Tag Archives: IP address

How to Install the Green Address Bar

With previous articles we explored the certification behind the website to get your website that trusted green web address bar. Whilst some people take some convincing to install this security certification onto their website, I think it actually improves your brand image to see a trusted green address bar.

EV SSL Certificates are Worth their Wait


EV SSL Certificates are Worth their Wait | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it
From sslprotocolinfo.wordpress.com – Yesterday

Customers are learning the importance of web security and validation in e-Commerce SSL Certificates go beyond encryption technology for businesses that participate in e-commerce…

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

Because of the more stringent requirement, it is impossible to issue these certificates in minutes (as can be done for just a Domain Validation Certificate), but with an EV SSL Certificate a business gets the green address bar. This article goes on to describe how the stringent validation process is put in place, in order to provide the user a guarantee of genuine service and business identity.

How to Choose the Right and Best SSL Certificate Provider – 10 Easy Tips from TheSSLStore™


How to Choose the Right and Best SSL Certificate Provider - 10 Easy Tips from TheSSLStore™ | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it
From edusslblog.wordpress.com – 1 week ago

With the number of online scams and frauds multiplying day by day, the need for SSL certificates to validate the credibility of a website is on rise. And most of the eBusiness owners are well aware…

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

A quality SSL certificate with the strongest encryption technology to build trust, boost confidence and increase conversions does not come at the cheapest price. As with taking the care to choose your webhost, TheSSLStore go into an indepth checklist of why “Googling” and trusting the relevent search to “best” and “cheap” SSL certificates should always come with further diligence.

 

Install an SSL Certificate on a Domain


Install an SSL Certificate on a Domain | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From docs.cpanel.net

You can use the Install an SSL Certificate on a Domain feature to install a certificate on your domain. Before you can use this feature, you must have a certificate already created or purchased, and an activation key…

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

There are 3 ways to install a certificate on a domain:

  • You can use the Browse Certificates button to retrieve information,
  • You can enter the domain and have the interface fill in the fields automatically,
  • Or you can choose an IP address and have the interface fill in

Here is cPanel’s step by step documentation to help you install your SSL certification through your Web Hosting Management Panel.

– Juliana

An Introduction to Different IP Classes

With the explosive launch of the world’s mobile networks we were facing the prospect of imminent IP address exhaustion. Yes there were only so many IP addresses created and allocated to hosts, and Internet service providers. The long term solution to  address IP address depletion became a serious concern. What was needed was an IP address architecture that could span not just billions of connected devices but hundreds of billions of devices or more. Out of this effort came version 6 of the Internet Protocol, or IPv6.

A Primer on IPv4, IPv6 and Transition

A Primer on IPv4, IPv6 and Transition | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From www.circleid.com – 3 weeks ago

There is something badly broken in today’s Internet. At first blush that may sound like a contradiction in terms. After all, the Internet is a modern day technical marvel.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

I need a few days to absorb the information in this article. It’s extensive, not so much a primer, but a very in-depth article about the way the internet stands to date in terms of size and transition to the new IPv6.

How and Why All Devices in Your Home Share One IP Address


Tech Go Simple: How and Why All Devices in Your Home Share One IP Address | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From Tech go simple – Today
If you’re like most people, your Internet service provider hands you a single Internet Protocol address and your router shares it amongst all the connected devices in your home. This actually violates the end-to-end principle, which the Internet was designed around. However, there are only so many IP addresses to go around – we’re running out.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

There are less than 4.2 billion available IPv4 IP addresses. In other words, there are more people owning connected devices on the planet than there are unique, public IP addresses for the devices, let alone the fact that many people will own more than one device. The Internet is running out of IPv4 addresses, even though we’re rationing them. The only way we can have so many devices connected to the internet is to do with something called NAT.

In the following article, using a bit of technical ingenuity a sysadmin demonstrates how he can use his android phone as a connection to the internet for several devices routed through his Linux laptop.

Setting up NAT and MASQUERADE for sharing USB Tether connection over LAN


Setting up NAT and MASQUERADE for sharing USB Tether connection over LAN | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From tuxdna.wordpress.com – Yesterday

I the only source of Internet connection I have currently is my phone. I wanted to share this network with other systems, via a LAN/wireless router. So here is a basic setup: Android Phone with USB…

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

The Laptop, becomes a default gateway for rest of the machines connected to the router – his phone. Given the recent Syrian internet cut off ingenius skills like these may come in handy for those with difficult internet connections. Let me know if you’ve also tried using your phone as a hotspot for the internet. – Juliana

 

How an IP Address Works

Often hear the Acronym IP address thrown around? SEO people seem to use it (Search Engine Optimization) as though it’s a numeric stealth ID number to track you down. Well, it’s kinda like that. Here’s a few very recent, and very good takeaways on what an IP address is, and more importantly, how it affects you, or how you can use it to your advantage.

How Public WAN IP works

 
How Public WAN IP works | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From wirelessvictory.wordpress.com – 1 week ago

When you are connected to the Internet, you actually have two different IP addresses, a private LAN IP and a public WAN IP. In most home network applications the router connects your local group of devices…

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

The router usually assigns unique local IP addresses to all of the devices connected to it via a service known as DHCP. The addresses assigned by your router are private addresses and are not routable across the Internet. Whilst you may be confused or sick of reading yet more acronyms, this article by Wireless Victory is an important foundation of definitions in today’s consumption of all things wireless. Most people probably don’t even realize they have a LAN (Local area network) at home connected by their Wireless Router.  It’s likely that all your family phones are connected as devices, including your iPad, your Digital television, your Wireless Printer, and your Blu-Ray, or Set-top-box digital receiver…

Here’s how to take control of your privacy:

How to Change Your Router’s IP Address | Wireless Home Networking

 
How to Change Your Router’s IP Address | Wireless Home Networking | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From blog.laptopmag.com – 1 week ago

By changing your router’s IP address you can give your home network an added layer of Wi-Fi security.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

You’ll want to change one or both of the last two numbers of the IP address in the LAN IP Address field. You can use any integer between 1 and 254, giving you 64,516 possible IP combinations and making it much more difficult for someone to guess your router’s IP address. Why is this important? Well you’ve often heard people hijacking your bandwidth from your ISP, or grabbing cookies that store your login information. By changing your router’s IP address from something that was allocated or generated, you’ve increased the hassle for someone to break through.

 

SafeIP Hides Your IP Address for Private Browsing, Blocked Media

 
SafeIP Hides Your IP Address for Private Browsing, Blocked Media | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From lifehacker.com – 7 hours ago

Windows: If you want access to streaming media restricted by your location, web sites that display differently depending on where you are, or just a little privacy, SafeIP can help.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

SafeIP has IP addresses in ten locations, including multiple servers in the US and the UK, and a handful of locations in places like Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Canada, Austria, Poland, Italy, Germany, and France. Conversely where your IP address identifies your location, you may want to piggyback on a proxy server to cloak your location. Now this is not as nefarious as it sounds. Quite often if you are travelling and this will alert your banking logins to multiple locations, you might want to reduce chances of lockout by setting up expected default proxy locations for you to check in from.

Now, every device has an IP address, it so that we can have end points for sending data when we trigger requests. Your website has an IP address, because it’s located on one server. Your phones, and laptops will have a different class of IP address also.

I hope this collection of recent articles helped you tackle your understanding of IP addresses, let me know if you have more questions you want followed up on in the comments below. – Juliana

 

 

IP Backbone, Server Location, Distance Delay, and Romancing Your Hardware

 

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

You’ll note that on the front-page of the Superb.net site, we mention our “coast-to-coast IP backbone.” We mention this prominently because we know how crucial IP location can be to the success of the websites using our services. Let’s look at why.

IP addresses identify a machine accessing the Internet. For an end-user, it is associated with the device with which the person (well, or bot, such as Google’s crawlers) is accessing your site. It can refer to a PC, for instance, or a router for a network, or even a mobile device. In hosting, it refers to the server that is delivering the data, that is answering the request from a user and responding with the page and/or content the person is trying to access.

This article will gather and distill information on IP addresses (or Internet Protocol addresses) so we can better understand how they relate to hosting and the Web generally. Having a strong IP presence can be crucial to delivering the Web quickly and efficiently to anyone visiting your site – and to accessing the network yourself for administration, internal usage, and interaction with your clients.

Specifically, the physical location of a server can cause distance delay, latency related to how long it is taking for the request to be received, processed by the server, and fulfilled to the end-user. Minimizing distance delay, means choosing a host that has servers near your primary clientele. Search engine optimization can also be affected because Google takes into account the location of an IP address in SEO rankings.

For this article, I referenced pieces from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Web SEO Analytics, Binary Turf, Service Assurance Daily, and About.com.

How to keep your server happy #1: Never just think of your server as “my server.” Call it by name – by its IP address (or its host name, but that seems unnecessarily complicated). The server has a unique identity, and it wants you to treat it that way. An unhappy server is a server that feels anonymous, like it could be any server. Never forget your server’s IP or, for that matter, your anniversaries with the server. Bring it out to dinner. Treat it right. Put stickers on it that say “#1” and “Champion” and “I Love You.”

IP Addresses & Host Names

There are two basic ways to refer to any server: IP address and host name.

  • What’s an IP? It’s a series of numbers divided into four sections by dots (that’s periods, for those of you who haven’t been exposed to the hip new web lingo). The first section or first two sections of numbers designate(s) the network of the device. For example, one of Google’s IP addresses is 74.125.224.72.
  • What’s a host name? Thanks for asking. Instead of numbers, a host name is the name of the device, followed by your domain name. So perhaps you have a server called worldsbestserver.schoolofhardknocks.edu.

The Domain Name Service (DNS) turns host names into IP addresses and IP addresses into host names. For instance, when you request a certain URL, it switches the URL to the IP so it knows what server to access to fulfill your data request.

You may be able to pull up Google, with the IP mentioned above, directly by going to http://74.125.224.72/ (skipping the DNS server and going straight to the server itself), but that will only work for certain locations, based on the location of your IP address. Entering an IP to access a page can work because the IP and the URL are essentially one and the same: they both refer to a machine on which data is originating and being received from other web-connected devices.

How to keep your server happy #2: Tell your server that you want to grow old with it. Tell it you’ll never perform brain surgery on it to improve its performance. Your server wants you to know that it has feelings, just like people do. If your server looks bored, give it something to do. It doesn’t matter what the task is. Your server just wants to process data all day and all night. It also likes to knit and to hear Kenny Chesney blasted through the speakers of a boom-box you bought at a yard sale.

Specifics on the IP Address

All devices that can connect to the web – cell phones, computers, tablets, servers, whatever – have an IP address. This address is made up of four numbers separated by dots, as stated above. Each of those numbers ranges from 0 to 255.

Let’s look at specifics for MIT as described in that article. One of the servers at MIT is 18.72.0.3. Either the first two parts or the first part of the IP can refer to the network, as discussed above. In the case of MIT, it’s just the first part. The 18, then, signifies the MIT network. The rest of the IP address points to a specific computer or server within the MIT network. It’s similar, in a way, to subdomains of sites (don’t think about that too much – just talking about the main part and sectioning part here, folks).

You might notice that these numbers range from 0 to 255 – which at first seems kind of arbitrary. Actually, though, 256 (the possible number of options including the zero) is 8 cubed. The IP system, then, is compiled of four 8-bit binary numbers (each of them referred to as an octet). The entirety is a 32-bit binary number.

How to keep your server happy #3: Your server does not enjoy it when you surround yourself with other servers. This makes the server extremely jealous. If you must use other servers for your business, sit down with your server beforehand and explain to it the principles of change and growth and how important they are to success. Your server may complain, but it will understand – because above all, it loves and supports you.

Server Location & SEO

People often make the mistake of thinking that the virtual environment of the Internet is cleanly separated from physical reality: sure, servers populate all the information, but as long as the servers are functional and fast, everything else is in the content. This, however, is not the case. Google and Bing both use geographical location of the device answering requests for your site (your server) to determine your rankings.

The location of the server is especially important if your TLD does not designate your country/region and if you do not activate Geographic Targeting within your Google Webmaster account. Example TLDs that do not specify location are .com and .net.

Web SEO Analytics mentions their extraordinarily high SEO presence for Romania-related searches and generally for searches conducted from Romanian IP addresses. This presence is exemplary of the power of where a server is positioned on the globe, because that’s the nation where the WSA servers are located.

How to keep your server happy #3: Never give it a bath. Baths are terrible for servers. They hate water. Plus, if you threaten to give your server a bath, it will cry. Servers hate crying more than anything else, with the notable exception of sneezing.

Location & Faster Page Loads

You are probably aware that latency – defined as delay within a system, in this case the Internet – is a major factor in keeping your audience happy. You may also be aware that latency or page load times affect your SEO as well. Latency will be affected by where your servers are located – so this aspect of performance represents not just speed, but a secondary impact on your SEO rankings.

The importance of an IP backbone that is closely integrated with your clients’ locations is that you can answer requests quickly because you’re nearby. The difference between load times throughout a single home country will be minimal and for the most part unnoticeable. However, if servers are located on the other side of the Earth, you can quickly run into latency issues.

Why does latency matter, again? Well, really it’s because of UX. Google and Bing will thank sites that quickly load pages for visitors because it represents a better user experience, a better effort to quickly dispense information to those requesting it. Plus, UX relates directly to customer satisfaction. If your latency is high, customers will become discouraged and go elsewhere.

How to keep your server happy #4: Take it on a vacation. Many owners and leasers of servers never consider taking the server out to a place it’s never been before. There’s nothing like running your fingers through your server’s hair on a beach in the Virgin Isles. Ah, can’t you smell that salt air now? Your server enjoys wearing tight-fitting sunbathing outfits but does not like to scuba dive or snorkel. Go underwater yourself, and tell it what you saw. Oh, and no sunscreen for your server, except on its nose.

Types of Latency

Latency is a complex topic. There are actually a number of different factors that will slow down the flow of information on the web. Latency on a network is broken up into the following five components:

  • Distance delay
  • Serialization delay
  • Queue delay
  • Forwarding delay
  • Protocol delay

As you can see, there are many aspects of the web that can impede your ability to quickly deliver quality content and information to your visitors. Location of your servers is a simple way to improve the latency and keep your customers’ UX as fast and relaxing as possible. It is probably obvious that distance delay is the form of latency we can address with geographical location.

Distance delay, according to Service Assurance Daily, is the delay caused by the distance between the two machines that are communicating on the web (typically the user device and your server). This type of latency can majorly impact the performance of applications that have to interact numerous times with your server, each time creating hindrances to your network’s ability to interact quickly and smoothly with all users.

How to keep your server happy #5: Give it everything it ever requests. Many servers are needy. You have two possible responses to server neediness: give it everything it asks for, or complain and debate with it to determine if what it’s requesting is really required. Trust me: it’s easier to just give the server everything you own. It’s more efficient that way, and the last thing you want is a vindictive court battle with a machine.

Summary & Conclusion

Server location is simple really, which is why it’s not hard for Superb Internet to know we need an IP backbone: the backbone both makes it easy for you to access us and for your customers to access your site. Remember, your SEO from server location is one thing. Latency, though, in the form of distance delay, will also affect SEO and can greatly enhance all users’ experiences on your site. Plus, you yourself will experience decreased latency if your servers are nearby.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

When to Use Shared Web Hosting vs. Acoustic Web Hosting

 

Shared hosting is a service you will see offered by virtually every hosting provider. Sharing is not always a bad idea – in fact, it’s more widely used than any other type of hosting. Part of the reason shared hosting is so popular is that it’s highly affordable. In this article, I’ll explore shared hosting in detail to help get a sense of when shared hosting does and doesn’t make sense so you can decide whether it’s the best option for your business.

Note that sharing hosting is not like sharing an intimate moment with an attractive individual you just met in a nightclub. No bodily fluids are exchanged. However, you may be more likely to catch a virus. Then again, if you don’t share, your website will be stuck inside its own server – lonely, detached, and incapable of socializing with websites its own age. Its growth will be stunted. It will make grunting noises and move in a slouching shuffle across the Information superhighway.

Shared Hosting – Basic Definition

For your site to populate on the Web, all of the information within it must exist on a server. Whenever someone visits your site, the URL they type into their address bar converts (via a DNS server) into the IP address of your server, which is then sent a request for data. To fulfill the request, your server sends out the files and pages which make up your site (with additional ones as they access internal pages).

Different types of hosting store your site information and files in different ways. You can have your own dedicated server on location at your home or business. Many businesses, though, choose to have professionals handle the hosting hardware and maintenance in a data center. One option is colocation, which means you buy your own server and house it at the data center for servicing, security, and general oversight. However, to mitigate cost, clients typically rent space on a server – on their own (dedicated hosting) or on one that also hosts other sites (shared hosting).

Shared hosting allows you access to your site’s account on a server that also contains other businesses’ personal data and files. You are granted a certain amount of bandwidth and storage room, along with access to a certain set of tools depending on which type of account you choose.

Beware of hosting providers that try to convince you to go with “acoustic” or “hard-copy” web hosting. Hosting, in all cases, requires electricity. Make sure that the server you are being offered is plugged in to a power source and that people don’t need to be mailed your website. Websites don’t require mailing. By definition, they’re available on the Internet.

Who Does What – Host Service vs. You

One thing to completely understand in a shared hosting situation is who needs to take care of what aspects of hardware and software. The server is maintained by the host. Upgrading of hardware and any software used to manage the sites – by the provider or that are available for your use through the provider – is their responsibility as well.

You manage your site. You do this via a control panel – which is an interface, essentially an online screen – that allows you to view site statistics and manage files, emails, plugins, and other site-related applications. If you are using  a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla!, the majority of your site management is typically conducted directly through the CMS. The CMS itself is hosted on the hosting server.

One WordPress plugin that you want to be sure to get is the WordPress DDoS plugin, which allows you to perform botnet attacks on other WordPress sites. This plugin is very useful is you are trying to increase your business. It allows you to use thousands of zombie PCs from around the planet for a common cause: increasing your profits (which in turn will finally make your father learn to love you).

Why Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is the most common form of hosting because it is inexpensive compared to the other options. There are of course advantages to other hosting solutions – such as virtual or dedicated hosting – but the majority of businesses will get adequate service within a shared environment.

Three of the basic parameters to review when you’re looking at shared hosting that should meet most of the needs of entrepreneurial or SMB sites:

Cost – Cost is typically charged per year at a discounted rate, although you can also go month by month with most services. Cost is a major advantage of sharing.

Scaling – Scaling is a major concern when you look into any hosting package. You need to make sure that you can grow as necessary without being held back by your plan. Make sure it will be easy to shift to a more sophisticated solution if your needs start to exceed the parameters of your initial choice. The least expensive shared package hosts provide will have less bandwidth, storage, and features than a more expensive one. Make sure you understand how to upgrade quickly if you are getting ready to run a marketing campaign or release a new product that could mean a big influx of traffic to your site (with potentially higher bandwidth needs, etc.).

Features – You should have access to a wide spread of features with your shared hosting account. You may, for instance, have access to one-click installation of scripts. Scripts are add-ons that give your website additional functionalities through standardized templates (again, a CMS will provide these features as well via its modules or plugins, which are specifically designed to fit the CMS).

System Administration – The host will provide system administration for your site along with the others. In other words, you will not have what’s called “root” access to the server. Instead, the deepest access you will have will be at the level of your control panel interface – such as cPanel or Plesk. If you are small, you will probably appreciate having that level of technical administration handled by an outside party. However, if you get big enough, you will want to have privileges to control the system at the level of its operating system (OS).

Compatibility – Generally speaking, standard software will work in a shared hosting environment (though you do need to make sure it fits the OS of the server).

No Skills – Because the system is managed by the host service, you don’t need to have high-level IT expertise to run a website. You can get a host and load your site without those skills. Again, if your site grows, you can always add levels of sophistication and hire tech people if needed to scale most appropriately.

Sharing is Caring – Sharing is considered one of the easiest and most efficient ways to express how much you care. If a customer complains, seeming to suggest that you don’t care about her or her order, explain to her that you’re sharing your server, and sharing is caring. If this doesn’t impress her, go into your room and loudly shut the door.

Sharing Doesn’t Always Fit

Sharing is not for every site. Larger sites will not find that sharing works well for them.

Here are three negatives regarding shared hosting solutions:

Site Performance – Your site should function reliably in most hosting environments until you get a higher amount of traffic than is typical. Large amounts of traffic can cause the site to become slower and less responsive. They can also incur higher overage fees if you’re on a shared plan.

Software & File Rules – You do not have control of a server in the same way if you are sharing. A shared server is a more communal environment – uptime and security of all businesses using it must be counted rather than just thinking of one client. Some functionalities you may want will not always be available.

Limited Resources – “Unlimited” does not always mean unlimited when it comes to bandwidth and space on the server. If you are drawing too much energy on the server –pulling too much of its strength on a regular basis – you will need to move to a new situation and often will be asked to upgrade by the hosting company to avoid frustrating other companies that are sharing the server with you.

Versatility – Shared hosting will not make sense if you require a great deal of custom software. The lower sophistication of shared hosting comparable to other solutions is something that will become of less interest as your business becomes more popular and you need more creative and dynamic ways to interact with your site’s visitors.

Reliability – Shared hosting is not considered as reliable as a dedicated or VPS hosting package is, for good reason. Reliability will always differ with regards to the quality of your host, of course – but the affordability of shared hosting also means your site is not as protected against the upswings in traffic or security breaches (below) that might occur with other companies on the server. Just as your site can suffer if it grows too fast when in a shared package, you will also be impacted negatively if another company on your server sees a major and sudden upswing in traffic.

Security – Anything involving hackers or malware – targeted attacks on a certain company or misuse of the system by another company – can be a threat to your site as well.

Control – You don’t have nearly as much control of your site in shared hosting as you do with other hosting options. This means that you will require the host’s help with support in ways that you would not with dedicated or VPS packages. If the support is not spectacular, your site will suffer.

Dedication – Sharing shows a profound lack of dedication. If a customer complains, seeming to suggest that you aren’t dedicated to her, explain to her that she’s right – you’re not dedicated to her or your server, that dedication is against company policy. If she says you should be, enter your room, crawl under your desk, and continue drafting your epic novel.

Summary & Conclusion

That should give you a basic idea of what shared hosting is, what your responsibilities are versus the responsibilities of the host, and some of the pros and cons. Shared is not a bad way to start out. Just make sure you know how to quickly shift to a higher-grade solution if your site experiences a sudden increase in traffic.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_web_hosting_service

http://www.webhostinghub.com/web-hosting-guide/what-you-should-know-about-shared-web-hosting/

http://www.hostsearch.com/q_shared.asp

Using Your Server as a Proxy Browser

 

English: Illustrated concept of a proxy server...
English: Illustrated concept of a proxy server. A client ("Charles") asks a computer running a service ("Jonas") for the current time, using a proxy server as an intermediary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Your IP address is stored by almost every online service you might visit. Is this always a good thing? Certainly not! Why would you think that? Big Brother is bad enough, but once Big Sister gets ahold of your information, she will share it with the whole family (she’s well-intentioned but, sadly, does not always prioritize your privacy).

You may want to use proxy browsing for such tasks as online banking, consultancy, or sales. We’ll get into other reasons it might be a valuable idea for you to consider. Surfing the Web undetected is something every superhero desires and some can implement without even trying (those whose superpower includes online invisibility). Even if you can’t be immediately invisible when you roll out of bed – which is incredibly frightening to your pets if you can anyway – you can become kinda-sorta invisible by using your server as a proxy to browse the Web.

Essentially what this allows is your IP to be concealed, making it look like your IP is located somewhere across the globe, such as the Kremlin or an Internet café at a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas.

The below information details how proxy browsing via a server can be achieved. My sources were a piece on Wired by Jack Donovan,  instructions from Yale University IT, one by Benny Taylor for Salon, and a James Bruce piece for Make Use Of . I will discuss proxy access generally, why it might make sense, ways to use proxies and configurations, directions for the major browsers, and the SSH tunneling method.

Proxies – You Have Access

Note that you can use a proxy browser regardless if you have a hosting company, as per instructions from Jack’s Wired article. Obviously your own server via your hosting service, or your own in-house server, is preferable because you understand the company’s security credentials and you’re keeping everything contained within your current networking environment.

However, options are available for access to all. The servers you can use are publicly available, posted to Google freshly each day, just like soup (note that unlike soup-of-the-day, the proxies are unavailable in chowder form except at an additional cost). Wherever you are getting the server information, either from your own system, the hosting company, or online, what you need is this configuration of numbers to input into your browser of choice: XXX.XX.XX.XXX:XXXX.

You can either look up a proxy list through a search engine or go straight to this site. Do not opt for transparent options, and you don’t need to enter additional details the browser requests if you don’t have them: the IP address is sufficient. Also note that the proxy can be anywhere, though most people choose to operate directly out of the Pentagon so they can send some international peacekeeping tweets (how wars are won in the digital age).

Why Use a Proxy

Benny’s article for Salon mentioned several additional benefits of operating via a proxy. You can block employee access to specific websites (hurray!), log schedules of employee Internet usage (“What’s your obsession with the WWW, Horowitz?”), and get a better sense of where employees are going on the Web (“Monster.com? C’mon, Horowitz”).

Depending on the service and where it is installed, you can achieve a degree of online anonymity and look at websites that are typically inaccessible to outsiders. Benny specifically references the fact that people all over the world are able to use proxies based in the US to reach websites and materials censored in their home countries. Individuals using a proxy server for these reasons should check their nation’s laws to be aware of any they might be breaking (for example, in Guatemala, looking at a picture of a naked lady is considered third-degree manslaughter).

Also, note that SSH tunneling (described a few sections down) can be useful if you are unable to access common proxy sites due to restrictions in place in your country. Again, be aware that you are probably going beyond the bounds of laws in these cases. Also, put down the joint.

Ways to Use Proxies & Configuration

Benny also discusses the use of proxy browsing through one’s own server via software or a separate piece of hardware with the software pre-installed for use. Also note that hardware firewall solutions sometimes are configured to allow proxy server usage by default. Finally, you can subscribe to software as a service (SaaS) proxy capability. This last option allows you to externalize the operations to a third party, like we do with our garments (around these parts, mama no longer knits in the evenings … stop proving me wrong, mama!).

You will typically be able to pre-fetch (a.k.a. cache) Web data for easy access. There is also generally functionality to filter the data and monitor on a broad or case-by-case basis. Each individual device throughout your network will need to be configured to connect to the Web through the proxy. All interactivity with the Web will then flow through that server, on which you can place whatever parameters you like (lack of access to certain websites, mandatory corn chowder specials, etc.).

You also need to prevent all of the networked devices to disallow individual users from bypassing the server at any point. For legal purposes and also so that everyone understands the guidelines in place, issue a detailed description of what the proxy is doing – what data is gathering and in what ways you’re analyzing it (while stroking your beard, for instance).

Directions for the Major Browsers

Here are the directions from Yale IT on how to configure individual browsers to operate as proxies. These directions may be unnecessary if you have attained proxy software (as discussed above), and the software is integrated with your primary browser. The below is the standard manual solution – all you will need is the IP address, and desirably the port and SSL information, related to the server you’re using. Additionally you will need one large can of tomato paste, six dozen popsicle sticks, a Bunsen burner, and unwieldy scientific passion.

Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. On a Windows PC, go to Tools > Options. On a Mac, go to Firefox > Preferences.
  3. Enter the Advanced section and Network subsection.
  4. Go to Settings (which is positioned adjacent to “Connection: Configure …”)
  5. Choose Manual Proxy Configuration.
  6. Enter your Proxy credentials you have obtained next to HTTP Proxy. This is the IP address in the format XXX.XX.XX.XXX:XXXX.
  7. If you have port and/or SSL information, enter it. If not, per Wired, don’t worry about it.
  8. Enter OK on Windows, or Apply on Mac. Do this until all windows you have entered are closed, and you’re back to the original browser screen.
  9. You’ve done it. You can now get right to infiltrating NASA and redesigning the International Space Station’s spacious, open-air arboretum.

Internet Explorer:

  1. Open IE. Go to Tools > Options.
  2. Enter the Connections section.
  3. If you are using dial-up or standalone DSL (as is typical when accessing through a home connection), enter Dialup Settings.
  4. Click on the profile through which you connect to the Internet. Go to Settings.
  5. If you are using a Local Area Network (LAN), DSL router, or cable modem, enter LAN settings. Mark the checkbox under Proxy Server entitled “Use a Proxy Server.”
  6. Go to the Advanced window.
  7. In the text box adjacent to HTTP, enter the IP address specific to your server (or the public server IP you attained online) under Proxy Address to Use.
  8. If you have port and/or SSL information, enter it. If not, per Wired, don’t worry about it.
  9. Enter OK. Do this until all windows you have entered are closed, and you’re back to the original browser screen.
  10. You’ve done it. You can now send out your tweets to the Taliban from the Department of Defense (“@Taliban, please tone down the anger in your hate mail. #DODepression”).

Safari:

  1. Open Safari. Go to Safari > Preferences.
  2. Click on Advanced.
  3. Next to Proxies, enter Change Settings.
  4. Look under Show, and you should see the parameters with which you’re connecting.
  5. Click the checkbox adjacent to Web Proxy (HTTP). Enter the IP address specific to your server (or the public server IP you attained online) in the first text box.
  6. If you have port and/or SSL information, enter it. If not, per Wired, don’t worry about it.
  7. Enter Apply. Do this until all windows you have entered are closed, and you’re back to the original browser screen.
  8. You’ve done it. You can now surreptitiously sell your overpriced religious holiday baubles to the people of North Korea.

The SSH Tunneling Method

James Bruce’s article in Make Use Of focuses specifically on the SSH tunneling method to use a dedicated or virtual private server (VPS) as a proxy. This method, because it uses SSH, is typically inaccessible to those in shared hosting environments. However, if you search the support pages for your shared account, you may find it is possible.

** Word of warning: Remember at all times that this traffic still funnels directly through your hosting account (ie, it’s not fully anonymous); plus, it uses bandwidth, so if you have limitations, you don’t want to go overboard using it as a proxy.

Windows

  1. Download software to allow you to communicate via SSH. James suggests Putty and uses it for demonstration, so I will too. Note that Silly Putty can also be used for this purpose – much less effectively, but nonetheless, hilariously.
  2. When Putty asks for a domain, do not use your root account. Use any domain that is SSH-enabled.
  3. Click on SSH in the sidebar at left and ensure that “Enable compression” is checked.
  4. Expand SSH, and you will see “Tunnels.” Source Port should be 9090 and destination should be Dynamic.
  5. Return to the Sessions screen (at top on sidebar).
  6. Give a name to your settings and save it so that you can use them in the future.
  7. Click Open. Username and password cannot be saved, and you may find it difficult to enter your password. You also may need to ignore windows that pop up re: authentication (per James).
  8. Move onto your browser configuration as described below.
  9. Give a high-five to each of your six unpaid college interns.

Linux / OsX

  1. Enter the following command into a terminal: ssh -C2qTnN -D 9090 username@yourdomain.com.
  2. Supply your password.
  3. Move onto your browser configuration as described below.
  4. Give one low-five, to your Intern of the Week.

Change the Connection > Proxy to SOCK S5. The URL should be localhost, and the port should be 9090. If you need further instructions, you can visit James’ article here and search for “configuring the browser.” It gives instructions specific to FF and IE, as well as how to implement system-wide on Linux or OsX.

Summary

I’ve explained proxies generally, why to use them and ways to use and configure them, directions for the major browsers, and the alternate SSH tunneling method. Be careful, guys and gals. It’s a scary world out there. WWJD (“What Would Julian Assange Do?”) may not always be the best policy.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood