Basically, private users who connect to the Internet with their computer via LAN or WLAN do not need to make any manual changes to the proxy settings. Changing the default settings is only necessary if the data traffic is deliberately to run via a proxy server. In corporate networks, however, bundling Internet traffic via a forward proxy is the rule. Access to the Internet therefore usually requires a proxy configuration through manual entries or a configuration URL.
In both cases the configuration is done via the Windows network settings. The click path to the corresponding menu differs depending on the version of Windows used.
Configuring the Proxy Server under Windows 7
To set up a proxy server under Windows 7, click the Control Panel button in the Windows menu.
Windows 7 Control Panel
From there, the click path leads to the menu items “Network and Settings” and “Internet Options”.
Network settings under Windows 7
The “Internet Properties” window opens.
Windows “Internet Properties” menu
In the “Connections” tab you will find the “LAN Settings” button. This button can be used to open the window “Settings for local network”.
LAN settings under Windows 7
Here you have three configuration options. Windows can detect the proxy settings automatically, use a script for automatic configuration or use manual settings.
If the proxy settings are to be configured manually, it is advisable to remove the check mark from the “Detect settings automatically” checkbox. Otherwise the automatic configuration may overlay manual settings. To set up a proxy server manually, check the box “Use proxy server for LAN” and enter the address of the proxy and the port number.
With the button “Advanced” you can configure different proxy servers for HTTP, HTTPS, FTP and SOCKS. If all protocols are to use the same proxy server, a check mark in the corresponding checkbox is sufficient. In addition, exceptions can be defined via the advanced proxy settings. Addresses that are not to be called via the selected proxy server are stored there.
Advanced proxy settings under Windows 7
You can obtain the corresponding configuration information from the proxy provider. Some servers are also protected by individual access data. In this case, use requires a personal user account including password.
Configuring Proxy Servers under Windows 8
To open the proxy settings under Windows 8, select the “Control Panel” button in the application menu.
The Windows 8 application menu
The app for the Windows system settings opens. Select the menu item “Network” here.
App for Windows system settings
Select Proxy in the sidebar and make automatic or manual settings similar to Windows 7.
Network settings under Windows 8
Alternatively, you have the option of making proxy settings via the desktop view of Windows 8. In this view, the click deposit is the same as under Windows 7. Via “Network and Internet” and “Internet options” you reach the Windows menu “Internet options”, where you can open the proxy configuration in the “Connections” tab via the “LAN settings” button.
Configuring the Proxy Server under Windows 10
Also under Windows 10 the proxy configuration is done in the settings app. To call this up, click on the gear icon for the system settings in the start menu.
Opening the Settings app under Windows 10
The window with the Windows settings opens.
Windows 10 Settings App
The proxy settings can be accessed by clicking on the Proxy button in the “Network and Internet” section.
Proxy settings under Windows 10
As with Windows 7 and 8, the proxy settings can also be made automatically or manually with Windows 10. The necessary steps for the configuration correspond to those of the previous versions.
Setting up the proxy server via the browser settings
While the browsers Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Opera use the proxy settings of the respective operating system, Mozilla Firefox allows a separate proxy configuration that only refers to the browser usage. Other online applications on the computer are excluded from redirection.
To access the proxy setting in Firefox, click the Firefox menu icon in the upper right corner and select the Settings button.
The Mozilla Firefox Menu
The proxy configuration can be found in the “Advanced” menu item and can be called up under “Connections” by clicking on the “Settings” button.
Advanced browser settings
The “Connection settings” window opens.
Connection settings in Mozilla Firefox
- Here you can configure proxies for access to the Internet. There are four options to choose from.
- No proxy
- Automatically detect proxy settings for this network
- Use proxy settings of the system
Manual proxy configuration
In the default configuration Firefox uses the proxy settings of the operating system. If a forward proxy for Internet connections is configured here, it can be deactivated for Firefox. Users select the setting “No proxy” for this.
If a proxy server for Firefox is to be set up manually, the same information is required as for a configuration in the Windows network settings. Users have the choice of setting up separate proxies for HTTP, HTTPS, FTP and SOCKS or using the same server for all protocols. Firefox also allows users to define exceptions and automate the setting through a proxy configuration URL.
Fix Proxy Error
If the connection to the proxy server is interrupted, the web browser displays an error message. Warnings such as are possible:
Proxy server does not respond
Proxy server denies connection
Messages of this type can have various causes. The consequence is usually a disturbed Internet connection. Websites outside the local network are only limited or no longer accessible at all.
To eliminate the problem, users should first check whether proxy use is desired. Sometimes proxy settings are changed by adware, malware or browser plug-ins without the user’s intervention. Especially those who normally surf without a proxy should be sensitive to error messages of this kind. To check whether viruses and Trojans are responsible for redirecting to the proxy server, a detailed system scan is recommended. If new browser plug-ins have recently been installed, these should also be checked and deactivated if necessary.
If users deliberately use proxy services, connection errors can usually be traced back to one of the following causes.
- Proxy server is overloaded: Proxies, which are available free of charge on the Internet, are particularly popular among users for anonymizing online activities and bypassing geotargeting. If the demand exceeds the capacity of such a server, overload-related failures occur. In this case, the browser displays the message “Proxy server not responding”. Users now have the choice to wait or use another server. It may be possible to ask the administrator when the service is expected to be available again.
- Proxy server is offline: If a server is permanently removed from the network, it will no longer offer any proxy services. Reasons for the termination can be a technical problem or an insolvency of the provider. In this case, users have no choice but to choose another forward proxy or surf the Internet without a proxy.
- IP of the proxy server has been changed: If the IP address of the proxy server has changed, this also leads to connection errors. Users fix this problem by locating the current address of the proxy server and adjusting the configuration in the system settings or in the browser.
- Connection data was transferred incorrectly: The most common causes of errors are incorrect proxy settings. Before users contact the respective provider or select an alternative proxy service, it is therefore advisable to check all settings for typos in the IP addresses or port numbers used.
In the case of private proxy use, you usually correct proxy-related Internet problems by selecting the default setting of the system “Automatically detect settings“. In corporate networks, the use of a proxy is often mandatory in order to establish external connections. In this case, you should contact your administrator to resolve problems with the respective proxy server.