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View Full Version : Privoxy: a Windows proxy server

2004-12-30, 13:08
EFF has a program out called Tor (http://tor.eff.org/). It creates a network of p2p proxies so that the IP addresses of internet users can not be pinpointed when they surf websites. The Tor program does not work by itself, and also requires the download and installation of Privoxy (http://www.privoxy.org). Privoxy is a proxy server that works with Windows. In order to get Tor and Privoxy working, you need to forward TCP ports 9050 and 8118 through your router. The instructions for Windows users can be found here (http://tor.eff.org/cvs/tor/doc/tor-doc-win32.html). I didn't use the Tor program, but instead I experimented with Privoxy by itself. Privoxy by itself only requires port 8118, by default.

The settings for Privoxy are controlled in a file called config.txt. You can edit the configuration in Notepad and save your changes. The config.txt that comes with the program is a combination of notes explaining each configuration line, along with the actual configuration variables. All of the notes have a #pound# next to them while most of the configuration variables do not.

In order to set up Privoxy as a proxy server for any WAN or LAN address, you have to edit three things in the config.txt. Here I will list first the default values, and then the changes you need to make in yellow.
listen-address :8118
enable-remote-toggle 1
enable-remote-toggle 0
enable-edit-actions 1
enable-edit-actions 0

The first change in the listen-address variable will get everything working, and the last two changes in the enable-remote-toggle and enable-edit-actions variables are recommended for security purposes. As you can see one can change the default port of 8118 to whatever port one chooses to use, and that has to match whatever TCP port is forwarded through the router.

After I save the changes in config.txt, I restart the program by closing it and then opening it again. Note that Privoxy will not listen on a port address that is being listened on by any other program, so you have to give it an exclusive TCP port that is not being used by anything else. If you try to start Privoxy while another version of it is already running, you will get an error message that port 8118 is already in use.

When you start up the program the console will display four lines: that it's loading the config.txt, the version of the program, the program's path on your hard drive, and what it is listening on. If everything is set up right you will get no errors from loading config.txt, and finally it will tell you that it is "Listening on port 8118 on all addresses".

The console window displays what sites and links are visited through your proxy. However, it does not display the IP addresses of people connecting to your computer using your proxy. There is also a log file in the program's directory known as privoxy.log, which is a log file of all the sites visited and everything else displayed in the console window, in all sessions of the program that have occurred. That file could grow through time if you run the program a lot, and should be deleted occasionally.

If you want to test my Privoxy server you can change your browser settings to instead of directly connecting to the internet, to use a proxy server.
Tools-->Options-->General-->Connection Settings-->Manual proxy configuration *check* Use the same proxy for all protocols
HTTP Proxy: eclectica.dns2go.com Port: 8118
Internet Explorer
Tools-->Internet Options-->Connections-->LAN Settings--> *check* Use a proxy server for your LAN
Address: eclectica.dns2go.com Port: 8118

Those of you who are not too savvy may want to use your irregular browser for doing this in case you accidentally screw something up and get locked out of the internet by tinkering with the wrong settings. Don't forget to turn it all back to the old settings when you're done experimenting. I'll leave the server running for a few days for those of you interested, but it's not something I would want to run permanently. You can check to see at http://www.p2pjihad.org/ your IP address. Once you connect through the proxy server you should instead see my IP address, which currently starts with 67.101. By refreshing the page once connected, you will be able to verify that everything is working properly.