Wandering Thoughts archives


It's time for me to upgrade my filtering HTTP proxy

I've been using a filtering HTTP proxy for a very long time now in order to filter out various sorts of things I didn't want from my browsing experience (most prominently cookies). I probably haven't been doing this for quite as long as filtering proxies have been available, but I now suspect that it's actually close, because it turns out that the filtering proxy I use was last updated in 1998. Increasingly, this long stasis in my filtering proxy is kind of a problem that I should deal with.

I haven't stuck with Junkbuster because I think it's some paragon of perfection here. Instead I've stuck with it because it still works without problems and, more importantly, I have a moderate collection of non-default filtering rules that I would have to copy over to any new filtering tool that I adopted (probably Privoxy, which I'm actually already using for filtering stuff related to syndication feed reading). But even though it still works, using Junkbuster is not without problems. Really, there are two big ones.

First, Junkbuster is HTTP/1.0 only, which means that all of my interactions with HTTP websites are constrained down to that. In practice this probably just costs me some amount of latency and speed. I'm not going to say that this is unimportant, but I can't say I've really noticed it. Still, I'd kind of like to have HTTP/1.1 available, if only to be nicer to websites out there by reusing the same connection instead of opening new one after new one.

More importantly (and more relevantly), Junkbuster is very definitely IPv4 only. This means that all of my regular HTTP browsing is IPv4 only, since it all goes through Junkbuster. Even if a site offers IPv6, I'll ignore that. As a result I don't actually use IPv6 all that much even when I have it available, and as a result of that I don't necessarily notice if my IPv6 connectivity breaks for some reason. I would like to change this, which definitely means a new proxy.

A mitigating factor is that all of this is irrelevant for HTTPS connections. Those are not proxied through anything for the obvious reasons, which means that they get HTTP/1.1 (or HTTP/2) and IPv6 support (and also that I have to rely purely on the protections of my browser addons). Over time I expect more and more browsing I do to be HTTPS browsing, but I also don't expect HTTP browsing to go away any time soon; there are still quite a lot of sites that are HTTP-based and they're probably going to stay that way for, oh, the next decade or more.

(As is traditional, I'm writing this entry partly to motivate myself into actually doing this at some point. Since nothing is really broken today, the work required is not entirely attractive; it's basically a bunch of work for very little or no visible improvement. Although probably I can simplify or eliminate a bunch of my current filtering rules; it's not as if I pay them much attention, so a bunch are likely to be long obsolete.)

web/ProxyUpgradeTime written at 01:08:40; Add Comment

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