In theory, Google Chrome, Chrome Headless, and many other browsers support using proxies without complication. Windows users can establish proxy servers for their browsers to use when connecting to the Internet with ease, and for most users this is enough.
But once in a while something odd happens and you get stuck with a frustrating message:
Unable to Connect To Proxy Server ERR_PROXY_CONNECTION_FAILED
From that point onwards, all of your attempts to connect to the Internet don’t work. You’re suddenly on your own and unable to point your browser to its proxy server correctly. Before losing your cool and letting frustration get the better of you, you need to do some troubleshooting and verify some settings in order to get your proxy server back on your side again.
Why Browsers and Applications May Be Unable to Connect
There are many reasons why your browsers and web applications may not be able to connect to a proxy server successfully. Anything from improper connect settings to the presence of malware on your device can trigger this kind of error.
Finding the underlying motive of this error message is key. Use the following steps to troubleshoot your proxy and connection settings to fix the problem.
1. Check Internet Properties
This is the easiest and most obvious possibility – but also one of the most common. In Google Chrome, the procedure looks like this:
- Launch Google Chrome, open Settings and click on the Advanced tab.
- Click on Open Proxy Settings. Chrome will open a window called Internet Properties.
- On the Connections tab, click on LAN Settings.
- Make sure that the Address and Port settings shown match your proxy server’s settings.
You can also set your browser to Automatically Detect Settings, but this may not always work. If you already have your browser set this way, try manually entering your proxy server address and port number as provided by your proxy service provider.
At this stage, you may also diagnose your overall Internet connectivity settings by turning off the proxy service entirely and seeing if your browser still connects. If it does, then the problem definitely lies somewhere between your browser and the proxy server.
2. Verify Registry Editor Items
If you still can’t connect to the Internet using your proxies, you may be able to fix the issue by changing your registry editor files. Making mistakes in your registry editor can lead to system instability, so make sure you boot up in safe mode first and follow the directions carefully.
- Open the Run command window, type in regedit, and press OK.
- Locate your Internet Settings registry files by navigating to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER folder and clicking on Software. Click on Microsoft to complete the filepath.
- Look for the following registry files and delete them: Migrate Proxy, Proxy Enable, Proxy Override, and Proxy Server.
- Re-boot and launch your browser. Perform step 1 as described above.
This might seem like an unusual fix for “Unable to Connect to Proxy Server” errors, but there is logic behind it. Sometimes, registry items can get stuck in a certain state. If they get stuck, then making changes to your application’s Internet Settings won’t make much of a difference.
If you delete those stuck registry items, they will be created anew once you re-open the application they apply to. The new registry items will follow whatever configuration your system has at that moment – potentially unblocking whatever obstacle was preventing them from updating correctly the first time around.
If this doesn’t solve your issue, then it’s likely that your browser is not at fault. Your proxy server may be the culprit. If you are using cheap or low-quality proxies, they may be failing to connect due to bandwidth issues or blacklisting due to other users’ activities – consider upgrading to proxy services that offer dedicated IPs.
3. Use IPConfig in the Command Prompt
If there is an issue related to your computer’s IP address, you may be able to diagnose and troubleshoot it using the Command Prompt. In order to do this, you will have to open the Command Prompt as an administrator with full access.
- Press the Windows Key + X to open a special menu and select Command Prompt (Admin).
- Type in the following command and press enter:
- Immediately after, type in this command and press enter:
- After executing both commands, close the prompt and try to connect to the Internet using your browser with its normal proxy settings. Just like registry items can get stuck, IP settings can become obstacles that need to be reset in order to make your proxies viable.
4. Clean Out Your System to Remove Adware and Malware
Reputable proxy servers cannot risk exposing themselves to adware and malware. Cheap proxy services rarely blacklist their own users to protect themselves and their proxy IPs, which can lead to problematic proxy implementation if your computer or the destination address sees suspicious traffic or identifies a tell-tale digital signature.
In order to protect yourself and your system, you should run a trusted adware and malware mitigation tool like MalwareBytes or AdwCleaner. Run these applications and look for any program files related to your network or extension data. If you find unusual applications that appear to be connected to your web browser’s user profiles or data, there is a chance that malware is the culprit.
On another note, your own proxy server provider may need to perform the same type of cleaning. Since you can’t force them to do that, the best option is to choose the highest-quality proxy provider that offers you fresh dedicated IP addresses that haven’t been compromised by other users.
5. Reset Internet Settings
If your browser is still unable to connect, there is another option for fixing “Unable to Connect to Proxy Server” errors. However, it will cost you some time reconfiguring your personal network settings.
If you decide to try resetting your Internet settings, you will lose saved home pages, search providers, accelerators, temporary Internet files, search history, cookies, web form data, and your saved passwords. You should weigh this option carefully before attempting it, and ask your proxy service provider for reassurance that the proxies themselves are not at fault first.
In Windows, resetting Internet Settings is simple:
- Open your Control Panel and select Internet Options.
- Navigate to the Advanced Tab and look for the Reset button at the bottom of the window.
- When prompted to Reset Internet Settings, checkmark the box that says Delete Personal Settings.
- Press OK.
Now your computer’s Internet settings will be set back to their initialized factory state. You should be able to incorporate your proxy settings as if you had a brand-new computer.
What About Chrome Headless and Selenium Users?
Chrome Headless browser users are in a special class when it comes to dealing with “Unable to Connect to Proxy Server” errors. One of the reasons for this is the fact that Chrome Headless doesn’t support extensions without Puppeteer, and even then, it’s not always possible.
Another reason for this is the fact that Chrome Headless users can write their own commands to tell Chrome what to do. Chrome Headless users using Selenium and proxies to crawl data can use a code like the following to establish a connection:
ChromeOptions options = new ChromeOptions(); proxy = new Proxy(); proxy.Kind = ProxyKind.Manual; proxy.IsAutoDetect = false; proxy.HttpProxy = proxy.SslProxy = "127.0.0.1:3330"; options.Proxy = proxy; options.AddArgument("ignore-certificate-errors"); var chromedriver = new ChromeDriver(options);
But if your proxy service requires authentication via a login and password, Chrome Headless will be unable to process that data. It’s a headless browser, so the authentication window simply won’t show up – creating the “Unable to Connect to Proxy” error message.
To fix this, simply use the AddArguments command to instruct your browser to authenticate your proxy server for you:
If you do this correctly, you should be able to connect to authenticated proxy servers without issue in Chrome Headless and Selenium
How to Fix Frequent “Unable to Connect To Proxy Server” Errors For Good
If following all of the above steps doesn’t seem to help, or if proxy server errors still occur on a regular basis, you might need to reconsider your proxy server provider.
The truth is not all proxy services are equal. Cheap, oversold IP addresses may be causing problems due to the fact that they often share usage among many users, all of whom may be taxing their resources to achieve various ends.
When that happens, there is no way to know how other users’ actions are affecting your proxy’s capabilities. If you use dedicated IPs, then there is no reason for any browser or Internet application to not accept your connection as valid. These proxies are as good as your legitimate home IP address.
Consider upgrading your proxy server to a higher quality, dedicated IP service so that you can make the most of your connection. Professional-level proxies backed by service guarantees and in-depth technical support can make a world of difference for any task or process that requires leveraging proxy servers.
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