Having one or multiple proxy servers at hand can be quite useful on the Internet these days. Even though the Internet itself is globally accessible from virtually any location, you will run into restrictions eventually. This can be websites that only allow users of a certain geographic region to access their contents, countries that block their citizens from accessing certain sites, or organizations that block access to sites and services in the work environment.
Proxy servers can be a viable option to get around those restrictions, especially if the restrictions are imposed by a website or service, or the country you are living in. But proxies can do more than bypassing restrictions. Some allow you to hide your own IP, which can be quite useful if you do not want a site or service record your actual IP address. While you won't get 100% anonymity this way, it is something to consider.
Info: Proxies basically sit between your Internet connection and the Internet, so that the Internet sites and services communicate with the proxy directly, and not your computer. This also highlights one of the dangers of using a proxy that you do know nothing about. Since all of your computer's traffic is routed through that proxy, it is theoretically possible to capture it and misuse the information.
X-Proxy is a free .net application for the Microsoft Windows operating system that improves the proxy management on the PC. It offers several advantages over browser specific proxy tools, including the ability to set proxy servers for multiple web browsers on the system. It is in this regard similar to the previously reviewed Proxy Switcher application.
You download a small web installer from the developer site, which downloads the actual application. One thing that you may not like is that it automatically verifies the installation every time you start the program.
When you start it up, you see the following interface.
A click on proxy list displays the current proxy list. The program retrieves dozens of proxy servers automatically and displays them in the program interface. Proxies are listed by IP and hostname, the country the proxy server is located in, the ping, speed, and whether it is anonymous.
You can now connect to a server with a double-click on a select proxy. It makes sense to look at the countries first, and then pick the proxy with a good ping and speed rating. The program displays whether the connection was successful or not. You can check that as well by opening the Ghacks IP Lookup tool in your browser which displays the IP address you are currently using in your browser of choice.
When it comes to browsers, X-Proxy supports Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer. A click on restore the real IP disables the proxy server again on the system.
A click on Settings in the program window lets you change the program interface language (Spanish and Portuguese are available besides English), or refresh the proxy list which updates it by querying an Internet server.
The program itself is pretty easy to use. Since it makes available a list of proxy servers automatically, there is not a lot to do for the user in terms of verification. It basically comes down to selecting one of the available proxy servers, and making sure that it does not spill your IP address. All it takes for this are a few clicks with the mouse.
X-Proxy requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 to be installed on the system. (via Dottech)
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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.