Proxy Chaining: How To Set Up A Proxy Chain

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Proxy chaining is your one-way ticket to better online privacy. It makes you virtually invisible on the internet, protecting your personal data from prying eyes. 

Here’s a guide to help you through the configuration process. 

What’s Proxy Chaining?

Proxy chaining is a technique that uses a series of multiple proxy servers to enhance your online privacy.

Unlike other proxy techniques, it doesn’t rely on a single proxy server. Instead, it routes your internet traffic through several “middlemen” servers in a chain. Each proxy in the chain will hide your IP, making it virtually impossible for anyone to trace your online activities.

The downfall of other proxy techniques is the risk of your IP getting exposed along the way. But, the layered defense of proxy chaining leaves no room for exposure. Beyond just making it hard to track you, proxy chaining also combats censorship. 

The technique is best used for handling sensitive data and bypassing geo-restrictions.

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How Proxy Chaining Works – A General Flow

Proxy chaining is a surefire way to protect your data since it routes your traffic through a series of proxies. Here’s what its workflow generally looks like:

  1. You, the user, connect to the chain’s first proxy server, better known as the “entry” or “first-hop” proxy.
  2. Your data goes through the entry proxy, which also masks your original IP with a random one. You only have basic anonymity so far.
  3. Then, the data passes through multiple “middlemen” proxies in the chain. There’s no limit to the number of proxies in the chain; it all depends on how much anonymity you need.
  4. Each proxy server will mask the last IP with a new one. Even the most expert tracking tools are no match against this multi-layered defense.
  5. The last proxy, or exit node, passes your data to the website you were trying to access. It also displays a final IP to the external server.
  6. The website’s response makes the same journey through the proxy chain until it reaches you.

Proxy Chaining Benefits & Drawbacks 

Proxy chaining is an efficient anonymity technique, but it doesn’t come without trade-offs.

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Benefits

Improved Security 

Proxy chaining improves security with the help of multiple proxy servers. Each server assigns a new IP to hide your real one. By the time your traffic reaches the exit node, your data has no chance of being exposed to cyber threats and surveillance. 

Better Speed 

In proxy chaining, each proxy shares the load of your internet traffic. That means less congestion and faster data transfer. Each server handles a different aspect of the data retrieval process, so you can enjoy better load speeds.

Efficient Caching 

Like any other proxy technique, proxy chaining also utilizes caching. That means saving your frequently accessed content in a separate folder.

The next time you request that content, it won’t have to run the entire data retrieval process again. You’ll simply fetch the data from the nearest server, the entry proxy.

Drawbacks

High Costs 

It’s no secret that proxy chaining comes at a cost. Setting it up manually takes time and effort, and you can’t forget the price of having multiple proxies at your service.

On the other hand, opting for pre-established proxy chains isn’t cheap either. Providers charge a hefty fee to set up your proxy chain for you.

Dependability 

In a proxy chain, each proxy relies on the other proxies to work efficiently. If one falls through, the entire system will be inactive, and you’ll need to set it up again.

Beyond being inconvenient, this can also be detrimental to your data privacy. If one proxy is unsafe and susceptible to malware, it affects the whole chain. You’ll need to be very careful about choosing each proxy provider.

Maintenance 

Maintaining a proxy chain is tricky, especially if you’re not a tech expert. A simple mistake can lead to huge disruptions and longer downtimes. You’ll need to set aside some time to troubleshoot issues and ensure each proxy complies with your intended websites. 

3 Ways on How to Set Up a Proxy Chain

Data privacy doesn’t have to be so complicated. Here are three simple ways to set up a proxy chain and enjoy online anonymity

Proxifier

Follow these steps to set up a proxy chain using Proxifier.

  • Install the latest version of Proxifier on your desktop.
  • Select Proxy Settings in the Profile menu.
  • Add two or more proxies from reliable proxy providers.
  • If you can’t view the proxy chains window, click on Proxy Chains.
  • Select Create to start an empty chain.
  • Drag and drop your proxies in the order you want. If you have an HTTPS proxy, ensure it’s the exit node.
  • If needed, change the proxy address to a custom label.
  • If you want to turn off a proxy, uncheck the check box.
  • You can also remove the entire chain by clicking on Remove.
  • Click on Type to decide how the proxy will work. You can pick between Simple Chain, Redundancy, and Load Balancing.

ProxyChains, Tor & Linux 

First, we’ll set up Tor on your Linux OS.

  • Open a terminal on your Linux OS and enter: “sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade”
  • Check if Tor and Proxychains are already installed on your desktop by entering: “proxychains” & “tor”
  • If they aren’t installed, enter: “sudo apt install proxychains tor -y”
  • Check the Tor status by entering: “service tor status”
  • The following output will appear:                                                                 

tor.service – Anonymizing overlay network for TCP (multi-instance-master)

Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/tor.service; disabled; vendor preset: disabled)

Active: inactive (dead)”

  • Start the Tor service by entering: “service tor start”

Now, it’s time to configure ProxyChains.

  • Locate the ProxyChains by entering: “locate proxychains”
  • Then, open its configuration file on a text editor by entering its path after the editor name like: “nano /etc/proxychains.conf”  
  • Remove the dynamic chain from the remark comment by deleting # in front of dynamic_chain.
  • Add # in front of random_chain and strict_chain instead.
  • Make sure the proxy-DNS uncomment doesn’t have # to prevent DNS leaks.
  • Add socks5 127.0.0.1 9050 to the last line of the proxy list.

Finally, you can use the two applications together.

  • Start the Tor service: “service tor start”
  • Use ProxyChains to access any app. For example: “proxychains firefox www.google.com
  • Lastly, visit www.dnsleaktest.com to make sure ProxyChains is hiding your real IP.

IPtables 

Set up a proxy chain using IPtables with the help of these steps.

  • Install the latest version of IPtables on your desktop.
  • Enter “echo “1” > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward” to enable IP forwarding.
  • Then, enter “# iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p tcp –dport 1111 -j DNAT –to-destination 2.2.2.2:1111” to forward packets from your IP to your destination using port 1111 (example).
  • Finally, enter “iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -j MASQUERADE” to enable the masquerade.
  • Repeat the process to keep chaining your proxy servers and create a proxy chain. Just change the variables to suit each proxy.

Proxy Chain Best Practices

Proxy chains can seem complicated to first-timers, but a few best practices can make it simpler.

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Finding The Right Chain Length 

The perfect length of your proxy chain depends on your goal. While longer chains make it harder to track your real IP, they also introduce latency and potential points of failure. Shorter proxies will connect faster but won’t be as secure.

Diversifying Proxy Servers 

They say not to put all your eggs in one basket, and that’s true even for proxies. If all your servers in the chain are set to one location, that’s enough of a pattern for a proxy tracker to ban you. Each proxy should have a diverse IP from different locations around the world.

Rotating Proxies 

Proxy-tracking tools rely on patterns to detect proxy and VPN usage. Using rotating proxies is a great way to avoid these patterns and stay undetected. Don’t forget to refresh and update the proxies to get a fresh IP every time. 

Bandwidth Considerations 

Each proxy server has a bandwidth limitation. Having more proxies doesn’t necessarily mean more bandwidth; invest in a handful of high-bandwidth proxy servers instead. Make sure the combined bandwidth of your proxy chain is enough for your online activities.

Choosing Trustworthy Providers

The proxy provider for each server in your chain can access your personal data and traffic anytime. So, doing your research and finding trustworthy providers is absolutely crucial. You must ensure that they offer secure protocols like HTTPS and SOCKS and transparent policies. 

Utilizing Proxy Management Tools 

Proxy management tools can simplify the set-up and maintenance of a proxy chain. It’s a perfect hub to manage all your proxies in one place and monitor their performance. With tools like Proxifier and ProxyChains, you’ll enjoy features like rule-based routing, IP rotation, and proxy filtering.

Wrapping Up

Setting up a proxy chain is no easy feat, but it’s worth the effort. With the right proxy servers and strategy, your online activities will be practically untraceable. Follow our guide to get started with your first proxy chain and change your online experience forever.

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Expert in mobile proxies, internet privacy, SEO marketing and sales.
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