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How do you configure browser proxy settings in a centralized fashion? Our development environment consists of many operating systems (Win XP, Win 2k3, Ubuntu Linux) and we usually run various browsers (Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari) on each dev machine, to test our applications.

Managing and configuring browser proxy settings on each browser in a machine as and when they are provisioned is a very painful task. What is the best way to automate this task.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

What about setting up a transparent proxy on your network, so you don't have to configure any browsers (or other software/devices) to be aware of the proxy?

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@Bryan - I will check to see how I can configure to use squid in this case. –  Joshua Feb 24 '10 at 10:22

If it is for web testing, try the iMacros addon: http://wiki.imacros.net/PROXY

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You can use GPO's in a windows domain to configure proxy settings.

Also, use the PAC suggestion, but with DNS autoconfig, setup an A record for WPAD.mydomain, pointing to a local webserver that contains a file called wpad.dat (a copy of proxy.pac) in the web root.

Any browser configured with "Automatically configure my proxy settings" or "automatic" or whatever will find this and work.

Then only allow your proxy at the gateway. Works a charm! (then laptop users can still connect at home/o'seas etc)

It is also a DHCP option.

More info: http://findproxyforurl.com/wpad_tutorial.html (needed for mime settings)

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+1 for GPO to set proxy centrally. –  nedm Aug 17 '10 at 7:01
    
Hmm.. I'm still wary of using the GPO for this.. you can.. but I don't think you actually should. If the proxy crashes, there is no fall-back, everybody is now offline. I use the auto method, then its just a quick DNS change, open the firewall and staff are online again while you repair the proxy. –  Grizly Aug 20 '10 at 0:06
    
Hmm, also, laptop users will be disconnected if they use another network.. useful if you force them to use VPN, otherwise its just annoying for them. –  Grizly Aug 20 '10 at 0:24

I think you should use "Proxy Auto Configuration (PAC)" with special PAC-files (Special script file). This file defines how web browsers and other user agents can automatically choose the appropriate proxy server (access method) for fetching a given URL. So if you need to change settings you just change this file, which had been pointed in browsers. This file, of course, must be accessible from each browser.

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You still have to configure the browsers to find and use the PAC file, so the problem is simply moved sideways ever so slightly. –  John Gardeniers Feb 24 '10 at 11:31
    
Of course you'll have to set up the path to the PAC file at the client side. But in future you'll do nothing at the client side. And, i suppose, browsers like Opera and Firefox stores their configuration in special plain text files config files. May be it's possible to write appropriate URL to PAC-file their. –  user35115 Feb 24 '10 at 13:28

Transparent proxy that you can enable and disable on the fly would do it.

Since some applications do not explicitly support proxies there are pieces of software that you can install that will force a piece of software to use a proxy. They basically intercept any network activity and instead route it over the proxy you configure. For instance some older IM clients do not support a Socks proxy so people use these pieces of software to overcome that limitation.

First google result: http://www.proxycap.com/

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I was looking for a open source solution, to resolve this for the time being. –  Joshua Feb 24 '10 at 10:23

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