When it comes to blocking the nefarious scripts that create popups and tracking cookies in your web browser, there are already many different extensions and plugins for web browsers. But all these extensions have to be installed inside individual browsers and can make their performance slower. There are also public DNS servers like Norton Connect Safe, OpenDNS etc., but they cannot block scripts and unwanted popups. If you want total control over what is being served to you in your web browser, then you can use the free Privoxy. It is a proxy server that runs on your computer and can be used to block unwanted scripts, images, flash, domains and more. It is available for Windows, Linux and Mac.
Before it can start working in your web browsers, you have to configure the proxy setting in the web browsers. You have to set the proxy server to 127.0.0.1 and the proxy port to 8118. You can learn how to set proxy servers in various popular web browsers using these articles on TrishTech:
- How to set Proxy Servers in Firefox
- How to set HTTP Proxy Server in Internet Explorer (Chrome uses IE proxy settings, so this takes care of Chome settings too)
- How to set HTTP Proxy Server in Opera
After this, your web traffic shall be filtered through the Privoxy proxy server. It installs a system tray icon in Windows which shows animation whenever something is filtered.
By default Privoxy filters many ad, tracking and popup sites but you can change the filter and action rules yourself by editing the configuration files. These files can be edited manually (by selecting the edit options from the system tray icon) or through the web interface by visiting http://privoxy.org/config in your web browser (with proxy settings applied).
Editing Privoxy configuration files is not easy and is not something a beginner can do. But by going through the manuals that Privoxy comes with and learning a little of the Regular Expressions, you can edit the configurations files to your advantage easily. If you want to see how it is modifying the web requests and the served content, Privoxy also displays a real time log of the HTTP requests.
Conclusion: Privoxy is a private proxy server that runs on your local computer and blocks websites, domains, images, scripts and other content as specified in its configuration settings. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and does not need any installation of extensions or plugins in the web browsers.
You can download Privoxy from http://www.privoxy.org/.