5. Starting Privoxy

Before launching Privoxy for the first time, you will want to configure your browser(s) to use Privoxy as a HTTP and HTTPS (SSL) proxy. The default is (or localhost) for the proxy address, and port 8118 (earlier versions used port 8000). This is the one configuration step that must be done!

Please note that Privoxy can only proxy HTTP and HTTPS traffic. It will not work with FTP or other protocols.

Figure 2. Proxy Configuration Showing Mozilla/Netscape HTTP and HTTPS (SSL) Settings

With Firefox, this is typically set under:

 Tools -> Options ->  Advanced -> Network ->Connection -> Settings

Or optionally on some platforms:

 Edit -> Preferences -> General -> Connection Settings -> Manual Proxy Configuration

With Netscape (and Mozilla), this can be set under:

 Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Proxies -> HTTP Proxy

For Internet Explorer v.5-7:

 Tools -> Internet Options -> Connections -> LAN Settings

Then, check "Use Proxy" and fill in the appropriate info (Address:, Port: 8118). Include HTTPS (SSL), if you want HTTPS proxy support too (sometimes labeled "Secure"). Make sure any checkboxes like "Use the same proxy server for all protocols" is UNCHECKED. You want only HTTP and HTTPS (SSL)!

Figure 3. Proxy Configuration Showing Internet Explorer HTTP and HTTPS (Secure) Settings

After doing this, flush your browser's disk and memory caches to force a re-reading of all pages and to get rid of any ads that may be cached. Remove any cookies, if you want Privoxy to manage that. You are now ready to start enjoying the benefits of using Privoxy!

Privoxy itself is typically started by specifying the main configuration file to be used on the command line. If no configuration file is specified on the command line, Privoxy will look for a file named config in the current directory. Except on Win32 where it will try config.txt.

5.1. Debian

We use a script. Note that Debian typically starts Privoxy upon booting per default. It will use the file /etc/privoxy/config as its main configuration file.

 # /etc/init.d/privoxy start

5.2. Windows

Click on the Privoxy Icon to start Privoxy. If no configuration file is specified on the command line, Privoxy will look for a file named config.txt. Note that Windows will automatically start Privoxy when the system starts if you chose that option when installing.

Privoxy can run with full Windows service functionality. On Windows only, the Privoxy program has two new command line arguments to install and uninstall Privoxy as a service. See the Windows Installation instructions for details.

5.3. Solaris, NetBSD, FreeBSD, HP-UX and others

Example Unix startup command:

 # /usr/sbin/privoxy /etc/privoxy/config

5.4. OS/2

During installation, Privoxy is configured to start automatically when the system restarts. You can start it manually by double-clicking on the Privoxy icon in the Privoxy folder.

5.5. Mac OS X

After downloading the privoxy software, unzip the downloaded file by double-clicking on the zip file icon. Then, double-click on the installer package icon and follow the installation process.

The privoxy service will automatically start after a successful installation. In addition, the privoxy service will automatically start every time your computer starts up.

To prevent the privoxy service from automatically starting when your computer starts up, remove or rename the folder named /Library/StartupItems/Privoxy.

A simple application named Privoxy Utility has been created which enables administrators to easily start and stop the privoxy service.

In addition, the Privoxy Utility presents a simple way for administrators to edit the various privoxy config files. A method to uninstall the software is also available.

An administrator username and password must be supplied in order for the Privoxy Utility to perform any of the tasks.

5.6. Command Line Options

Privoxy may be invoked with the following command-line options:

On MS Windows only there are two additional command-line options to allow Privoxy to install and run as a service. See the Window Installation section for details.