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Why Use a Proxy Server?
A lot of people remember the word "proxy" from their middle school or high school days. It was that magical thing that allowed you access MySpace or Facebook or whatever else the network had blocked, and until adults caught on, it was a sort of secret thing that kids had on them. Now, however, people have come to realize that proxy servers are useful for quite a bit more than just sneaking past blocked sites. In fact, they can speed up your internet connection, prevent people from stealing personal information, and keep your privacy secure.
The only downside to this is that most people only set up proxies on Windows-based computers, making it harder for us Mac users to stay up to date. Thankfully, you can set up a proxy from right within the software built into your Mac.
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Step 1) Open Proxy Settings
The first thing you want to do when setting up a Mac proxy server is to open up "System Preferences" and click on "Network". This will bring you to a list of networks and things, including the one you're connected to. Highlight the one you're connected to and click on the "Advanced" tab, followed by the "Proxies" tab. This will bring you to a page with some confusing information, but don't get discouraged: It's not as complicated as it looks.
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Step 2) Configure Your Proxy
On this menu, you'll see an option called "Configure Proxies", and either "Manually" or "Using a PAC File" will be selected from the drop down menu. Make sure that "Manually" is the one that's displayed.* Next, select the type of proxy you're using and enter the address and password on the right hand side. Some proxies do not need usernames/passwords. Make sure you know whether or not yours does before trying to enter such things.(Note: If you don't know what type of proxy server you're using, you'll need to download a proxy server client such as 'Squid' or 'NetShade'. That will not be covered in this article.)
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Some others things you can do with Mac's system preferences include adding some sites to a list where the proxy won't be required. That's located at the bottom of the page (see image above), where you can also select whether or not you want to be in passive mode.
If you have any trouble doing any of this, or you have questions about how to use programs like "NetShade" and "Squid", post a comment and I'll do my best to cover them in another article in the future.
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1. Information References:
2. Image Reference: All images are screenshots taken by the author.