Proxy Server

Firefox Proxy: How to Use a Proxy in Firefox

Author
Janis von Bleichert
Last update

If you're interested in greater anonymity when using the Web, proxy servers are worth considering. They establish connections between you and the Internet, forwarding your requests and concealing your IP address. Setting up a proxy server isn't difficult, with a number of options available if using Mozilla Firefox.

In general, there are three ways to set up a proxy connection in Firefox: You can use a web proxy, install a browser extension, or manually configure one. Below, we'll show you how to do all three.

Option #1: Web Proxy

So far as simplicity is concerned, it doesn't get any easier than a web proxy: All you have to do is visit an appropriate service and input the URL you want to visit, after which a secure proxy connection will be established.

The advantage of this method is that there's nothing to install or configure. Depending on the service, you'll also be able to modify a few basic options, such as what to do with scripts or cookies.

There are some drawbacks though. First, web proxies create simple HTTP connections to a manually-selected website in your browser. If you're after greater flexibility and/or would like that a desktop app's traffic uses the connection (for example), you'll need to use one of the other methods.

If only interested in creating a simple HTTP proxy connection, web proxies can come in handy. You won't suffer for choice as there are plenty of free offers, such as those from HideMyAss or Hide.me:

HideMyAss, a VPN provider, offers a free web proxy service.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Simple

Free

No configuration or manual setup needed

Only for basic HTTP connections

Each website needs to be manually input into the service in order to be visited

Looking for a free web proxy? We introduce you to seven providers in our guide to web proxies.

Option #2: Browser Extension

Do you want to free yourself from the constraints of having to visit a web proxy each time you want to surf over a proxy connection? In that case, a browser extension might be what you're looking for. With one of these, you can create an HTTP proxy connection for everything you do in your browser. Several VPN services offer these, such as:

1.

CyberGhost Proxy

CyberGhost's proxy extension allows you to connect to servers in four locations: Germany, Romania, the US, and the Netherlands. It doesn't have any data limits, but also lacks extra settings. If you'd like to make changes to your connection, for example, you'll need the provider's premium VPN app. During our EXPERTE.com review, CyberGhost received an overall score of "good".

With CyberGhost's free proxy extension, you can surf without data limits.

2.

Hide.me Proxy

Hide.me also offers a proxy extension, providing users with a choice between connecting to servers in Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, or a random (automatic) location. Like HMA, it doesn't impose any data limits, and you'll be able to deactivate WebRTC, or set proxy connections to always be automatically established.

Hide.me also accentuates its VPN services with a proxy extension.

3.

Hotspot Shield Proxy

Hotspot Shield's free Firefox proxy extension also lacks bandwidth limits, however, only offers random (automatic) server selection alongside a US server. You will find a few useful security features among its settings, such as the ability to block trackers, cookies, or malware.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Directly integrated in your browser

Free

Only for basic HTTP connections

Limited selection of servers

Data or speed limits, depending on the provider

Option #3: Manual Proxy Configuration

When it comes to proxy connections, for maximum flexibility, you'll need to manually configure one on your operating system. This isn't difficult to do, but you will need an IP address for the proxy server that you'd like to connect to. There are plenty of free offers, however, these can often be unreliable. To see what's available, be sure to check our regularly updated EXPERTE.com list of free proxy IPs:

For a more reliable connection, you'll need to rent one.

Whichever option you choose, once you have a proxy IP, you can begin setting up your connection in Mozilla Firefox. Below, we'll walk you through how to do this step-by-step:

1. Click on the hamburger menu in the upper right, followed by Settings.

Start by clicking on Settings from the hamburger menu.

2. Scroll to Network Settings at the bottom, and click on Settings.

Under the General tab, scroll down and click on Settings, in the Network Settings area.

3. Select Manual proxy configuration. Supply the proxy IP and port in the required fields. For an even smoother setup process, you can copy and paste these directly from our EXPERTE.com proxy list. Pay attention to what type of proxy you've selected (HTTP/S or SOCKS5) and make sure that all information is in the appropriate field.

Input all proxy data and click on OK to finish setting up your proxy connection.

4. When done, click on OK. Your proxy connection should now be activated.

And that's all! In case you'd like to configure a proxy server for another browser or for your operating system, you can find out how in our proxy setup guide.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Maximum flexibility

System-wide proxy settings

Free proxy IPs need to be constantly changed owing to the lack of reliability and/or poor speeds

No encryption

Conclusion

If you want to create a proxy connection in your Firefox browser, you have three options for doing so: A web proxy, with which you can access individual websites anonymously; a browser extension that removes the need to head to the web proxy's address before visiting your destination. With this approach, you'll be able to do everything from the convenience of your browser's taskbar.

The third option is to configure a proxy connection directly in Firefox's Settings. For this, you'll need a proxy IP, which you can get from our regularly updated list of free proxies. A word of warning though: Free servers are far less reliable and much slower than paid servers, so, don't be surprised if you need to try a few before you find one that works.

The more reliable and overall safer option is a VPN. Like proxies, these also disguise your IP address, making it possible to bypass geo-restrictions, however, your entire Internet connection is encrypted as well. We've compiled an article detailing which VPNs are best for Firefox users.

Author: Janis von Bleichert
Janis von Bleichert studied business informatics at the TU Munich and computer science at the TU Berlin, Germany. He has been self-employed since 2006 and is the founder of EXPERTE.com. He writes about hosting, software and IT security.
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