If you work a lot with proxy servers you have probably noticed that they are not the most reliable usually. While it is possible to pay for private proxy servers many users do not want to go that far for that extra bit of anonymity or access to country specific contents on the Internet.
There are two main issues that you will identify eventually. It first takes time to compile a list of proxies and it second requires regular validation of those servers to make sure that they can be used for regular Internet surfing and other activities.
The freeware ST Proxy Switcher resolves both of those issues. The program ships without any proxy servers but with the functionality to download proxies after startup from the Internet. Proxy servers are divided into categories like HTTP Anonymous, Socks 5 or HTTP High Anonymous. Downloads seem to be limited to 20 proxies and you may find multiple lists under some categories that you need to download separately.
The program suggests to download a country IP database from the Internet to identify the region or country a proxy is hosted in during checks. You can verify all downloaded proxy servers with a click on the check proxy button in the main program interface. This performs a variety of lookups inlcuding the server's response time, region, status and proxy type. One of the issues that I have with the display here is that the program does not list if a proxy is anonymous or not, and it does not appear if a test for anonymity (aka IP spilling) is run during checks. It is therefor a good idea to test your IP before you start other Internet activities. You can lookup your IP here on Ghacks.
You can activate a proxy from the list with a simple click and it will automatically be used in all compatible programs. This includes Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari but not the Firefox web browser (at least not the Aurora version). There are no configuration options to select specific programs that you want to use the proxy server with which may be a issue for some users.
The program supports adding and verifying custom proxy server lists. If you have a list you can import it into the proxy switcher application to use it semi-automatically there.
Another nice to have but missing feature is automatic proxy rotation. Windows users can download ST-ProxySwitcher from the ST ProxySwitcher homepage.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.