Common Proxy Configuration Mistakes That Reveal Your Location

A good proxy server is designed to ensure that you can get online and carry out your Internet operations anonymously. The proxy server keeps your IP address hidden from the websites you visit. But, to maintain privacy as intended, you need to set up the proxy server correctly. Without proper proxy configuration, your IP address may be exposed even if you think it is not. In this article, we’ll discuss some common omissions in setting up proxies.

Passing up the best

First of all, make sure you’ve selected a high-quality proxy service. It may cost more than “open” or less secure proxies, but the maximum privacy protection it affords is well worth the price.

How is it done? A rotating proxy service (and some static proxies) with Level 1 anonymity have special processes to strip out all identifying information from your web requests.

These headers are removed in order to mask proxy identification by the remote site:

  • Authorization
  • From
  • Proxy-Authorization
  • Proxy-Connection
  • Via
  • X-Forwarded-For

In contrast, open or insecure proxies pass through at least some of these headers, potentially making your real identity detectable.

Not using auto-configuration

One of the best guarantees of anonymity – and efficiency – is the use of auto-configuration features. Those are among the key features to look for in selecting a proxy service. Through rapid, automated selection of proxies, hostnames, and ports, this tool can immediately guard your identity against detection.

A proxy auto-configuration URL tells your browser when to use a proxy server, and what proxy server hostname and port to use. In this way, the proxy and the URL are appropriately matched; for example, this function tells your browser to use a specific proxy server based on whether the request will go over HTTP or HTTPS. 

A good proxy service will supply you with a URL to auto-configure.  You can save this URL in your settings for future use. Note that with auto-configuration URL, it’s important to authenticate your IP address. The function doesn’t handle the alternative – username:password – very well.

Properly set up, auto-configuration protects your online identity by making sure the right proxy is on the job!

Omitted browser language or location

Another setup task that’s often overlooked is configuration of the browser for the programming or scripting language to be used. As websites increase their awareness of the methods proxies use, they steadily increase their vigilance. For example, say you’re in the USA on an English-language browser, but your IP address shows Madrid, Spain. Many websites will likely block you, because they expect the server location and the IP address to be in close proximity, preferably in the same country.

Inaccurate configuration information

Correct information is important when you choose manual configuration of the proxy. For example, it’s essential to enter the correct address of a setup script. An incorrect address could mean your web browser requests don’t get forwarded through the proxy server, and that in turn could mean exposure of your identity.

Network traffic will only begin to flow through the proxy server when all the required information has been filled in correctly and a connection has been established. This is where working with a dependable proxy service provider comes in handy, as they will guide you through the process.

Assignment to the wrong ports

When you sign up with a proxy service provider, it will provide you a list of proxies with available IPs as well as the port(s) to use for connection to the proxy. Proxy connections only work with specifically assigned ports. Without those port assignments, you may not be able to establish a connection.

Bottom line: Don’t neglect the basics

If you make sure all configurations are done properly, you can work online without concern over anonymity or exposure of your location. Signing up for a good proxy server is a great way to start; but there’s more to it than that. As we’ve seen, omissions in proxy and browser configuration could leave you compromised without your even knowing it.

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