Proxy support in Chrome

This document establishes basic proxy terminology and describes Chrome-specific proxy behaviors.

Proxy server identifiers

A proxy server is an intermediary used for network requests. A proxy server can be described by its address, along with the proxy scheme that should be used to communicate with it.

This can be written as a string using either the “PAC format” or the “URI format”.

The PAC format is how one names a proxy server in Proxy auto-config scripts. For example:

  • PROXY foo:2138
  • SOCKS5 foo:1080

The “URI format” instead encodes the information as a URL. For example:

  • foo:2138
  • http://foo:2138
  • socks5://foo:1080
  • direct://

The port number is optional in both formats. When omitted, a per-scheme default is used.

See the Proxy server schemes section for details on what schemes Chrome supports, and how to write them in the PAC and URI formats.

Most UI surfaces in Chrome (including command lines and policy) expect URI formatted proxy server identifiers. However outside of Chrome, proxy servers are generally identified less precisely by just an address -- the proxy scheme is assumed based on context.

In Windows' proxy settings there are host and port fields for the “HTTP”, “Secure”, “FTP”, and “SOCKS” proxy. With the exception of “SOCKS”, those are all identifiers for insecure HTTP proxy servers (proxy scheme is assumed as HTTP).

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 identifiers.

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 identifier(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 server identifiers 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

When using an explicit proxy in the browser, multiple layers of the network request are impacted, depending on the scheme that is used. Some implications of the proxy scheme are:

  • 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?

Chrome supports these proxy server schemes:

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 like an HTTP proxy, except the communication to the proxy server is protected by TLS, and may negotiate HTTP/2 (but not QUIC).

Because the connection to the proxy server is secure, https:// requests sent through the proxy are not sent in the clear as with an HTTP proxy. Similarly, since CONNECT requests are sent over a protected channel, the hostnames for proxied https:// URLs is also not revealed.

In addition to the usual HTTP authentication methods, HTTPS proxies also support client certificates.

HTTPS proxies using HTTP/2 can offer better performance in Chrome than a regular HTTP proxy due to higher connection limits (HTTP/1.1 proxies in Chrome are limited to 32 simultaneous connections across all domains).

Chrome, Firefox, and Opera support HTTPS proxies; however, most older HTTP stacks do not.

Specifying an HTTPS proxy is generally not possible through system proxy settings. Instead, one must use either a PAC script or a Chrome proxy setting (command line, extension, or policy).

See the document on secure web proxies for tips on how to run and test against an HTTPS proxy.

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

A QUIC proxy uses QUIC (UDP) as the underlying transport, but otherwise behaves as an HTTP proxy. It has similar properties to an HTTPS proxy, in that the connection to the proxy server is secure, and connection limits are less restrictive.

Support for QUIC proxies in Chrome is currently experimental and not ready for production use. In particular, sending https:// and wss:// URLs through a QUIC proxy is disabled by default.

Another caveat is that QUIC does not currently support client certificates since it does not use a TLS handshake. This may change in future versions.

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 server identifiers.
  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 proxy http://foo:8080 for all requests
  • Use proxy http://foo:8080 for all requests except those to a subdomain.
  • Use proxy http://foo:8080 for all https:// requests, and proxy socsk5://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 server identifiers.

  • proxies for HTTP - A list of proxy server identifiers to use for http:// requests, if non-empty.
  • proxies for HTTPS - A list of proxy server identifiers to use for https:// requests, if non-empty.
  • other proxies - A list of proxy server identifiers 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 proxy http://foo:8080 for all requests we can launch Chrome with --proxy-server="http://foo:8080". This translates to:

  • 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 https://foo:443, and have everything else use the SOCKSv5 proxy socks5://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 some additional features:

  • Instead of naming proxy servers by just a hostname:port, you can use Chrome‘s URI format for proxy server identifiers. In other words, you can prefix the proxy scheme so it doesn’t default to HTTP.
  • The socks= mapping is understood more broadly as “other proxies”. The subsequent proxy list can include proxies of any scheme, however if the scheme is omitted it will be understood as SOCKSv4 rather than HTTP.

Mapping WebSockets URLs to a proxy

Manual proxy settings don't have mappings for ws:// or wss:// URLs.

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 server identifiers, Chrome's manual proxy settings 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.

Note this only applies to URLs that are IP literals.



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.

Note this only applies to URLs that are IP literals.


  • 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.

Bypass rule: Subtract implicit rules


Subtracts the implicit proxy bypass rules (localhost and link local addresses). This is generally only needed for test setupe. Beware of the security implications to proxying localhost.

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 server identifiers to use for a given request, not just a single proxy server identifier.

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 three separate proxy server identifiers to choose from {http://proxy1:80, https://proxy2:443, socks5://proxy3:1080}?

Initially, Chrome will try the proxies in order. This means first attempting the request through http://proxy1:80. If that “fails”, the request is next attempted through https://proxy2:443. Lastly if that fails, the request is attempted through socks5://proxy3:1080.

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 a list of three proxy server identifiers:

{http://proxy1:80, https://proxy2:443, socks5://proxy3:1080}

Chrome will first attempt to issue the request through these proxies in the left-to-right order.

Let's say that the attempt through http://proxy1:80 fails, but then the attempt through https://proxy2:443 succeeds. Chrome will mark http://proxy1:80 as bad for the next 5 minutes. Being marked as bad means that http://proxy1:80 is de-prioritized with respect to other proxy server identifiers (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://proxy2:443, socks5://proxy3:1080, http://proxy1:80}

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() 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 pacUseMultihomedDNS?

In Firefox, if you define a global variable 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.