In our day and age, it is becoming increasingly important to have access to any online resources that you need, at any time. This is not always convenient or even possible at all — take such example as using a network with overly restrictive firewall. What will help you be 100% sure you can access any website is setting up your own proxy. Not to mention proxy will hide your IP and let you access geo-blocked websites.
In this article, we will walk together all the way from renting our own server to configuring proxy on a mobile device or in a browser.
Renting your own server
For starters, we'll need to rent a server. You can choose any web hosting service you prefer, I will be using Vultr as an example.
I emphasize that I don't try to advertise or distinguish this service, it was only chosen as an example. Among other possible solutions are HostGator, 1&1, Cloudways, Bytemark, Digital Ocean and many, many more.
Alright, let's get to it. I start by opening vultr.com and signing up there ("Create Account" button in the top right corner).
If you did the same, you'll receive an email with a link to confirm your registration. Once you do it and log in, you'll be asked to choose a payment method. I selected Credit card, but you are free to use any other, obviously.
Important — if you are choosing credit card as your payment method, tick the "I just want to link my credit card" checkbox, otherwise, you will be charged immediately.
After you've linked your card, click on the "Servers" tab on the left, and then choose "Deploy New Server" (a button with a "plus" symbol).
Ok, time to make a decision where our new server will be located. I've chosen one in Amsterdam, you can (and probably should, unless you have a specific reason) choose something relatively close to your geographical location.
In the "Server type" tab select Debian 9 (x64) — this is very important!
The third step is to select the server size, it depends solely on your needs and your budget. Most users will find 1 TB for $5/mo or 500 GB for $2.5/mo sufficient.
At steps 5 and 6 there's no need to change anything. At step 7 choose a hostname and a label for your server, any will do.
Aaaaand done! Smash the Deploy Now button to finish the process. You'll get another email to confirm that the server has been deployed — you'll need it later.
Installing PuTTY (for Windows users)
Now we have to install and set up a proxy on our freshly acquired server. Windows users can use the PuTTY tool, which can be downloaded here. Click on the .msi build under the "MSI (Windows Installer)" section. Mind if your OS is 32-bit or 64-bit when downloading the installer (if you are not sure, this article will help you determine it).
Open the .msi file and install PuTTY by following the wizard's instructions, and then run the tool.
This is what you'll be faced with — don't get scared at the number of tabs and settings there, we'll basically only need one. Open the very first tab (Session) and enter the IP address you got in that confirmation email from Vultr.
Done? Then click the "Open" button located at the bottom. You'll see the console asking you to enter login and password (during the first launch there will be a warning pop-up — don't worry, it's fine, just press OK).
This data can be found in the Overview tab of your Vultr servers screen. The username will be root by default, and the password, of course, randomized (you can change it while you are at it). Ok, you've successfully entered login and password, which takes us to the next step — installing a proxy.
Setting up and configuring a proxy
For this purpose, we will use a special script by AdGuard that will perform all required actions. If everything has been going well so far, you should be seeing PuTTY console on your screen.
Subsequently execute the following commands in there (press Enter after each command):
The console should look somewhat like this:
apt-get install curl -y
This is what you'll be seeing after executing this command:
bash <(curl -s "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/AdguardTeam/ProxiesSetup/master/setup.sh")
At the 3rd step, the script will ask you for a username/password pair for your future proxy. You are free to choose any, but make sure to remember them, or even write them down. What it will look like:
In the console, you will see the IP address of your proxy, HTTP port, SOCKS5 port, username and password. This information has to be entered whenever you want to configure your device/browser to use this proxy. Let's now have a look at a couple of specific examples.
Very important! SOCKS5 is not ideal in terms of security. Try not to use SOCKS5 proxy in public and unprotected networks. In one of the next articles, we'll tell about more secure solutions like Shadowsocks.
Configuring proxy in AdGuard for Android
There's no trickery here, we will be configuring our SOCKS5 proxy (since we need the authorization) just like we would configure any other proxy. Open the side menu of AdGuard app, go to "Settings - Proxy settings".
Don't forget to toggle the main switch in the top right corner on, then tap the "Add proxy" button.
Fill out all the fields using data from PuTTY console. You can enter anything under "Proxy name". Also, enable the "Default proxy" option if you plan to mainly use this proxy.
Excellent! Tap Save, now all traffic filtered by AdGuard will be routed through your proxy. And by the way, you can still disable AdGuard filtering for any app(s) via "Apps management", it will prevent its traffic from being routed through the proxy.
There's one trick that will allow you to instantly switch between enabling and disabling the proxy — you can add a specific tile to the quick access panel. Note there's a new notification in the notification bar, telling that your traffic is routed through the proxy server. Tapping on it will also take you to the "Proxy settings" screen in AdGuard.
Configuring proxy in Chrome/Firefox browsers
For this purpose, we advise using the SwitchyOmega browser extension. I use Chrome, so I'll be downloading it from the Chrome Store, Firefox users will find it among Firefox add-ons. Its unique trait is that it allows you to set up a proxy to be used on specific domains only, or, vice versa, to exclude specific domains.
Configuring SwitchyOmega is very simple. Add a new profile ("+New profile") in the Profiles tab on the left. We need to choose HTTP protocol, since SOCKS5 does not support authorization here. Again, fill out the fields according to previously received information. Remember to apply changes by clicking the button on the left!
To make your browser use this proxy by default, in the "Auto switch" tab select the freshly added proxy in the Default drop-down menu.
In case you want your proxy to be used for specific websites or IP addresses only, set up respective switch rules. A tooltip will help you with the syntax.
And here's one small "lifehack" (please don't kill me for using this word): on any page you can quickly access proxy settings by clicking the SwitchyOmega extension icon. Manage proxy in respect to the current website, or change global proxy settings — everything is within a couple of clicks.
Color indicator also helps determining if the proxy is being used currently or not.
We've done it! If everything went according to plan, you should have your own server with a working proxy installed there, and respective settings on your phone/browser. Not so bad for 10 minutes spent on reading this article :)
Should you encounter any difficulties along the way, or if you just have any questions — let me know in the comments, and I (or some other team member) will help you get through! Good luck!