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I use usb data card to connect to internet and use firefox to access internet.

In Firefox -> Tools -> Options -> Advanced-> Network -> Connection -> Setting it says:

Configure how firefox connects to the internet

Configure proxies to access the internet:

  • no proxy

  • system proxy

  • auto-detect

  • manual proxy etc

I want to understand the workflow, when and at what step, is this proxy comes into picture and what are their roles.

In such my home setup, what should be this setting? What proxy I am using here? and What is this setting typically in office environment?

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migrated from serverfault.com Jul 9 '11 at 11:02

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Normally 'Proxy Settings' have to do more with your Privacy Concern with respect to the web/network service you are trying to access.

So, in case of you web-browser proxy settings... the entire HTTP Request/Response of your browser will go to Proxy Server specified and the actual web-service will interact with the Proxy Server. So, the Web Service wouldn't know that you are the end-user.

But, it has several security concerns if you are using a 3rd-party Proxy Service which might be infected or wish-fully logging your entire HTTP Traffic.

As far as FireFox's settings are concerned:

  • 'No Proxy': Here your system directly interacts to web-service provider

  • 'System Proxy': Here your system picks up the proxy setup at O.S. level; say if you are using Windows then the Proxy setup at IE gets acknowledged at System Level and Firefox can pick it up directly from their without any extra configurations (that's how Chrome & Safari does it).

  • 'Auto-detect': In case your network has already a Proxy Server set-up and announced over network, those settings will be picked up via O.S. help

  • 'Manual Proxy': if you have some new settings which are not provided in any of the above manner, those can explicitly configured using this option

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Another point worth adding here is that some proxy servers will cache the data. This can lead to increased speed on some types of connections if the proxy server is closer to the user than the web service server. Of course, it brings a set of problems with it too. The proxy will need to accurately detect changes of the main content and then update and so on. –  AndrejaKo Jul 9 '11 at 12:20

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