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How to Change Proxy Settings in Internet Explorer (IE)

At times your access to the internet may be restricted due to firewalls at school or work. Oppressive governments and ISP can at times try to limit freedoms as well. It’s an annoying circumstance but totally avoidable for a little tech know-how. Whatever your reason for opting to use a proxy server, plugging-in an IP address in Internet Explorer couldn’t be easier.

Changing your Proxy Settings in IE, Step-by-Step

Step 1

Double-click on the Internet Explorer icon on your desktop or launch the application from the Start menu in Windows.

Step 2

Select “Tools” from the top of the screen then click on the last option that appears on the contextual menu, “Internet Options.”

Step 3

Choose the “Connections” tab at the top of the “Internet Options” window. Now click on the “LAN settings” or “Settings” button at the bottom-right.

Step 4

To use a custom proxy server, check the box next to “Use a proxy server for your LAN”. This option will allow you the flexibility to add a port number, which in most cases in necessary when using a proxy from free lists.

Step 5

Copy and paste the server IP address in the text box next to “Address.” Now paste the Port number from the corresponding IP.

Step 6

Click on “OK.” Your proxy settings have now been modified. Load a web page to test if the proxy server is responsive.

Proxy Lists

A Few Tips for Newcomers

There are new sites showing up all the time that offer lists with free proxy servers. Unfortunately many of the IP addresses are painfully slow or fail to work. Furthermore, easily-accessible lists have often been spoiled by spammers, so an IP address may not work because the site you are trying to view has banned the IP.

To save yourself the hassle of finding fresh, working proxies you may want to consider downloading Tor. It’s not a magic bullet either as the Tor network can be really slow at times. It works by creating a community in which users swap IPs. Setting it up on Internet Explorer is a hassle, while it’s super easy with Firefox so you may want to change your browser for tasks that require a proxy. For the best speeds available, think about subscribing to a VPN service.

Note on Internet Explorer Versions

This tutorial was created for IE 7 users. If you’re using an older version and can’t find the proxy settings, consider upgrading your software.

Security Concerns

Never use a proxy server with a computer that doesn’t have virus protection. To be safe, download AVG Free or Trend Micro Internet Security and be sure to have the latest virus definitions.

How to Change Proxy Settings in Firefox

Is an ISP or institution blocking you from viewing online content? Yes, it’s frustrating. Thankfully you’re clever enough to know about proxies. The problem can be easily avoided by using a proxy server with your browser.

Firefox has basic proxy capabilities built right in. In the Connection Settings menu you can set up Firefox to auto-detect proxy settings used by your network, use system settings or manually enter an IP address. Supported server types include HTTP, SSL, FTP, Gopher and SOCKS (v4 or v5). We’ll be looking at using the manual options here.

Let’s get to the step-by-step instructions shall we?

Step 1

Launch Firefox by double-clicking the Firefox icon on your desktop or by selecting it from the Start menu.

Step 2

In the top menu, go to “Tools” then click on “Options.”

Step 3

Click on the “Advanced” icon that looks like a cog on the top-right. Contextual options will appear in the window below.

Step 4

Select the “Network” tab then click on the “Settings” button on the right.

Step 5

Click on the radio button next to “Use system proxy settings”. The text boxes below will now become active, allowing you to enter a proxy server IP address.

Step 6

Copy and paste the server address into the appropriate box. If you don’t know what type to choose start with HTTP Proxy first as it is the most common. Don’t assume you have selected the wrong type if it doesn’t work. Dead proxy servers are about as common as brown leaves on an autumn day.

Proxy Lists

Looking for free proxy servers to test? Try the lists on one of the sites below.

A Few Tips for Newcomers

There are slews of proxy sites popping up at the time. Annoyingly many of the servers on free proxy lists are either painfully slow or don’t work. To make matters worse, public lists are abused by spammers, so these IP addresses may be already banned on the site you’re trying to view.

If you’re having trouble finding fresh proxies, consider using a Firefox add-on like FoxyProxy or Tor. Both automatically search for working proxies and offer more robust options that the native menus in Firefox. These solutions can also slow down to a crawl, so keep in mind that fast proxies servers don’t come for free. For best results, subscribe to a VPN service.

Note on Firefox Versions

This guide is confirmed to work with Firefox 2.x and 3.x. Mozilla typically doesn’t change the user interface substantially over time, so this method will likely be the ticket for a long while.

Security Concerns

Never use a proxy server with a machine that doesn’t have virus software installed. Protect yourself and your data by downloading something like AVG Free or Trend Micro Internet Security. Be sure to have the latest virus definitions as well.