Public Proxy Servers
Public proxy servers are a good thing, for three very
There aren't enough public proxy servers. Public proxy severs won't be
truely useful until there are lots of them. There are lots of private
because everybody recognises the value of proxys as
for outside traffic. My proposal is do-unto-others.
- First, they provide a way of distributing network traffic
real time, especially in response to the realtime "flash crowd"
What happens when Kasparov plays Deep blue, and 1 million people
all want to watch the match on the net? What happens when
releases a new browser, and every geek in creation needs a copy
The answer is::nothing, because the sites that are being hit
ourtageous numbers of requests effectively become inacessable to
Enter the proxy server: If everyone were using the proxy server of
choice, then instead of 1 million direct connections, IBM would have to
handle one thousand connections, and one thousand proxy servers would
a thousand customers each, and everyone would be happy
- Second, they provide a way around censors. Censors
ideological persuasions. Some want to censor sex, some politics, some
some entertainment, some cultural pollution. Some of these censors
to control the web by blocking "undesirable" sites. Proxy servers
a way to circumvent them.
- Third, (and best) every browser in existance is already
and the technology to provide them is already ubiquitous, because for
practical purpose, a proxy server is the same thing as a firewall, and
everyone agrees that firewalls to keep the bad guys out are a good
Isn't it nice that the same technology that keeps the bad guys out can
also keep the other bad guys from keeping the good guys (that's you) in?
Since I established this page, the most common feeback, by far,
been "help! my ISP is blocking all the proxies you list". The
seem to be politically motivated: Culprit #1 is the United Arab
which seems to have made it their mission to maintain an internet
which "protects" their population from undesirable influences.
to ensure complete protection, they have to block proxies which would
their blocking. Ideally, every web server would also be a
server, and would devote some percentage of its available
to servicing proxy requests; but that is not yet the case.
If you are being blocked, I recommend you think laterally
locate proxies that your censors do not know about. Easy to find
lists (like this one) are also easy for the censors to find, so they'll
be busily blocking sites as fast as I name them.
- Find your own: I recommend using search keys such as
common proxy port numbers such as "3128" and "8000".
- Web meeting services just happen to act as proxies,
allows you to set up a meeting.
- Proxy portals exist where you connect and send SSL
from, while they proxy the web access. Try www.safeweb.com
If you are being bloced from safeweb.com, try sending email to
for a fresh list of alternate portals.
- Grow your own: there are plenty of places that will
you a web
site with CGI access very cheap, in some cases for free. Add a
knowhow, a little freeware, and you've got your own private proxy
server. For example, there's CGI proxy which
can be dropped into any cgi-bin directory you own. Browse there,
then continue browsing by proxy. The most important thing
if you do grow your own proxy is to not tell anyone about it.
Obscurity is your best security.
- If there's a particular file or web page you really
already know what it is) try using services which remotely access web
for you, such as the Altavista
Related Good Ideas
Crowds is an idea from Michael
Avi Rubin at AT&T. The basic idea is to become anonymous by
a crowd, and to pass browsing requests to a random member of your
In effect, every member of the crowd runs a proxy server for the
of the eveyone else. Read all about it at the crowd wiki entry.
Crowds seems to have been replaced by a a second generation project
Lucent has a public technology
of a Personalized Web Assistant that
the basic concept of proxy with revocable per-site passwords,
and email addresses.
is a paid anonymous surfer, but offers a free (but delayed) anonymizer
The Work is not yet Done
- If you host mega-events, you should run a proxy service the
the time. Are you listening Netscape, Microsoft, AOL,
Running a proxy service will help get your message through when it's
and hot, and at lower cost than dedicating mega-resources to
- If someone would like to censor your web site, you should
service. Regard it as the price of getting your message
- Multiproxy.org has
a proxy you run locally and which switches among a list of known remote
proxies. The site also maintains a list of known
proxies. In general, there's a continuous battle
going on between censors and proxy servers, so any llist of specific
proxies rapidly becomes obsolete. So if you're working around a
censor, you've got to be agile, and no rely on published lists.