Configuring Internet Explorer to Use a Proxy Server

The use of proxy servers have been around almost as long as the Internet itself. The premise behind using a proxy server is that they will allow your computer to communicate with other computers on the Internet by proxy without identifying your personal computer to them.

In simple terms, your computer will connect directly to the proxy server and then the proxy server will communicate with the Internet as if it was your own computer. The Internet will see your activity as if it originated on the proxy server and your personal computer will be shielded from identification.

There are many reasons to use proxy servers, some of them are nefarious, but most of them are innocent.

To configure Internet Explorer 8 to use a proxy server, follow along with these simple steps:

  1. Open Internet Explorer 8 and click on the ‘Tools’ menu.
  2. Click on the ‘Internet Options’ menu item to bring up the Internet Options configuration screen.
  3. Click on the ‘Connections’ tab at the top of the Internet Options configuration screen.
  4. Under the ‘Local Area Network (LAN) settings’ heading, click the ‘LAN settings’ button to bring up the Local Arena Network (LAN) settings screen.
  5. Since we are manually configuring our proxy server we want to disable automatic configuration. Uncheck the check box that says ‘Automatically detect settings’ under the ‘Automatic Configuration’ heading.
  6. Check the box that says ‘Use a proxy server for your LAN.’
  7. In the ‘Address:’ text box is where you will enter the address of your proxy server. This will usually be in the form of a DNS hostname such as proxy.example.com but it also may be in the form of an IP address such as 127.0.0.1.
  8. Enter the proxy server port in the ‘Port:’ box. Port 80 is the standard port for browsing the web, but some proxy servers specify a custom port — such as 8080 — to bypass corporate firewalls.
  9. Click the ‘OK’ button to close the Local Arena Network (LAN) Settings screen.
  10. Click the ‘OK’ button to close the Internet Options configuration screen.
  11. Open a website such as http://www.google.com/ and attempt to browse the Internet. Depending on how your proxy server was set up it may ask for a username and password to access the proxy server which you should have been provided when you received the proxy server.

If you receive an error that Internet Explorer cannot display the page that may mean that you typed the hostname or IP address in incorrectly or the proxy server is not currently accepting your connection request.