Internet users encounter various errors when they’re trying to access specific online resources. Common errors include redirects which prevent access to specific pages on the internet. However, some errors will actually prevent your computer from accessing the internet. This error usually displays “unable to connect to proxy server” and is common in browsers such as IE, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari. But what causes browsers to display this error and what are the remedial measures you can take.
Before going into details about causes of unable to connect to proxy server error and remedial measures, it’s appropriate that we understand what proxy servers are and how they’re used to access the internet.
Ways to access the internet and proxy servers
When accessing the internet, you can do so in two ways. First, you can access a web server directly. Secondly, you can access the web server via a proxy server.
Accessing web servers directly means that anyone is able to see your IP address. This makes your computer more vulnerable to hackers and viruses. Directly accessing web servers also slows down the process of sending and receiving requests since every request needs to be sent and processed by the server.
A proxy server is simply a computer that acts as a hub between your computer and other computers on the internet. Rather than communicate directly with the web server, your computer will communicate with the proxy which in turn communicates with the server. The proxy also acts as a cache meaning getting files and information already stored in it will be faster compared to getting information from the main web server that stores the information.
Connecting to a web server via a proxy server has several benefits. These include providing some anonymity where the web server will see the proxy’s IP address and not yours. Another advantage is that you will be able to access online services faster and, proxies also offer some level of protection such as scanning files before forwarding them to your computer.
From this explanation, it’s evident that the unable to connect to proxy server will only display on computers that are accessing the internet via a proxy. In most cases, computer users that get this error have actually set their devices to access the internet via proxy. However, there are instances where the computer user hasn’t set their device to access the internet via proxy. The following are examples of these scenarios and the possible remedial measures to take.
Unable to connect to proxy server error on computer set to use proxy
If you’ve set your computer to access the internet through a proxy server and get this error these are possible reasons.
First, your proxy server might be down. As mentioned, proxy servers are computers that act as intermediaries between your computer and the web server you want to access. The proxy server is probably acting as proxy for hundreds if not thousands of computers at once. If it receives too many requests from many computers at once, it’s likely to be overwhelmed and crash. Contacting your ISP (owner of proxy server) is an easy way to know if the problem lies with the server or at your computer.
Another possible reason why you’re finding it difficult accessing the internet via proxy might lie in the browser you’re using. Some browsers will work with proxy servers better than others. Try using another browser to see if the problem persists.
Unable to connect to the proxy server on computer not set to use proxy
The main reason why you might get this error when you’ve not set your computer to use a proxy server is an attack by malicious software which changes the system proxy settings. In such instances, you’ll need to restore the systems proxy settings and this might require making changes to your computer’s registry.
An easier option is to go to your browser’s network settings and unchecking the “use proxy” settings. In Mozilla Firefox, clicking on the “no proxy” button will work.
In addition to this, run a malware scan on your system to detect and remove any malicious code that might have caused the change to the systems proxy settings. Note that removing the malware doesn’t mean that the changes made to the system proxy settings will be resolved.