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Apify Proxy is a sophisticated tool, but sometimes it can be hard to understand what is happening when accessing a website. There isn't anything easier than using a proxy in your own browser and playing with the page yourself. You can see exactly what happens when you open the page, click on buttons and links, or try to load external resources. 

There are a few main reasons why you should try a proxy in your browser:

  • To see if the proxy or specific proxy configuration works well for the target website
  • To see how the target website is blocking your proxy configuration
  • To access a website from a different country than where you reside

Installing a browser extension

There are many free extensions that allow you to open a browser with a proxy. We will be using SwitchyOmega for Chrome which works pretty reliably.

So go to the SwitchyOmega page and add it to your browser. You should see the circle icon in your extensions.

When testing the proxy, it is a good idea to test it in an incognito window. In Chrome, you have to explicitly allow each extension to be used in incognito mode, so let's do that. Go to your Chrome settings, choose extensions and select SwitchyOmega. Then click on the slider to allow usage in incognito mode.

Setting up proxy profiles

Now we can finally create proxy configurations (called profiles) to set up how we want to use the proxy. You can have as many profiles as you want which is useful. You can create profiles with different countries and/or proxy groups.

Click on the SwitchyOmega icon and choose settings. Once in, click on New profile and name your profile accordingly.

Let's call our profile US-datacenter. We will restrict the proxy country to US and will use the datacenter proxy type (as opposed to residential).

Now, let's set Protocol to HTTP, Server to proxy.apify.com  and Port to 8000 . Then click on the lock icon to add authentication. 

The Username is where you actually configure your proxy (check out proxy docs for more details). For our use case, the correct Username is country-US. Your password can be found in your Apify account under Proxy tab. So copy that in and save.

You also have to click the green "Apply changes" button.

Opening a page with a US proxy

Let's try to open google.com and check if the proxy location works well.

Open your Chrome browser in incognito mode.

Now choose the US-datacenter profile that you just created.

Type google.com into the URL and open it. There is a chance that Google will block you with a catpcha, and in that case, you either retry with a new incognito window or fill in the captcha. If you search for anything, you can see the country at the bottom of the page.

When you want to stop using the proxy, choose the [Direct] profile.

Setting up a proxy for any country

Unfortunately, Apify Proxy contains mostly US datacenter proxies. So if you want to try to choose another country, it may not work. To ensure the proper country access, use the RESIDENTIAL  proxy group. Keep in mind that this group is not provided as part of the free proxy trial, you need to order it separately or be subscribed to a paid plan. With the RESIDENTIAL  group, you can access the page from any country in the world. For example, if you want to access it from India, create a new profile and set Username to groups-RESIDENTIAL,country-IN .

Troubleshooting

  • Be aware that the proxy setting always applies to the whole browser, not just tabs or windows. (The same as with Puppeteer)
  • Sometimes, Chrome will prompt you for credentials after you try to open a page. This is a bug with SwitchyOmega, and usually you just need to wait a bit or restart the browser.
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