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Configuring Web Browsers to use the UofR proxy server

Computing Services Technote #528 v5

Title: Configuring Web Browsers to use the UofR proxy server
Applies to: Users wishing to improve web access speed
Section: Network Services
Owner: Manager of Network & Communication Services
Last updated: 20 May 2014


Configuration of web browsers to use the UofR web proxy is described. The use of the UofR web proxy speeds access to web pages by storing commonly used web pages locally so that they don't have to be fetched over the internet(which is sometimes slow). It is common for 40 percent of web requests to be fetched from the local cache instead of over the internet.

Access Policy

Student residences are blocked from using the web cache so that it can't be used as a way to bypass bandwidth limitations.

Configuration of FireFox

To enable use of the UofR web proxy do the following:

  1. Start FireFox
  2. Select the menu Tools | Options
  3. Click on General on the left or top side of the window to expand it and then select the Connection Settings button. On the bottom of the screen check Automatic Proxy Configuration URL and in the text boxy enter:
  4. Click OK to close the Connection Settings dialogue box.

Configuration of Internet Explorer

Follow the procedures below to configure IE to use the UofR web proxy:

  1. Select the Start -> Settings -> Control Panel menu
  2. double click on the Internet Options control panel
  3. click the Connections tab
  4. Do the following:
    1. put a check next to 'use automatic configuration script' and enter in the box below it.
    2. click OK on LAN Settings window.
  5. click OK on internet settings window

Configuration For Windows Updates on Windows 7 or Greater

If your system needs or wants to use the proxy to obtain windows updates then you need to

  • open up a command prompt as a local system administrator
  • issue the command: netsh winhttp set proxy


Q. Does using the web proxy guarantee that every page will load faster?
A. No. Some pages generate dynamic content and are not cached by the web proxy(pages containing ?,.pl,.asp,.php in the URL - note that the dynamic content generated by these pages often has links to static images etc. that can be cached). As well you may be the 1st person to request the page so the cache will have to fetch it from the internet.

Q. I use my laptop on the UofR LAN and at home with high speed internet access. Can I still use the proxy?
A. Yes. The automatic proxy configuration script detects when you are not using a UofR internet address and disables use of the UofR web proxy.

Q. How does using a web proxy differ from the cache built into web browsers?
A. They behave similarly but when using the web proxy you benefit from pages that have been accessed by other users and are cached.

Q. Are web pages from * servers cached?
A. No. It is just as fast for the client to retrieve them as the web proxy so local pages aren't cached.

Q. I have found a page that doesn't work through the web proxy but works when I disable the proxy. How do I report the problem?
A. It is rare for pages to not work with a web proxy but if you do find one please send email to describing the problem. If we verify the problem we will exclude caching of the web page on the proxy.


If you have trouble setting up the web proxy please contact the IT Support Centre


Procedures for configuring Netscape and Internet Explorer to use a web proxy are described. Use of a web proxy speeds access to popular web content.

Revision History

v0, 2002-06-25, Initial version
v1, 2002-06-25, minor revision
v2, 2006-07-31, replaced Netscape instructions with FireFox and added access restrictions note
v3, 2008-05-12, removed reference to URPPP differences
v4, 2013-04-29, removed link to a FAQ entry that wasn't ported over to new site
v5, 2014-05-20, added instructions for configuring windows updates to use proxy