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I'm curious if there is any open source proxy-server-like software out there that I can use to accelerate web surfing. Amazon's Silk browser/platform for the Kindle, and Opera Mini do this for mobile clients; I'm mostly thinking about setting this up for laptop / desktop clients, so I'm not so interested in having a server render a webpage.

My setup is this: I have a few clients (my computers), on a high-latency internet connection. I have access to a relatively private server, which has an extremely fast internet connection.

Would setting up a proxy server on the server [machine] actually help connection speeds? I imagine things like Silk and Opera Mini compress data (don't send the same thing twice), and reduce the # of HTTP requests (for images, etc.). Would something like squid actually have the same effect? It seems to be targeted at the slow-website-server scenario.

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3 Answers

In both cases of Amazon Silk and Opera mini the proxy server sites on the other end of the link. They also do a lot more then a standard HTTP proxy. For example they gzip compression on almost everything, they minify javascript/css, and decresae the quality of images, and other things that actually transform the content before it is delivered to your network/device.

If you running a proxy server on your own network which is behind the slow/high latency link, then you will not get the same levels of performance gains that Opera mini and Silk get.

You may get some benefit running a local proxy, but not the more dramatic improvements.

Most proxy servers like Squid will not be configured to perform all the extreme optimizations like what Amazon/Opera does. But if you check the FAQ and read the docs, I think you can do most of it, but I am not aware of any out-of-the-box setup or howto that replicates the optimization features that Opera/Amazon perform. Even if you got Squid to do everything that Amazon/Opera does, it would still be on the wrong end of your slow link to get all of the improvements.

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Right. The Silk architecture is basically a split browser: half of it is in the sky. Not the same thing as an HTTP proxy at all. –  ckhan May 3 '12 at 7:34
    
@ckhan, of course anyone could rent a VPS and setup Squid in the cloud and tweak/hack the config a lot and duplicate some of the Silk functionality. The important piece is that the optimization has to be done before the is sent over the slow link. –  Zoredache May 3 '12 at 7:38
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You can use Polipo as a caching web proxy or just use Opera with Off-Road mode or Google Chrome with Data Compression Proxy.

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Squid is a very popular open source proxy server. It does the things you refer to but it also has option to e.g. block ads which further reduce the amount of data you need to download and so speed up your browsing.

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While squid is a fine proxy, Opera Mini and Amazon silk have functionality that Squid doesn't provide out of the box. Squid is also wouldn't be in the correct location to do any of the really neat stuff. –  Zoredache May 3 '12 at 7:34
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