Often, website developers forget to test their sites in different countries. We all fall victim to the “self-sampling hypothesis”, in assuming that we ourselves are a representative sample of our visitors. Naturally, this leads to problems if you’re sitting with a high-speed, and reliable Internet connection in a server located close to your development site. But you also need to test your site form multiple locations around the world. And the best way to do this is with a proxy. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use a proxy in browsers in Chrome and Firefox.
But first, an explanation of why I prefer one browser over the other for proxy connections.
I Prefer Firefox to Chrome for Proxy Connections: Here’s Why
Both Chrome and Firefox have proxy settings. The problem with Chrome however, is that it redirects you to your computer system’s network settings page and you have to change the proxy settings from there. This means that you’ll end up proxying not just browser traffic to Chrome, but all network traffic. Gaming, traffic to other browsers, and more.
Given the shady nature of some of the proxies out on the Internet, this frightens me. I usually use an anonymous proxy for a very specific, one-time, temporary purpose. Like warming my site’s EDGE POP cache or testing how it renders from that location. I do not want all my network traffic to be piped through to an anonymous proxy!
Firefox on the other hand, sandboxes the proxy connection and restricts it only to the specific browser window. All other network connections go through your regular channels. As a result, I feel that Firefox is much safer than Chrome for proxying.
With that out of the way, here’s how to proxy connections from both browsers – Firefox, as well as Chrome on Windows.
Getting the Proxy Connection Details
For quick testing of my website, I use free-proxy.cz. I know the website looks a bit shady, and doesn’t even have SSL, but they have a good collection of proxy servers. You can search for a specific country from the homepage like this:
Choose the proxy you want to connect to, then make a note of the IP address and port number as shown above.
Connecting to a Proxy from Google Chrome
To use the above details to connect to a proxy from Chrome, go to the browser settings, and search for “proxy”. The option we want is under the “System” tab as shown here:
This will open up the OS dialog box in Windows where you click “LAN Settings”. In the subsequent dialog box, under the section for Proxy server, click the checkbox and enter your proxy details as shown here:
Click “OK”. If you’ve entered a working proxy server and the correct port, you can now access the Internet through this IP address!
Connecting to a Proxy from Firefox (Preferred)
In Firefox, go to the browser option, and search for “Proxy”. Click the “Settings” button under “Network Settings” as shown here:
In the next dialog box, click “Manual Proxy Configuration”, and enter your server IP address and port number.
Click OK to save your changes, and you can now access the Internet from the new server IP.
How to Check if Your Proxy is Working?
Once connected to your proxy, you can get your IP address by typing the query “what is my ip” into Google, to check and see what your IP address is. It should be the same as the server from which you want to connect.
Another way is if you’re using Cloudflare to route your traffic. If so, enter the following address into the URL bar:
The result will be a response from Cloudflare with your IP address, as well as the EDGE server from where your traffic is being routed. The three-letter code is the IATA code for the International Airport. This way, you can not only get your IP address, but see which Cloudflare server is routing your website. I use it all the time!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!