Privoxy Frequently Asked Questions

Copyright © 2001-2023 by Privoxy Developers

This FAQ gives quick answers to frequently asked questions about Privoxy. It is not a substitute for the Privoxy User Manual.

What is Privoxy?

Privoxy is a non-caching web proxy with advanced filtering capabilities for enhancing privacy, modifying web page data and HTTP headers, controlling access, and removing ads and other obnoxious Internet junk. Privoxy has a flexible configuration and can be customized to suit individual needs and tastes. It has application for both stand-alone systems and multi-user networks.

Privoxy is Free Software and licensed under the GNU GPLv2 or later.

Privoxy is an associated project of Software in the Public Interest (SPI).

Helping hands and donations are welcome:

Please note that this document is a work in progress. This copy represents the state at the release of version 3.0.34. You can find the latest version of the document at Please see the Contact section if you want to contact the developers.

Table of Contents
1. General Information
1.1. Who should give Privoxy a try?
1.2. Is Privoxy the best choice for me?
1.3. What is a "proxy"? How does Privoxy work?
1.4. Does Privoxy do anything more than ad blocking?
1.5. What is this new version of "Junkbuster"?
1.6. Why "Privoxy"? Why change the name from Junkbuster at all?
1.7. How does Privoxy differ from the old Junkbuster?
1.8. How does Privoxy know what is an ad, and what is not?
1.9. Can Privoxy make mistakes? This does not sound very scientific.
1.10. Will I have to configure Privoxy before I can use it?
1.11. Can Privoxy run as a server on a network?
1.12. My browser does the same things as Privoxy. Why should I use Privoxy at all?
1.13. Why should I trust Privoxy?
1.14. Is there is a license or fee? What about a warranty? Registration?
1.15. Can Privoxy remove spyware? Adware? Viruses?
1.16. Can I use Privoxy with other ad-blocking software?
1.17. I would like to help you, what can I do?
1.17.1. Would you like to participate?
1.17.2. Would you like to donate?
1.18. How can I become a sponsor and get my logo or link on
2. Installation
2.1. Which browsers are supported by Privoxy?
2.2. Which operating systems are supported?
2.3. Can I use Privoxy with my email client?
2.4. I just installed Privoxy. Is there anything special I have to do now?
2.5. What is the proxy address of Privoxy?
2.6. I just installed Privoxy, and nothing is happening. All the ads are there. What's wrong?
2.7. I get a "Privoxy is not being used" dummy page although Privoxy is running and being used.
3. Configuration
3.1. What exactly is an "actions" file?
3.2. The "actions" concept confuses me. Please list some of these "actions".
3.3. How are actions files configured? What is the easiest way to do this?
3.4. There are several different "actions" files. What are the differences?
3.5. Where can I get updated Actions Files?
3.6. Can I use my old config files?
3.7. Why is the configuration so complicated?
3.8. How can I make my Yahoo/Hotmail/Gmail account work?
3.9. What's the difference between the "Cautious", "Medium" and "Advanced" defaults?
3.10. Why can I change the configuration with a browser? Does that not raise security issues?
3.11. What is the default.filter file? What is a "filter"?
3.12. How can I set up Privoxy to act as a proxy for my LAN?
3.13. Instead of ads, now I get a checkerboard pattern. I don't want to see anything.
3.14. Why would anybody want to see a checkerboard pattern?
3.15. I see some images being replaced with text instead of the checkerboard image. Why and how do I get rid of this?
3.16. Can Privoxy run as a service on Win2K/NT/XP?
3.17. How can I make Privoxy work with other proxies?
3.18. Can I just set Privoxy to use port 80 and thus avoid individual browser configuration?
3.19. Can Privoxy run as a "transparent" proxy?
3.20. Can Privoxy run as a "intercepting" proxy?
3.21. How can I configure Privoxy for use with Outlook?
3.22. How can I have separate rules just for HTML mail?
3.23. I sometimes notice cookies sneaking through. How?
3.24. Are all cookies bad? Why?
3.25. How can I allow permanent cookies for my trusted sites?
3.26. Can I have separate configurations for different users?
3.27. Can I set-up Privoxy as a whitelist of "good" sites?
3.28. How can I turn off ad-blocking?
3.29. How can I have custom template pages, like the BLOCKED page?
3.30. How can I remove the "Go There Anyway" link from the BLOCKED page?
4. Miscellaneous
4.1. How much does Privoxy slow my browsing down? This has to add extra time to browsing.
4.2. I notice considerable delays in page requests. What's wrong?
4.3. What are "" and "http://p.p/"?
4.4. How can I submit new ads, or report problems?
4.5. If I do submit missed ads, will they be included in future updates?
4.6. Why doesn't anyone answer my support request?
4.7. How can I hide my IP address?
4.8. Can Privoxy guarantee I am anonymous?
4.9. A test site says I am not using a Proxy.
4.10. How do I use Privoxy together with Tor?
4.11. Might some things break because header information or content is being altered?
4.12. Can Privoxy act as a "caching" proxy to speed up web browsing?
4.13. What about as a firewall? Can Privoxy protect me?
4.14. I have large empty spaces / a checkerboard pattern now where ads used to be. Why?
4.15. How can Privoxy filter Secure (HTTPS) URLs?
4.16. Does Privoxy support HTTP/2?
4.17. Privoxy runs as a "server". How secure is it? Do I need to take any special precautions?
4.18. Can I temporarily disable Privoxy?
4.19. When "disabled" is Privoxy totally out of the picture?
4.20. How can I tell Privoxy to totally ignore certain sites?
4.21. My logs show Privoxy "crunches" ads, but also its own internal CGI pages. What is a "crunch"?
4.22. Can Privoxy affect files that I download from a webserver? FTP server?
4.23. I just downloaded a Perl script, and Privoxy altered it! Yikes, what is wrong!
4.24. Should I continue to use a "HOSTS" file for ad-blocking?
4.25. Where can I find more information about Privoxy and related issues?
4.26. I've noticed that Privoxy changes "Microsoft" to "MicroSuck"! Why are you manipulating my browsing?
4.27. Does Privoxy produce "valid" HTML (or XHTML)?
4.28. How did you manage to get Privoxy on my computer without my consent?
5. Troubleshooting
5.1. I cannot connect to any websites. Or, I am getting "connection refused" message with every web page. Why?
5.2. Why am I getting a 503 Error (WSAECONNREFUSED) on every page?
5.3. I just added a new rule, but the steenkin ad is still getting through. How?
5.4. One of my favorite sites does not work with Privoxy. What can I do?
5.5. After installing Privoxy, I have to log in every time I start IE. What gives?
5.6. I cannot connect to any FTP sites. Privoxy is blocking me.
5.7. In Mac OS X, I can't configure Microsoft Internet Explorer to use Privoxy as the HTTP proxy.
5.8. In Mac OS X, I dragged the Privoxy folder to the trash in order to uninstall it. Now the finder tells me I don't have sufficient privileges to empty the trash.
5.9. In Mac OS X Panther (10.3), images often fail to load and/or I experience random delays in page loading. I'm using localhost as my browser's proxy setting.
5.10. I just upgraded to Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and now Privoxy has stopped working.
5.11. My logs show many "Unable to get my own hostname" lines. Why?
5.12. When I try to launch Privoxy, I get an error message "port 8118 is already in use" (or similar wording). Why?
5.13. Pages with UTF-8 fonts are garbled.
5.14. Why are binary files (such as images) corrupted when Privoxy is used?
5.15. What is the "demoronizer" and why is it there?
5.16. Why do I keep seeing "PrivoxyWindowOpen()" in raw source code?
5.17. I am getting too many DNS errors like "404 No Such Domain". Why can't Privoxy do this better?
5.18. At one site Privoxy just hangs, and starts taking all CPU. Why is this?
5.19. I just installed Privoxy, and all my browsing has slowed to a crawl. What gives?
5.20. Why do my filters work on some sites but not on others?
5.21. On some HTTPS sites my browser warns me about unauthenticated content, the URL bar doesn't get highlighted and the lock symbol appears to be broken. What's going on?
5.22. I get selinux error messages. How can I fix this?
5.23. I compiled Privoxy with Gentoo's portage and it appears to be very slow. Why?
5.24. What are tainted sockets and how do I prevent them?
5.25. After adding my custom filters, Privoxy crashes when visitting certain websites
5.26. What to do if editing the config file of privoxy is access denied?
6. Contacting the developers, Bug Reporting and Feature Requests
6.1. Please provide sufficient information
6.2. Get Support
6.3. Reporting Problems
6.3.1. Reporting Ads or Other Configuration Problems
6.3.2. Reporting Bugs
6.4. Reporting security problems
6.5. Mailing Lists
6.6. SourceForge support trackers
7. Privoxy Copyright, License and History
7.1. License
7.2. History