are also useful if you’re working on a network that requires you connect through a proxy server.
To connect to a proxy server, right click the Start button, then click the cog to open Settings.
In the Settings window click “Network & Internet.”
On the left-side bar, click “Proxy.”
You’ll find yourself in the proxy server settings. This window contains all the settings Windows 10 offers for a proxy server. You have a few options here; if you have a script to automatically set up your proxy, you can enter it by clicking “Use setup script,” then enter the location of the proxy setup script into the box.
However, it’s more likely you’ll only have two pieces of information: an IP address and a port. The IP address will be a string of numbers separated with three dots (10.10.10.10). The port number will be between one and five digits (3333). You may receive an address where both are combined, separated with a colon (10.10.10.10:3333). In each of these cases you’ll want to use the manual proxy setup to access the proxy server.
First, under “Manual proxy setup” switch on “Use a proxy server,” then enter the IP address and the port into their respective boxes. You don’t need to worry too much about the big box below unless you want to exclude specific addresses from using the proxy.
Regardless of what option you chose, clicking “Save” will save your proxy options. Now your Windows 10 machine will use the proxy server when connecting to the network.
Proxy servers can fit a wide range of uses, from security measures to accessing restricted content. Now you know what they are, how they work, how to find a proxy server Windows 10 can redirect traffic to, and how to connect to it.
Do you use a proxy server for personal or professional use? Let us know below!