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What is a WhatsApp proxy, and how do you use it?
While most WhatsApp users don’t need to bother with the concept, you may have heard that some people use proxies to get around restrictions. So what is a WhatsApp proxy, and how do you get started with one if you think you need it?
A WhatsApp proxy is a intermediate server that lets you access the service in countries where it's restricted. To connect to one, you need to obtain a proxy address from a trusted source, and add it to WhatsApp settings.
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What is a WhatsApp proxy, and why use it?
A proxy is a middleman server between you and the rest of the internet. Most often proxies are associated with VPNs (virtual private networks), but there are other use cases. In this context, a proxy bridges your internet connection with the WhatsApp network and its users.
Why would you want that, given the lag and hassle it introduces? In some countries access to WhatsApp is blocked, usually by governments wanting to limit public dissent or violence. WhatsApp employs end-to-end encryption, so calls and messages can’t be easily intercepted by police or spy agencies. The only way they can obtain chat records is by seizing devices, or else accessing backup files if they’re stored on third-party services like Google Drive or iCloud. WhatsApp itself typically deletes local copies of messages after they’re received, or after 30 days if they’re never received.
How to find a proxy address for WhatsApp
There’s no central listing of all the proxy servers out there, unfortunately. You’ll have to do a web search for the servers accessible in your region. If that’s impossible, or very risky, individuals or volunteer organizations may be able to supply proxy information.
How to set up and use a WhatsApp proxy server
The people setting up proxy servers and the ones using them tend to be different groups, for obvious reasons.
Setting up a WhatsApp proxy server
If you’re in a position to safely set up a proxy, you’ll need a server with ports 80, 443, or 5222 available. You can have a domain (or subdomain) point to the server’s IP address.
Connecting to a WhatsApp proxy
Using Android, follow these steps:
- Select the Chats tab.
- Tap the triple-dot icon, then Settings.
- Go to Storage and Data > Proxy and tap Setup Proxy.
- Enter the proxy’s connection information. Optionally, you can set separate chat and media ports.
- When you’re done, tap the green checkmark to save data and connect.
- If the proxy doesn’t work, it may have been blocked. In that case, long-press a blocked address to delete it, then enter an alternate proxy.
Using an iPhone:
- In WhatsApp, go to Settings.
- Navigate to Storage and Data > Proxy, then tap Setup Proxy.
- Tap Proxy Address and enter the appropriate connection info. Optionally, you can use separate chat and media ports.
- Tap Save, then Use Proxy.
- If your connection isn’t successful, the proxy you entered may have been blocked. Repeat the steps above using an alternate proxy.