Fixing the Authenticated Proxy Problem

While on campus, most of us have to use some sort of proxy to access the internet. Many a times, the proxy requires authentication and due to this programs that are not able to handle authenticated proxies (giveaway of the day installers, Apple software update, Xtrnormal State to name a few) just fail to connect to the internet even though you have a blazing fast connection. I had earlier proposed a solution of using an HTTP tunneller as a workaround, but the problem was two fold: 1) you were tunnelling through your proxy & this might have been in violation with the terms of use of your proxy, and 2) the connection speeds were terrible as they were now bottlenecked by the tunnelling server.

I then remembered that Privoxy is a local proxy server used to filter ads & web pages in general, & it could be used as a local proxy with the authentication added for the main proxy. However, while looking at the Privoxy page on wikipedia, I came across another program called Proxomitron (the developer has unfortunately passed away, but the program lives on) that does pretty much the same thing & is primarily GUI driven (Privoxy has quite a few config files with a frontend, but not as simple to use).

So, here’s a step by step guide to setup Proxomitron as a local proxy to take care of the proxy authentication problem faced by many programs:

1) Start Proxomitron and uncheck the filters (you could leave them checked if you want to use the filtering capabilities, but that adds an overhead to your system) & check the “Use remote proxy” option

proxomitron default

2) Click the “Proxy” button to configure your internet proxy server (format – <proxyname>:<port>) and right click on the text field to bring up the advanced proxy settings menu

 

proxomitron proxy settings

3) In the advanced proxy settings, enter your username & password for the authenticated proxy & you’re done with the setup

proxomitron proxy

4) Open the “Internet Options” in IE & put in localhost as your proxy & port number as 8080 (unless you’ve changed it)

LAN settings

That’s it and you should now be able to use the programs that make use of the IE proxy settings to connect to the internet. In case any program has its own proxy settings without an option for entering the proxy authentication, just use the same settings as in step 4 & it should work. In fact, you can also use this setup for your iPod Touch/iPhone – you’ll just have to replace the “localhost” address with the IP of your computer, and of course have them both on the same network – to make your net connected Apps work.

Installing Giveaway of the day & Game Giveaway of the day behind authenticated proxy

Giveaway of the day and Game giveaway of the day are pretty interesting sites wherein they give away a commercial software for free for a period of 24 hours, periodically. The software installers are encapsulated within the giveaway of the day software that connects to their servers to check the validity of the giveaway period. One of the limitations of this software is that it does not work behind authenticated proxies, i.e., proxies wherein you need to enter your userid/password to access the internet (quite common in education institutions).

It seems to use the “Internet Option” settings of Internet Explorer to detect the connection settings. So, the simplest way to use the software behind such a proxy is to use a HTTP tunnel client that creates another proxy layer with the userid/password settings already entered. HTTP-Tunnel Client is a useful software in this regard and can be used to serve the purpose (something I had used earlier to make the State software work behind an authenticated proxy). Just follow the instructions to configure the proxy in the software and change the settings in Internet Options.

HTTP-Tunnel

 Internet Options

Once this is done, the installer should run fine and connect to the server without any errors. It may fail the first time, in which case just try once more.

This is a pretty useful workaround and should work for other software that use the Internet Options connection settings, but do not support an authenticated proxy.