Proxy support in Chrome

This document establishes basic proxy terminology, as well as describing behaviors specific to Chrome.

Proxy Server

A proxy server is an intermediary used for network requests. It can be identified by the 3-tuple (scheme, host, port) where:

  • scheme - protocol used to communicate with the proxy (ex: SOCKSv5, HTTPS).
  • host - IP or hostname of the proxy server (ex:
  • port - TCP/UDP port number (ex: 443)

There are a variety of proxy server schemes supported by Chrome. When using an explicit proxy in the browser, multiple layers of the network request are impacted.

Difference between proxy server schemes include:

  • Is communication to the proxy done over a secure channel?
  • Is name resolution (ex: DNS) done client side, or proxy side?
  • What authentication schemes to the proxy server are supported?
  • What network traffic can be sent through the proxy?

Identifiers for proxy servers are often written as strings, using either the PAC format (ex: PROXY foo) or Chrome's URI format (ex: http://foo).

When a proxy server‘s scheme is not stated, it’s assumed to be HTTP in most contexts.

This can lead to some confusion, particularly when discussing system proxy settings. Major platform UIs have converged on the term “Secure proxy” to mean the host:port for an (insecure) HTTP proxy to use for proxying https:// URLs.

So when someone refers to their “HTTPS proxy” be aware of this ambiguity. The intended meaning could be either “an HTTP proxy for https:// URLs”, or “a proxy using the HTTPS scheme”.

In this document when we say “an HTTPS proxy”, we always mean “a proxy that the browser speaks HTTPS to”, and not “an (HTTP) proxy used to proxy https:// URLs”.

Proxy resolution

Proxying in Chrome is done at the URL level.

When the browser is asked to fetch a URL, it needs to decide which IP endpoint to send the request to. This can be either a proxy server, or the target host.

This is called proxy resolution. The input to proxy resolution is a URL, and the output is an ordered list of proxy server options.

What proxies to use can be described using either:

  • Manual proxy settings - proxy resolution is defined using a declarative set of rules. These rules are expressed as a mapping from URL scheme to proxy server(s), and a list of proxy bypass rules for when to go DIRECT instead of using the mapped proxy.

  • PAC script - proxy resolution is defined using a JavaScript program, that is invoked whenever fetching a URL to get the list of proxy servers to use.

  • Auto-detect - the WPAD protocol is used to probe the network (using DHCP/DNS) and possibly discover the URL of a PAC script.

Proxy server schemes

Chrome supports the following proxy server schemes:

  • HTTP
  • SOCKSv4
  • SOCKSv5
  • QUIC

DIRECT proxy scheme

  • Default port: N/A (neither host nor port are applicable)
  • Example identifier (PAC): DIRECT
  • Example identifier (URI): direct://

This is a pseudo proxy scheme that indicates instead of using a proxy we are sending the request directly to the target server.

It is imprecise to call this a “proxy server”, but it is a convenient abstraction.

HTTP proxy scheme

  • Default port: 80
  • Example identifier (PAC): PROXY proxy:8080, proxy (non-standard; don't use)
  • Example identifiers (URI): http://proxy:8080, proxy:8080 (can omit scheme)

Generally when one refers to a “proxy server” or “web proxy”, they are talking about an HTTP proxy.

When using an HTTP proxy in Chrome, name resolution is always deferred to the proxy. HTTP proxies can proxy http://, https://, ws:// and wss:// URLs. (Chrome's FTP support is deprecated, and HTTP proxies cannot proxy ftp:// anymore)

Communication to HTTP proxy servers is insecure, meaning proxied http:// requests are sent in the clear. When proxying https:// requests through an HTTP proxy, the TLS exchange is forwarded through the proxy using the CONNECT method, so end-to-end encryption is not broken. However when establishing the tunnel, the hostname of the target URL is sent to the proxy server in the clear.

HTTP proxies in Chrome support the same HTTP authentiation schemes as for target servers: Basic, Digest, Negotiate/NTLM.

HTTPS proxy scheme

  • Default port: 443
  • Example identifier (PAC): HTTPS proxy:8080
  • Example identifier (URI): https://proxy:8080

This works exactly like an HTTP proxy, except the communication to the proxy server is protected by TLS. Hence http:// requests, and hostnames for https:// requests are not sent in the clear as with HTTP proxies.

In addition to HTTP authentication methods, one can also use client certificates to authenticate to HTTPS proxies.

SOCKSv4 proxy scheme

  • Default port: 1080
  • Example identifiers (PAC): SOCKS4 proxy:8080, SOCKS proxy:8080
  • Example identifier (URI): socks4://proxy:8080

SOCKSv4 is a simple transport layer proxy that wraps a TCP socket. Its use is transparent to the rest of the protocol stack; after an initial handshake when connecting the TCP socket (to the proxy), the rest of the loading stack is unchanged.

No proxy authentication methods are supported for SOCKSv4.

When using a SOCKSv4 proxy, name resolution for target hosts is always done client side, and moreover must resolve to an IPv4 address (SOCKSv4 encodes target address as 4 octets, so IPv6 targets are not possible).

There are extensions to SOCKSv4 that allow for proxy side name resolution, and IPv6, namely SOCKSv4a. However Chrome does not allow configuring, or falling back to v4a.

A better alternative is to just use the newer version of the protocol, SOCKSv5 (which is still 20+ years old).

SOCKSv5 proxy scheme

  • Default port: 1080
  • Example identifier (PAC): SOCKS5 proxy:8080
  • Example identifiers (URI): socks://proxy:8080, socks5://proxy:8080

SOCKSv5 is a transport layer proxy that wraps a TCP socket, and allows for name resolution to be deferred to the proxy.

In Chrome when a proxy's scheme is set to SOCKSv5, name resolution is always done proxy side (even though the protocol allows for client side as well). In Firefox client side vs proxy side name resolution can be configured with network.proxy.socks_remote_dns; Chrome has no equivalent option and will always use proxy side resolution.

No authentication methods are supported for SOCKSv5 in Chrome (although some do exist for the protocol).

A handy way to create a SOCKSv5 proxy is with ssh -D, which can be used to tunnel web traffic to a remote host over SSH.

In Chrome SOCKSv5 is only used to proxy TCP-based URL requests. It cannot be used to relay UDP traffic.

QUIC proxy scheme

  • Default (UDP) port: 443
  • Example identifier (PAC): QUIC proxy:8080
  • Example identifier (URI): quic://proxy:8080


Manual proxy settings

The simplest way to configure proxy resolution is by providing a static list of rules comprised of:

  1. A mapping of URL schemes to proxy servers
  2. A list of proxy bypass rules

We refer to this mode of configuration as “manual proxy settings”.

Manual proxy settings can succinctly describe setups like:

  • Use HTTPS proxy foo:8080 for all requests
  • Use HTTP proxy foo:8080 for all requests except those to a subdomain.
  • Use HTTP proxy foo:8080 for all https:// requests, and the SOCKSv5 proxy mysocks:90 for everything else

Although manual proxy settings are a ubiquituous way to configure proxies across platforms, there is no standard representation or feature set.

Chrome‘s manual proxy settings most closely resembles that of WinInet. But it also supports idioms from other platforms -- for instance KDE’s notion of reversing the bypass list, or Gnome's interpretation of bypass patterns as suffix matches.

When defining manual proxy settings in Chrome, we specify three (possibly empty) lists of proxy servers:

  • proxies for HTTP - A list of proxy servers to use for http:// requests, if non-empty.
  • proxies for HTTPS - A list of proxy servers to use for https:// requests, if non-empty.
  • other proxies - A list of proxy servers to use for everything else (whatever isn't matched by the other two lists)

There are a lot of ways to end up with manual proxy settings in Chrome (discussed in other sections).

The following examples will use the command line method. Launching Chrome with --proxy-server=XXX (and optionally --proxy-bypass-list=YYY)

Example: To use the HTTP proxy foo:8080 for all requests we can launch Chrome with --proxy-server="http://foo:8080". This translates into:

  • proxies for HTTP - empty
  • proxies for HTTPS - empty
  • other proxies - http://foo:8080

With the above configuration, if the proxy server was unreachable all requests would fail with ERR_PROXY_CONNECTION_FAILED. To address this we could add a fallback to DIRECT by launching using --proxy-server="http://foo:8080,direct://" (note the comma separated list). This command line means:

  • proxies for HTTP - empty
  • proxies for HTTPS - empty
  • other proxies - http://foo:8080, direct://

If instead we wanted to proxy only http:// URLs through the HTTPS proxy foo:443, and have everything else use the SOCKSv5 proxy mysocks:1080 we could launch Chrome with --proxy-server="http=https://foo:443;socks=socks5://mysocks:1080". This now expands to:

  • proxies for HTTP - https://foo:443
  • proxies for HTTPS - empty
  • other proxies - socks5://mysocks:1080

The command line above uses WinInet's proxy map format, with two modifications:

  • Proxy servers can be optionally prefixed with a scheme (i.e. Chrome's “URI format” for proxy server identifiers)
  • The socks= mapping is understood as “other proxies”. The subsequent proxy list can include proxies of any scheme, however if the scheme is unspecified it is understood to be socks4://.

Mapping WebSockets URLs to a proxy

Manual proxy settings don‘t have mappings for ws:// or wss:// URLs - you can’t specify a separate proxy to use for those schemes.

Selecting a proxy for these URL schemes is a bit different from other URL schemes. The algorithm that Chrome uses is:

  • If “other proxies” is non-empty use it
  • If “proxies for HTTPS” is non-empty use it
  • Otherwise use “proxies for HTTP”

This is per the recommendation in section 4.1.3 of RFC 6455.

It is possible to route ws:// and wss:// separately using a PAC script.

Proxy credentials in manual proxy settings

Most platforms' manual proxy settings allow specifying a cleartext username/password for proxy sign in. Chrome does not implement this, and will not use any credentials embedded in the proxy settings.

Proxy authentication will instead go through the ordinary flow to find credentials.

Proxy bypass rules

In addition to specifying three lists of proxy servers, Chrome's manual proxy settings also lets you specify a list of “proxy bypass rules”.

This ruleset determines whether a given URL should skip use of a proxy all together, even when a proxy is otherwise defined for it.

This concept is also known by names like “exception list”, “exclusion list” or “no proxy list”.

Proxy bypass rules can be written as an ordered list of strings. Ordering generally doesn't matter, but may when using subtractive rules.

When manual proxy settings are specified from the command line, the --proxy-bypass-list="RULES" switch can be used, where RULES is a semicolon or comma separated list of bypass rules.

Following are the string constructions for the bypass rules that Chrome supports. They can be used when defining a Chrome manual proxy settings from command line flags, extensions, or policy.

When using system proxy settings, one should use the platform‘s rule format and not Chrome’s.

Bypass rule: Hostname

[ URL_SCHEME "://" ] HOSTNAME_PATTERN [ ":" <port> ]

Matches a hostname using a wildcard pattern, and an optional scheme and port restriction.


  • - Matches URL of any scheme and port, whose normalized host is
  • * - Matches URL of any scheme and port, whose normalized host ends with (for instance and
  • *.org:443 - Matches URLs of any scheme, using port 443 and whose top level domain is .org
  • https://x.* - Matches https:// URLs on port 99 whose normalized hostname matches x.*

Bypass rule: Subdomain


Hostname patterns that start with a dot are special cased to mean a subdomain matches. is effectively another way of writing *


  • - Matches and, but not
  • - Matches only http:// URLs that are a subdomain of

Bypass rule: IP literal

[ SCHEME "://" ] IP_LITERAL [ ":" PORT ]

Matches URLs that are IP address literals, and optional scheme and port restrictions. This is a special case of hostname matching that takes into account IP literal canonicalization. For example the rules [0:0:0::1] and [::1] are equivalent (both represent the same IPv6 address).


  • [::1] - Matches any URL to the IPv6 loopback address.
  • [0:0::1] - Same as above
  • http://[::1]:99 - Matches any http:// URL to the IPv6 loopback on port 99

Bypass rule: IPv4 address range


Matches any URL whose hostname is an IPv4 literal, and falls between the given address range.

Only applies to URLs that are IP literals - see “Meaning of IP address range bypass rules”.



Bypass rule: IPv6 address range


Matches any URL that is an IPv6 literal that falls between the given range. Note that IPv6 literals must not be bracketed.

Only applies to URLs that are IP literals - see “Meaning of IP address range bypass rules”.


  • fefe:13::abc/33
  • [fefe::]/40 -- WRONG! IPv6 literals must not be bracketed.

Bypass rule: Simple hostnames


Matches hostnames without a period in them, and that are not IP literals. This is a naive string search -- meaning that periods appearing anywhere count (including trailing dots!).

This rule corresponds to the “Exclude simple hostnames” checkbox on macOS and the “Don't use proxy server for local (intranet) addresses” on Windows.

The rule name comes from WinInet, and can easily be confused with the concept of localhost. However the two concepts are completely orthogonal. In practice one wouldn't add rules to bypass localhost, as it is already done implicitly (see “Implicit bypass rules”).

Bypass rule: Subtract implicit rules


Subtracts the implicit proxy bypass rules (localhost and link local addresses). See the “Implicit bypass rules” section for details on when/why to use this, and the security caveats to doing so. Generally this is used for test setups.

Whereas regular bypass rules instruct the browser about URLs that should not use the proxy, this rule has the opposite effect and tells the browser to instead use the proxy.

Ordering may matter when using a subtractive rule, as rules will be evaluated in a left-to-right order. <-loopback>; has a subtly different effect than;<-loopback>.

Meaning of IP address range bypass rules

The IP address range bypass rules in manual proxy settings applies ONLY TO URL LITERALS. This is not what one would intuitively expect!


Say we have have configured a proxy for all requests, but added a bypass rule for If we now navigate to http://foo (which resolves to in our setup) will the browser connect directly (bypass proxy) because we have indicated a bypass rule that includes this IP?

It will go through the proxy.

The bypass rule in this case is not applicable, since the browser never actually does a name resolution for foo. Proxy resolution happens before name resolution, and depending on what proxy scheme is subsequently chosen, client side name resolution may never be performed.

The usefulness of IP range proxy bypass rules is rather limited, as they only apply to requests whose URL was explicitly an IP literal.

If proxy decisions need to be made based on the resolved IP address(es) of a URL's hostname, one must use a PAC script.

Implicit bypass rules

Requests to certain hosts will not be sent through a proxy, and will instead be sent directly.

We call these the implicit bypass rules. The implicit bypass rules match URLs whose host portion is either a localhost name or a link-local IP literal. Essentially it matches:


The complete rules are slightly more complicated. For instance on Windows we will also recognize loopback, and there is special casing of localhost6 and localhost6.localdomain6 in Chrome's localhost matching.

This concept of implicit proxy bypass rules is consistent with the platform-level proxy support on Windows and macOS (albeit with some differences due to their implementation quirks - see compatibility notes in net::ProxyBypassRules::MatchesImplicitRules)

Why apply implicit proxy bypass rules in the first place? Certainly there are considerations around ergonomics and user expectation, but the bigger problem is security. Since the web platform treats localhost as a secure origin, the ability to proxy it grants extra powers. This is especially problematic when proxy settings are externally controllable, as when using PAC scripts.

Historical support in Chrome:

  • Prior to M71 there were no implicit proxy bypass rules (except if using --winhttp-proxy-resolver)
  • In M71 Chrome applied implicit proxy bypass rules to PAC scripts
  • In M72 Chrome generalized the implicit proxy bypass rules to manually configured proxies

Overriding the implicit bypass rules

If you want traffic to localhost to be sent through a proxy despite the security concerns, it can be done by adding the special proxy bypass rule <-loopback>. This has the effect of subtracting the implicit rules.

For instance, launch Chrome with the command line flag:


Note that there currently is no mechanism to disable the implicit proxy bypass rules when using a PAC script. Proxy bypass lists only apply to manual settings, so the technique above cannot be used to let PAC scripts decide the proxy for localhost URLs.

Evaluating proxy lists (proxy fallback)

Proxy resolution results in a list of proxy servers to use for a given request, not just a single proxy server.

For instance, consider this PAC script:

function FindProxyForURL(url, host) {
    if (host == "") {
        return "PROXY proxy1; HTTPS proxy2; SOCKS5 proxy3";
    return "DIRECT";

What proxy will Chrome use for connections to, given that we have a choice of 3 separate proxies, each of different type?

Initially, Chrome will try the proxies in order. This means first attempting the request through the HTTP WebProxy proxy1. If that “fails”, the request is next attempted through the HTTPS proxy proxy2. Lastly if that fails, the request is attempted through the SOCKSv5 proxy proxy3.

This process is referred to as proxy fallback. What constitutes a “failure” is described later.

Proxy fallback is stateful. The actual order of proxy attempts made be Chrome is influenced by the past responsiveness of proxy servers.

Let's say we request Per the PAC script this resolves to:

"PROXY proxy1; HTTPS proxy2; SOCKS5 proxy3"

Chrome will first attempt to issue the request through these proxies in the left-to-right order (proxy1, proxy2, proxy3).

Let's say that the attempt through proxy1 fails, but then the attempt through proxy2 succeeds. Chrome will mark proxy1 as bad for the next 5 minutes. Being marked as bad means that proxy1 is de-prioritized with respect to other proxies options (including DIRECT) that are not marked as bad.

That means the next time is requested, the effective order for proxies to attempt will be:

HTTPS proxy2; SOCKS5 proxy3; "PROXY proxy1"

Conceptually, bad proxies are moved to the end of the list, rather than being removed from consideration all together.

What constitutes a “failure” when it comes to triggering proxy fallback depends on the proxy type. Generally speaking, only connection level failures are deemed eligible for proxy fallback. This includes:

  • Failure resolving the proxy server's DNS
  • Failure connecting a TCP socket to the proxy server

(There are some caveats for how HTTPS and QUIC proxies count failures for fallback)

Prior to M67, Chrome would consider failures establishing a CONNECT tunnel as an error eligible for proxy fallback. This policy resulted in problems for deployments whose HTTP proxies intentionally failed certain https:// requests, since that necessitates inducing a failure during the CONNECT tunnel establishment. The problem would occur when a working proxy fallback option like DIRECT was given, since the failing proxy would then be marked as bad.

Currently there are no options to configure proxy fallback (including disabling the caching of bad proxies). Future versions of Chrome may remove caching of bad proxies to make fallback predictable.

To investigate issues relating to proxy fallback, one can collect a NetLog dump using chrome://net-export/. These logs can then be loaded with the NetLog viewer.

There are a few things of interest in the logs:

  • The “Proxy” tab will show which proxies (if any) were marked as bad at the time the capture ended.
  • The “Events” tab notes what the resolved proxy list was, and what the re-ordered proxy list was after taking into account bad proxies.
  • The “Events” tab notes when a proxy is marked as bad and why (provided the event occurred while capturing was enabled).

When debugging issues with bad proxies, it is also useful to reset Chrome's cache of bad proxies. This can be done by clicking the “Clear bad proxies” button on chrome://net-internals/#proxy. Note the UI will not give feedback that the bad proxies were cleared, however capturing a new NetLog dump can confirm it was cleared.

Arguments passed to FindProxyForURL(url, host) in PAC scripts

PAC scripts in Chrome are expected to define a JavaScript function FindProxyForURL.

The historical signature for this function is:

function FindProxyForURL(url, host) {

Scripts can expect to be called with string arguments url and host such that:

  • url is a sanitized version of the request's URL
  • host is the unbracketed host portion of the origin.

Sanitization of the URL means that the path, query, fragment, and identity portions of the URL are stripped. Effectively url will be limited to a scheme://host:port/ style URL

Examples of how FindProxyForURL() will be called:

// Actual URL:
FindProxyForURL('', '')

// Actual URL:   https://[dead::beef]/foo?bar
FindProxyForURL('https://[dead::beef]/', 'dead::beef')

// Actual URL:
FindProxyForURL('', '')

// Actual URL:
FindProxyForURL('', '')

Stripping the path and query from the url is a departure from the original Netscape implementation of PAC. It was introduced in Chrome 52 for security reasons.

There is currently no option to turn off sanitization of URLs passed to PAC scripts (removed in Chrome 75).

The sanitization of http:// URLs currently has a different policy, and does not strip query and path portions of the URL. That said, users are advised not to depend on reading the query/path portion of any URL type, since future versions of Chrome may deprecate that capability in favor of a consistent policy.

Resolving client's IP address within a PAC script using myIpAddress()

PAC scripts can invoke myIpAddress() to obtain the client's IP address. This function returns a single IP literal, or "" on failure.

myIpAddress() is fundamentally broken for multi-homed hosts.

Consider what happens when a machine has multiple network interfaces, each with its own IP address. Answering “what is my IP address” depends on what interface the request is sent out on. Which in turn depends on what the destination IP is. Which in turn depends on the result of proxy resolution + fallback, which is what we are currently blocked in!

Chrome's algorithm uses these ordered steps to find an IP address (short-circuiting when a candidate is found).

  1. Select the IP of an interface that can route to public Internet:
    • Probe for route to
    • Probe for route to 2001:4860:4860::8888.
  2. Select an IP by doing a DNS resolve of the machine's hostname:
    • Select the first IPv4 result if there is one.
    • Select the first IP result if there is one.
  3. Select the IP of an interface that can route to private IP space:
    • Probe for route to
    • Probe for route to
    • Probe for route to
    • Probe for route to FC00::.

When searching for candidate IP addresses, link-local and loopback addresses are skipped over. Link-local or loopback address will only be returned as a last resort when no other IP address was found by following these steps.

This sequence of steps explicitly favors IPv4 over IPv6 results.

Historical note: Prior to M72, Chrome's implementation of myIpAddress() was effectively just getaddrinfo(gethostname). This is now step 2 of the heuristic.

What about var pacUseMultihomedDNS?

In Firefox, if you define a global named pacUseMultihomedDNS in your PAC script, it causes myIpAddress() to report the IP address of the interface that would (likely) have been used had we connected to it DIRECT.

In particular, it will do a DNS resolution of the target host (the hostname of the URL that the proxy resolution is being done for), and then connect a datagram socket to get the source address.

Chrome does not recognize the pacUseMultihomedDNS global as having special meaning. A PAC script is free to define such a global, and it won't have side-effects. Chrome has no APIs or settings to change myIpAddress()'s algorithm.

Resolving client's IP address within a PAC script using myIpAddressEx()

Chrome supports the Microsoft PAC extension myIpAddressEx().

This is like myIpAddress(), but instead of returning a single IP address, it can return multiple IP addresses. It returns a string containing a semi-colon separated list of addresses. On failure it returns an empty string to indicate no results (whereas myIpAddress() returns

There are some differences with Chrome's implementation:

  • In Chrome the function is unconditionally defined, whereas in Internet Explorer one must have used the FindProxyForURLEx entrypoint.
  • Chrome does not enumerate all of the host's network interfaces
  • Chrome does not return link-local or loopback addresses (except if no other addresses were found).

The algorithm that Chrome uses is nearly identical to that of myIpAddress() described earlier. The main difference is that we don't short-circuit after finding the first candidate IP, so multiple IPs may be returned.

  1. Select all the IPs of interfaces that can route to public Internet:
    • Probe for route to
    • Probe for route to 2001:4860:4860::8888.
    • If any IPs were found, return them, and finish.
  2. Select an IP by doing a DNS resolve of the machine's hostname:
    • If any IPs were found, return them, and finish.
  3. Select the IP of an interface that can route to private IP space:
    • Probe for route to
    • Probe for route to
    • Probe for route to
    • Probe for route to FC00::.
    • If any IPs were found, return them, and finish.

Note that short-circuiting happens whenever steps 1-3 find a candidate IP. So for example if at least one IP address was discovered by checking routes to public Internet, only those IPs will be returned, and steps 2-3 will not run.