So you just got that brand-new flagship smartphone you’ve been wishing for. It looks and feels so cool and you cannot wait to pop your headphones out and listen to your favorite songs.
As you grab the jack to plug your good old headphones in, you take a closer look, and… There’s nowhere to plug them in… Such is life in a world where Bluetooth technology is rising to power. But not all is lost.
In a spark of inspiration, you get a nice small adaptor. You plug it into your phone’s charging port, and then you’re able to plug your headphones into the 3.5mm port. Your musical journey can now begin.
Adapting to a certain situation is what makes us work better and become better. And as with lots of other things, this can go both ways, meaning both for real life and the digital, online life.
What does a jack adaptor have to do with today’s topic? Well, both allow us to use things that would otherwise be incompatible with a certain device or software. And that’s the magic of Proxifier, a tool that unlocks the compatibility between certain apps and unsupported proxy servers.
- What is a proxy server?
- Why don’t proxies always work with certain apps?
- What is a proxifier?
- How does Proxifier work?
- Use cases for Proxifier
- How to set up Proxifier?
- The bottom line
What is a proxy server?
It’s almost certain you’ve encountered the term before. Tinkering with your system’s settings to fix connection issues, or looking for ways to bypass region-restricted content. Or, perhaps, putting on the cloak of anonymity when going online.
Regardless, a proxy server is what gives you safe passage through the gates of the Internet. A proxy server acts as the middleman between you, the user, and the Internet, more specifically the site you are trying to access.
Whenever you send a web request, it goes to the proxy server first. Proxy servers act as a firewall and web filter and have several benefits, such as:
- Cache data to accelerate the speed of common requests;
- Privacy by making you anonymous online;
- Security by hiding one’s IP address and protecting the user from the risks lurking across the Internet.
Note that, even though they are somehow similar, proxies and VPNs work a bit differently. We covered how they work and what their use cases are. So, if you want to find out which one you should use, have a look here.
However, while it’s true that proxy servers are not an undisputed (and most likely default) standard of going online, there are cases when things don’t work that well, application-wise.
Why don’t proxies always work with certain apps?
Generally speaking, proxies work at application level. This means that the developers of an app will have to provide support for proxies. The good thing is, most apps, like automation software, or browsers, enjoy default proxy support.
The not-so-good part is that browsers and systems usually have their own settings. And apps can decide whether to accept and send requests through default proxy settings or not.
Things can get less pleasant when these apps do not respect the default proxy settings. The request will be forwarded via your own IP address, therefore exposing it.
In worse scenarios, this can either leave your system vulnerable or hinders the work for which you invested in proxies. Fortunately, we live in (probably) the golden age of technology, so workarounds can be quite easy to find. To make sure things go our way, we can use something called Proxifier.
What is a proxifier?
Proxifier is a tool that allows network applications that do not support working through proxy servers to operate most typically through an HTTP/S or SOCKS proxy. As we saw earlier, certain network applications are not so proxy-friendly. On top of that, neither can be firewalls. Such apps can either lack official proxy support or cannot directly connect to the Internet if they send requests via proxy servers.
What Proxifier essentially does, is force all applications, regardless of their support or lack of it, to use proxies. By using a proxifier, these applications can be made to work even if a proxy server is required for access. This is highly useful in many scenarios, especially in corporate environments, as we will see shortly.
Now, proxies come in different types and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this context, HTTP/S proxies are used only for web pages, most commonly for accessing geo-restricted websites. There’s no difference between HTTP and HTTPS proxies, other than the latter uses SSL encryption, adding an extra layer of security.
SOCKS proxies are not limited to web traffic, hence their popularity. SOCKS proxies are great for file sharing and streaming because they break the data they send into smaller packages.
Two of the most versatile types of proxies, combined with a tool that makes all apps use them, equals great advantages. Proxifier basically unlocks proxy compatibility, even if it is not implemented at application level.
There are different similar apps out there, and each can have its own implementations, perks, and installation process. Proxifier is a simple tool that can be easily integrated into most systems and that allows you to quickly set up how your traffic is routed through your chosen proxy servers.
Note that Proxifier is a proxy client. That makes it different from an actual proxy server. You need to already own your desired proxy servers in order to configure them via proxy clients.
How does Proxifier work?
It routes network traffic through a proxy server. When a user launches an app that requires Internet access, the tool intercepts the network traffic and sends it through a specified proxy server before forwarding it to the web server.
This allows the user to bypass restrictions put in place by firewalls or to hide their IP address for privacy reasons. It also allows the use of apps that do not offer native proxy support or suffer from proxy incompatibility.
This magic wand acts as a middleman, facilitating communication between the application and the internet, and can be configured to use different proxy servers for different applications or types of traffic.
Use cases for Proxifier
You can think of it as software that enables proxy compatibility at the system level, compared to the default application level. Once you acquired the desired proxy type, you can use the app to set everything up and get started using the proxy servers. In this regard, Proxifier becomes the audio jack adaptor we can plug into our phone to use our headphones.
Naturally, this brings advantages in diverse scenarios. Let’s have a look at the most common use cases that greatly benefit from this solution.
When a firewall restricts access to certain websites or services, Proxifier can be used to bypass those restrictions by routing the traffic through a proxy server that is not blocked by the firewall.
Every online exchange of information is carried across the Web by IP addresses. Proxies hide the user’s real IP and offer anonymity and safety. But if an app does not have proxy support, using it will eventually reveal your real IP. You can avoid that by setting up this proxy client that will force the app to send its request through a proxy server.
Accessing geo-restricted content
Combine a proxy server from a different region with Proxifier and you can gain access to a specific website, content, or application that might be unavailable in your region.
Since a proxy masks your real IP address, you can prevent exposing your sensitive information. By routing Internet traffic through a proxy, the software ensures your information and address stay hidden and cannot be hijacked.
Troubleshooting network issues
In some cases, Proxifier can be used to diagnose network connectivity issues. That’s because it allows the user to route traffic through different proxy servers to determine the cause of the issue.
Testing web applications
Developers can use it to test web applications by routing traffic through different proxy servers. They do so in order to simulate different network conditions. And just like we saw with IPv4 loopbacks, simulating such conditions without altering other connected devices is a life and time saver for network engineers.
Consolidating corporate networks, more control, and flexibility
Security and flexibility are vital for an organization’s network, especially if the network is accessed remotely by employees. If configured properly, Proxifier helps you route all your connections through a single entry point. They can be managed even remotely, should the proxy client implement the option.
Such tools can help set network configurations based on specific rules. Companies can, for example, give employees access only to specific apps and websites, to prevent accidentally spreading malware.
Not only that, but in some cases, it can also improve network speed and overall stability.
How to set up Proxifier?
First, you need to download and install the tool from the developer’s official website.
Once you install and launch it, you will be greeted by the app’s main window. If you want apps and services to go online through specific proxy servers, you’ll first have to define them.
Here’s how you can do it:
1. In the upper toolbar, click on Proxy Servers in the Profile section, or click directly on the icon in the toolbar;
2. Click the Add button on the right;
3. You will have to enter your proxy server information (address, port, protocol, etc.) then click OK;
4. You will be asked if you want Proxifier to use the selected proxy server as default. You can do so by clicking Yes, but you can change it anytime;
5. In the Proxy Servers list, you should see your newly added server. You can choose to use this server by clicking OK;
If everything was set up correctly, all connections should now be made through your specified proxy server as long as the app is running.
Keep in mind that you can also opt to forward requests only for specific apps. You can create personalized settings and whitelists via Proxification Rules or via the Manual Proxification Mode.
The bottom line
Proxifier is like an adaptor that enables us to use incompatible applications. It is the jack adaptor for wired headphones. It is the Daemon Tool for computers that lack a disk drive. It is the… you get the idea.
Its magic relies on the fact that it forces apps that do not support proxy servers, well… Use proxy servers. When enabled, all network apps will route their requests through a proxy server, before accessing the Internet.
While most apps and browsers already enjoy default proxy compatibility, some of them can be quite stubborn and can refuse to send web requests through proxy servers.
To tackle this inconvenience, businesses and individuals can make use of proxy clients. Once you got your hands on your preferred proxy servers, simply set up the magic solution to make specific apps work with proxies.
This will help you get rid of firewall limitations, ensuring anonymity and security at the same time. You can even access geo-restricted content, and organizations can consolidate their networks and gain more control over their resources.
That is because what Proxifier does is unlock the full potential of proxies.