Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Proxy Tool: Change Proxies, User Agent, HTTP Referrer and More in Firefox

Proxy Tool is an add-on for Firefox that makes it super easy to switch to a proxy server. No need to search for proxies – available proxies are automatically added to Firefox, you just have to choose them. This is where normally other proxy add-ons stop. But Proxy Tool actually takes off from here. Changing proxies is just one of the many functions little devil is capable of doing. You can spoof your browser user-agent, fake operating system and even change HTTP referrer, that websites uses to identify who sent visitors to their sites.

Once Proxy Tool is installed, it takes its place in a corner of the add-ons bar. If you have the add-ons bar turned off, no worries, because Proxy Tool can be reached from Firefox’s context menu as well. When Proxy Tool is turned off, which it is by default, the icon will be red. One click, and the icon turns green indicating that it’s ready to use. Now right-click on the icon or just right click anywhere on the page to open Proxy Tool’s menu. One glance at this menu should be sufficient for you to judge this add-on’s usefulness.

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At the top is the Referrer menu. This leads to a sub-menu with a number of pre-built referrers. These includes google.com, yahoo.com, bing.com, facebook.com, twitter.com etc. You can also add custom referrers and rotate them among itself periodically. A nice way to screw up referral traffic data on someone else’s Google Analytics account, although I suggest you not to do that. There is no privacy to be earned by faking the referral data. Anyway, the option is there.

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Next up is the User Agent menu. This is interesting. It allows you to choose from up to 46 different user-agents encompassing a wide range of browsers of multiple versions. You can become Firefox 2.0 to Firefox 7.0, or Chrome 6 to Chrome 16, or Internet Explorer 7 to Internet Explorer 10, Opera 10 to Opera 12, and even AOL. You can also change the user agent to iPhone and iPad and Android. The description on the add-on page says “46+ million different user agents”, but I doubt that many user agents even exits. In any case, the list is large.

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To choose a proxy, go to the Proxy menu and select from one of the available. This list is automatically updated once a day, which might not be enough unfortunately, as proxies rarely remain up for 24 hours. However, you can import your own list of proxies, up to 500. Proxy Tool supports HTTP, HTTPS, and SOCKS proxies.

If you mouse-over the icon in the add-ons bar you can see a large tooltip that displays the current state of your cloaking business.

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Proxy Tool can also delete website cookies, the elusive Flash cookie, and the sinister evercookie that appeared on the scene a few months ago.

Proxy Tool is definitely one of the better proxy add-ons I’ve tried on any browser. Try this if you juggle a lot of proxies. You won’t be disappointed.

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