bookmark_borderContent servers unreachable: Steam does not download

If your Steam client gives you the error An error occurred while installing Your Game (content servers unreachable) whenever you want to update or install a game, you might have to check your network connection in the first place. However, if the error isn’t related to your network, this quick and easy workaround will help you to get rid of the error.

Who is affected by this problem?

Basically everyone can be affected by this. I for myself got confronted with this problem twice under Windows and almost every time when I’m using the Steam Windows version under Linux with WINE. Because of this fact, this article only covers Windows and Steam WINE installations. If you’re a user of the Mac or Linux native Steam client, this workaround could help as well. However, you have to find the specific file (which has to be edited later on) on your own.

Steam content servers unreachable error message
Steam yells „content servers unreachable“ in a WINE prefix

The workaround

This workaround has originally brought up by a user in the askubuntu.com forums. We have to add a list of servers to the config.vdf file from your Steam installation. This list of servers are representing the content servers provided by Valve. Navigate to the config directory within the Steam installation directory. It is located under Windows by default in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\config. For a default Linux WINE prefix you have to navigate to $HOME/.wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/Steam/config. Search for a file called config.vdf. Open the file with the Notepad editor under Windows or with the editor you’re typically use under Linux and add the following line after the line starting with the word cip:

"CS" "valve511.steamcontent.com;valve530.steamcontent.com;valve548.steamcontent.com;valve539.steamcontent.com;valve519.steamcontent.com;valve555.steamcontent.com;valve504.steamcontent.com;valve529.steamcontent.com;valve558.steamcontent.com;valve500.steamcontent.com;valve561.steamcontent.com;valve532.steamcontent.com;valve540.steamcontent.com;valve502.steamcontent.com;valve544.steamcontent.com;valve528.steamcontent.com;valve556.steamcontent.com;valve520.steamcontent.com;valve542.steamcontent.com;valve538.steamcontent.com;valve551.steamcontent.com;valve521.steamcontent.com;valve564.steamcontent.com;valve516.steamcontent.com;valve535.steamcontent.com;valve541.steamcontent.com;valve533.steamcontent.com;valve536.steamcontent.com;valve557.steamcontent.com;valve559.steamcontent.com;valve537.steamcontent.com;valve508.steamcontent.com;valve525.steamcontent.com;valve565.steamcontent.com;valve566.steamcontent.com;valve514.steamcontent.com;valve545.steamcontent.com;valve517.steamcontent.com;valve547.steamcontent.com;valve549.steamcontent.com;valve503.steamcontent.com;valve515.steamcontent.com;valve506.steamcontent.com;valve562.steamcontent.com;valve526.steamcontent.com;valve543.steamcontent.com;valve522.steamcontent.com;valve518.steamcontent.com;valve509.steamcontent.com;valve550.steamcontent.com;valve552.steamcontent.com;valve505.steamcontent.com;valve553.steamcontent.com;valve512.steamcontent.com;valve546.steamcontent.com;valve554.steamcontent.com;valve510.steamcontent.com;valve563.steamcontent.com;valve501.steamcontent.com;valve531.steamcontent.com;valve523.steamcontent.com;valve524.steamcontent.com;valve507.steamcontent.com;valve560.steamcontent.com;valve567.steamcontent.com;valve513.steamcontent.com;valve1601.steamcontent.com;valve164.steamcontent.com;valve1615.steamcontent.com;valve1602.steamcontent.com;valve1604.steamcontent.com;valve1608.steamcontent.com;valve1603.steamcontent.com;valve1606.steamcontent.com;valve1609.steamcontent.com;valve1618.steamcontent.com;valve1617.steamcontent.com;valve1613.steamcontent.com;valve1607.steamcontent.com;valve1611.steamcontent.com;valve1614.steamcontent.com;valve1619.steamcontent.com;valve1616.steamcontent.com;valve1612.steamcontent.com;valve1610.steamcontent.com;valve165.steamcontent.com;valve1605.steamcontent.com;valve954.steamcontent.com;valve955.steamcontent.com;valve904.steamcontent.com;valve901.steamcontent.com;valve957.steamcontent.com;valve953.steamcontent.com;valve956.steamcontent.com;valve950.steamcontent.com;valve905.steamcontent.com;valve952.steamcontent.com;valve902.steamcontent.com;valve907.steamcontent.com;valve958.steamcontent.com

Save and close the file. If you’re a Windows user you may see a message saying that you can’t save the edited file at the given location. If so, simply save the new config.vdf file on your desktop. Move the so saved file to the Steam config directory afterwards.

Conclusion

I’m unable to tell you why Steam sometimes isn’t able to find the Content servers on it’s own. The list above represents the content servers provided by Valve. The list of servers could change in the future of course. But right now, the workaround gives you the capability to download and update your Steam games again.
If you know more about this issue, especially why it actually occurs on some installations, please let me know in the comment section below.

Further links

 

bookmark_borderTime-controlled shutdown/reboot of Linux or Windows

Time-controlled shutdowns or reboots are needed many times. For example you want to go to sleep. However, Steam is still updating your installed games. You want to have your Steam games ready updated when you’re waking up again. You look into your Steam download queue and you find out that it just needs two more hours. With a time-controlled shutdown you can go to sleep without interrupting this update process. This short article describes how to shutdown or restart your Linux or Windows machine by a given time.

Time-controlled shutdown/reboot on Linux

Shutdown

The good thing here is that every Linux distribution can execute this commands. They are the same on every distribution and every system. So, with the following command you tell your Linux distribution to shutdown your computer after 2 hours automatically:

user@machine:~$ sudo shutdown -h 120

The command shutdown speaks for itself. With the parameter -h you tell the shutdown command to power off the computer. The alternative would be halt. Still today some PCs aren’t turning off the power when they receive a halt. With the poweroff signal however, the PC is totally powering off. The number, after the -h switch, is the time in minutes when the PC should power off from now on. In this example this would be 120 minutes. You could also directly enter a time here. In the following example the PC would power off at 21:45:

user@machine:~$ sudo shutdown -h 21:45

And if you want to shutdown your machine right now, you can use the word NOW:

user@machine:~$ sudo shutdown -h NOW
Reboot

With the same shutdown command you can also do a reboot. To do so, simply replace the -h switch with -r. The following example reboots the computer after 120 minutes (two hours):

user@machine:~$ sudo shutdown -r 120

You can also enter a time here as well:

user@machine:~$ sudo shutdown -r 21:45

And as you may have seen the pattern, the following command restarts the PC right now:

user@machine:~$ sudo shutdown -r NOW
Cancel an active shutdown or reboot

If you entered a time-controlled shutdown or reboot and you want to cancel it for whatever reason, simply use the shutdown command with the -c switch like this:

user@machine:~$ sudo shutdown -c

Time-controlled shutdown/reboot on Windows

In order to do a time-controlled shutdown or reboot on Windows, we need a terminal window. This can be easily opened with pressing the keyboard combination Windows+R. In the following window enter cmd and click OK:

Time-controlled shutdown start cmd
The run window

 
Afterwards you will see a console terminal which looks like this:
Time-controlled shutdown cmd started
A command line in Windows 7

Shutdown

For a time-controlled shutdown under Windows, there is (just like in Linux) the tool shutdown available. The following command would shutdown your Windows PC in 2 hours:

C:\Users\testuser> shutdown /s /t 1200

Like in Linux, the /s switch tells your PC to shutdown / power off. The /t switch tells the shutdown command in how many seconds the PC should shutdown. If you want to shutdown your PC „immediately“, simply omit the /t switch like this:

C:\Users\testuser> shutdown /s

The PC will then shutdown within the next 60 seconds (which is the default value when executing the shutdown command without a timer under Windows).

Restart

For restarting, replace the /s switch with the /r switch. For e.g., this will trigger a reboot after two hours:

C:\Users\testuser> shutdown /r /t 1200

Or to trigger a reboot right now (60 seconds):

C:\Users\testuser> shutdown /r
Cancel an active shutdown or reboot

If you entered the wrong time for the shutdown / reboot or if you simply changed your mind, enter the following command to cancel the active shutdown / reboot:

C:\Users\myuser> shutdown /a

Conclusion

For a lot of people, shutting down or rebooting the PC at a specific time is a very needed feature. I’m the best example for this kind of person. Since I’ve moved to my new living place, the internet is only a twentieth of were it was before. This means that downloading games through Steam are time and bandwidth consuming. But starting the download right before I go to bed and use the shutdown command to plan a shutdown helps a little bit. Over night my bandwidth can be fully used by the Steam so that nobody gets distracted. When the download is finished, my system is shutting down which saves energy and protects the hardware. So knowing how to shutdown your PC at a specific time is a „must know“. And now you know as well 🙂
Do you have any thoughts about this topic you want to share? Are you actively using time-controlled shutdown or reboots? Let me know in the comments below.

Further links

bookmark_borderRead Manga on Amazon Kindle and other eReaders

Do you like Manga? Do you also like to use eBook readers for reading text based books? Well, today you can combine these two things. With the help of the right tools you can bring your Manga on Amazon Kindle or any other eBook reader of your choice. This article gives you a step-by-step guide how to get your Manga books eReader ready.
This tutorial should also work for Comics. However, I’m a Manga reader and therefore don’t have a Comic ready to test. This means that this article focuses on Manga on Amazon Kindle / eBook readers only.

Why not just a tablet?

It’s correct that the most easiest and viable option would be to buy a 8-inches or 10-inches tablet. For e.g. the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8 or Kindle Fire HD 10 would be a cheap and viable option. However, personally I don’t like to stare at an LCD or IPS display all the time while reading. It’s simply too straining for my eyes. E-Ink displays are the complete opposite. They are great for reading and give you a feeling that you’re actually reading a book. You can also read with these E-Ink screens outside. You will have zero reflection. Also, the battery is lasting much longer with one load cycle than a tablet.
In summary we can say, that tablets can be used for a lot of things like watching videos, listening to music, browsing the web and reading Comics and Manga. eReaders on the other hand are designed for one thing: Reading books. The biggest benefit for the eReaders are the display and the long lasting battery. However, you have to decide on your own if you want a multi purpose device or a device which does only one thing but gets this done right.

Can every eBook reader render Manga correctly?

There are some limitations when it comes to the eReader you should use. When I’m talking about Manga on Amazon Kindle or other eReader devices, I’m talking about the HD variants. While you can convert your Manga to a first gen Amazon Kindle for example, it will be difficult to almost impossible to read the Manga. The reason for that is, that the resolution of the screen from the earlier Kindle and eBook readers isn’t able to show that much pixels in order to render the pictures and fonts in a way a human eye can read it. I for myself am a Tolino Shine 2 HD user. This device has a 300 ppi screen and renders the Manga books perfectly. Devices with a similar or even better resolution like a Tolino Shine 2 HD for example are:

There are plenty other readers and this list is just a short overview of possible alternatives. Pick the one which suits best to you (if you haven’t one already). But keep in mind that the most important thing is an HD display (300 ppi / DPI) to get your Manga rendered correctly.

Kindle Comic Converter makes Manga and Comics eReader ready

Now that you’ve your eBook reader of choice ready, we can start converting the Manga. For this we use a tool which is called Kindle Comic Converter. This tools does not comes from Amazon nor does the developers have anything to do with them.
But why would you even want to convert the Manga before transferring them to your eReader? For the Amazon Kindle devices this answer is simple. The most Manga are published as a PDF or ePub file. These file types aren’t supported by the Amazon Kindle eBook readers. Therefore, you have to convert it into a so called MOBI file. But the most important reason is to resize the Manga to the screen size of your eBook reader. If you transfer your Manga to your eBook reader and simply start reading it, the Manga doesn’t automatically fits itself to the screen size of your eBook reader. Look at this picture for example where a unconverted ePub files is opened by a tolino shine 2 HD:

Manga on Kindle not optimized
Not optimized Manga on a tolino shine 2 HD (click to enlarge)

As you can see, the Manga is cut in halves due to the screen size. The rest of the Manga simply didn’t got rendered. And this is where Kindle Comic Converter comes into play. With the help of this tool you will be able to get a result like this:
Manga on Kindle optimized
Same page but optimized on a tolino shine 2 HD (click to enlarge)

Kindle Comic Converter is a free and open source software which converts CBZ, PDF, ZIP, RAR and a list of JPEG pictures into an ePub or MOBI format. It’s available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. The following chapters are covering how to install and use it.

Installation of Kindle Comic Converter

The installation of the Kindle Comic Converter software is rather simple. The following chapters are describing how to install under Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.

Linux

If you are a Debian, Linux Mint or Ubuntu user, you can download the Debian package for your distribution version from the official homepage and install it like that:

user@machine:~$ sudo dpkg -i kindlecomicconverter_5.4.5_distri_amd64.deb
user@machine:~$ sudo apt-get -f install

However, the following method works for all Linux distribution. It downloads and installs automatically all dependencies which are needed. The only requirement is that the Python package installer for Python 3 is available on your system. But in order to get all features of the Kindle Comic Converter software working, we also install the packages unrar and p7zip. These two packages allows Kindle Comic Converter to extract ZIP and RAR based files. For openSUSE simply enter this:

user@machine:~$ sudo zypper ref && sudo zypper in python3-pip unrar p7zip

For Debian, Linux Mint and Ubuntu you can install it with this command:

user@machine:~$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install python3-pip unrar p7zip-full

Now that you’ve installed the Python package installer, you can finally install Kindle Comic Converter as well. This command is equals on every Linux distribution:

user@machine:~$ sudo pip3 install KindleComicConverter

After some minutes or seconds (depending on your internet speed), the installation is finished and you can enter the kcc on command line in order to start Kindle Comic Converter.

Windows

As a Windows user you may already be used to download and install software with a typical installer. The Kindle Comic Converter software also comes with such a installer. Simply download the installer from the official homepage and click yourself through the installation process.

Mac OS X

You can download the Mac OS X dmg file from the official homepage. After the download is finished, you can open the downloaded file and drag the content into your applications just like with the other software you’ve installed.

Only for Kindle users: Download and install kindlegen

kindlegen is an additional piece of software which allows the Kindle Comic Converter software to convert the output to a so called MOBI file. MOBI is the proprietary format that Amazon uses on their Kindle devices. This also means that this software is only needed if you’re using an Amazon Kindle eBook reader.
In order to install kindlegen on your PC or Mac, you have to download it from here for your operating system and move it to the following places:

  • For Windows: If you’re a Windows user, extract the downloaded ZIP file and move the kindlegen.exe into the directory where you installed Kindle Comic Converter. By default this directory is  C:\Program Files\Kindle Comic Converter. Restart Kindle Comic Converter if it’s actually running.
  • For Linux: As a Linux user, you have to extract the GZ archive and move the binary to the directory /usr/local/bin. This can done on command line easily:
    user@machine:~$ wget http://kindlegen.s3.amazonaws.com/kindlegen_linux_2.6_i386_v2_9.tar.gz
    user@machine:~$ tar xfvz kindlegen_linux_2.6_i386_v2_9.tar.gz
    user@machine:~$ sudo mv kindlegen /usr/local/bin
  • For Mac OS X: Amazon also provides kindlegen for OS X. However, I’m unable to do more testing here because I don’t have a Mac (anymore). The developer of Kindle Comic Converter recommends using the homebrew installer brew to install kindlegen on a Mac OS X device. Enter the following command in order to install kindlegen with brew:
    user@osx:~$ brew cask install kindlegen

Convert Manga to ePub format

Now that you have everything prepared you can finally start converting your Manga into a ePub format suiting to your eBook Reader. To do so, start Kindle Comic Converter. For OS X and Windows simply start the application as you’re used to. For Linux, simply enter the command kcc on the command line. You should see a window which looks like this:

KCC start window
KCC start window

To convert a PDF, CBZ, CBR, ZIP or RAR file, click on Add file and select the Manga you want to convert. As already mentioned a lot of Manga are published either as a PDF or CBZ file. However, if the Manga you want to convert is already a ePub file, simply change the ending .epub into .zip. You will then be able to add the renamed file to Kindle Comic Converter.
After adding a file, you have a various list of options to choose from. The first one is the option to the left hand of the Convert button. Here you can choose a device where you want to convert the Manga for. There are a various of presets available for many Kindle and Kobo devices. If your device isn’t listed you can always choose the option Other. If you choose the Other option you can set a custom width and height at the bottom. Enter the resolution of your eBook reader here.
Another option you have to set in order to read the Manga on your eBook reader is the Manga mode. This mode adds support for right-to-left reading which is absolutely necessary for any Manga of course.
The right drop down menu next to the Convert button is the output file format. If you have an Amazon Kindle device it’s recommend to choose the MOBI/AZW3 option here. If you’re a tolino, NOOK, Pocketbook, etc. user you should choose ePub instead.
All other settings can be ignored for now. They are providing additional features which aren’t needed in order to get a Manga readable on an eBook reader. You can finally click on Convert. You will then see a dialog where you have to select the destination path for the output file.
Note: The developers are providing a Wiki page where a lot of users already reported which settings would be optimal for specific eBook readers. You can checkout it out here. Your eBook reader is maybe already listed there as well.

Transfer your converted Manga to your eReader

For non Kindle users, this is business as usual. Most of the modern eReaders are shown as a USB storage device when you connect them to your PC or Mac. Simply move the created ePub to the eReader via your file browser and that’s it. The Manga should pop up within a second in the library of your eReader.
As an Amazon Kindle user however, you have two options:

  1. You can use the „personal“ mail address of your Amazon Kindle device. Just mail your MOBI file to the given address. It should pop up within a few minutes as long as your Kindle device is connected to the internet. You can see the mail address of your Kindle device under the settings menu. Most of the times it starts with your first name combined with a random number and ends with @kindle.com.
  2. Use a tool like Calibre to send your files to your Kindle. Calibre is a eBook suite which can be considered as a virtual shelf for eBooks. Calibre itself supports converting to different file formats which are eBook reader friendly like ePub. Calibre is also free and open source software.

Where to buy eBook Manga?

While going into a store to buy the Manga you want to read is easy and self explaining, the question „Where can I buy Manga eBooks?“ is something that has to be answered. One valid option for almost every country is Amazon. Amazon offers a wide range of Manga eBooks. Even older volumes are published here again digital. Buying on Amazon works great as long as you’re an Amazon Kindle user. If you’re like me and you use another eReader you would have to download the Manga onto your computer, convert the .mobi file extension into an ePub and convert it from there on. I’ve seen some people posting that Amazon also offers PDF based Manga. However, I can’t confirm nor deny that right now.
But besides Amazon there are also other vendors available. For US customers, Barnes & Nobles are offering eBook based Manga and Comics. In Germany there are vendors like buecher.de and thalia.de which are both selling eBook Manga and Comics. But that’s just a very short list. There are even more alternatives available. Even the Humble Bundle comes up with a Manga and Comic eBook bundle from time to time. The last bundle included over 30 Manga volumes for just 18$.

Conclusion

As someone who collects video games, I understand that someone who is really passionate when it comes to collecting Manga or Comics buying digital isn’t an alternative. For me as someone who just likes to read Manga, the digital way of reading them is a more handy, cheaper, ecological and space saving solution. For everyone who doesn’t care if the Manga is digital or physical, I really recommend you to check out an eBook reader for reading Manga. Sadly I’m unable to tell if a 6″ to 7″ eReader is also acceptable for comics. I will most likely test this in the future but I guess that the experience isn’t the same because of the missing colors with the e-Ink displays (there are no eReaders with e-Ink displays available as of today).
What do you think about digital Manga or Comics? Do you see this as a viable option? Or do you stick to the physical version? Let me know in the comments section below.

Further links

bookmark_borderPrevent / Block package updates under Ubuntu / Debian

Did you know that you can block package updates under Ubuntu and Debian? Let’s say you have a lot of packages installed on your Ubuntu / Debian system and (for whatever reason) you want that specific packages aren’t getting updated whenever you do a system upgrade. This short article is going to show you how to prevent this packages from being updated.

APT or Aptitude: Both can block package updates

Debian / Ubuntu basically has two ways to manage packages. To be more specific there are two package managers which can be used on the console for updating, installing and removing packages / software under your Ubuntu / Debian systems. These two solutions are APT and Aptitude. This article describes how to prevent packages from being updated with both solutions. If you don’t know which of those two you should go with: Simply go with the APT tools (apt-get, apt-mark, apt-cache, …).

How to prevent packages from being updated.

You can always prevent packages from being updated with the help of APT. APT comes with every Ubuntu / Debian installation, so the following command should definitely work on any Debian / Ubuntu based system:

user@system:~$ sudo apt-mark hold <name of the package>

You have to change <name of the package> with the package you want to hold of course. So for e.g. if you want to prevent vlc from getting updated, the command would look like this:

user@system:~$ sudo apt-mark hold vlc

If you’re and Aptitude user instead, the command (with the exact same result) looks like this:

user@system:~$ sudo aptitude hold vlc

If you now update your system with the classical apt-get upgrade command for e.g., the package vlc isn’t going to be upgraded. APT, as well as Aptitude, will echo a notice which is saying that the package has been prevented from being updated.

How to unhold the package?

So, to hold a package is rather easy. But what to do when you want to unhold this package in order to get it updated again? If we use our vlc package from the example above again, the command to unhold and make a package available for an update with APT looks like this:

user@system:~$ sudo apt-mark unhold vlc

Again, the same command with the exact same result in Aptitude does look like this:

user@system:~$ sudo aptitude unhold vlc

But why to hold a package anyway?

You may ask yourself why you should hold a package anyway. Well, there are several reasons to do this. For e.g. sometimes you update a package and after this update the software doesn’t work as expected. So if you encounter a problem after an update on a test system, you could hold / block the specific package which causes you trouble on a production system before updating that system. Another example would be that you might have to check the configuration files first before updating a specific software. However, you want to install the latest security updates for the other installed packages. With holding the package you can update the other packages without touching the once you block.
Of course there are many other reasons why holding a package is a useful and a needed feature. You can also do this with a graphical solution like Synaptics. However, the console way of block package updates is much more easier and faster (IMHO) 😉

Further links

bookmark_borderSSH as a proxy on Windows, Mac or Linux

You can do a lot of things with SSH besides working securely remote on machines. I’ve already covered at another article how to tunnel (port forwarding) through SSH. This time we’re looking at a way to use SSH as a proxy.

SSH: A tool not only to do remote work

SSH (Secure Shell) is mostly used to do maintenance on your Linux machines. However, over the years the capabilities of SSH has been extended from a simple secure „remote maintenance protocol“ to a utility which is capable of doing things like X-Forwarding (for forwarding graphical application), port forwarding or providing a SOCKS proxy.

Why do you even want to use an proxy server?

Proxy servers are helpful in a lot of ways. For e.g. if you’re staying some nights in a hotel or you’re in any other public Wireless LAN which blocks a specific website you want to visit a proxy will help you to surpass the filter. Or if you are forced to use techniques like DSLight, were you have to share a single IPv4 address with other users. Or to unblock videos on Netflix which are blocked in your country. You see, the situations where a proxy server is helping you are almost countless.
But why would you want to „setup“ an proxy server on your own? The simple answer is, that a lot of the public proxy servers are simply overloaded. They have to handle so much traffic that you sometime barely be able to get 50% of your normal internet speed while using one of these public proxy servers. Besides this, using SSH as a proxy is really easy.

How start a SOCKS proxy server by using SSH

In order to establish a SSH connection to your server which will then be an SOCKS proxy, you have to have the SSH server installed on the server side and the client software on the client side of course.

Using SSH as a proxy on Linux or Mac

For Linux or Mac you can use the SSH client command which is integrated in both systems. The following command would start an SSH connection, where your SOCKS proxy would then be locally reachable on port 19999 (19999 is just an suggestion and can be changed to almost everything starting from 1024 to 49151 (so called „user ports“)) :

user@client:~$ ssh -D 19999 user@server

After the connection has been successfully established, configure your browser to use the proxy server (follow the instructions below).

Using SSH as a proxy on Windows

Windows doesn’t comes with an SSH command integrated. This means we need an additional software in order to get connected and use the SSH server as a proxy. My recommendation here is PuTTY. PuTTY is a lightweight SSH client for Windows, which is the counterpart of the SSH command on Linux / Mac. You can download it here. After the download is finished, start PuTTY and enter the server you want to connect to like this:

Hostname you want to connect to

Navigate to Connection –> SSH –> Tunnels and enter the port 19999 in the Source port field (19999 is just an suggestion and can be almost everything starting from 1024 to 49151 (so called „user ports“)). After you’ve entered the desired port number, ensure that you’ve selected Dynamic instead of Local:
Settings to tell SSH to create a SOCKS proxy

Click on the button Add in order to tell PuTTY to actually use the given information for the next connection. If you clicked on Add, you should see the port number you have chosen with the letter D in the upper box. If you’ve done this as well, you’re ready to connect to your server. After the connection is successfully established, go on and configure your browser (follow the instructions below).

Configure Firefox / Google Chrome to use the SOCKS proxy

Now that we’ve connected successfully to our server via SSH, we can actually use the SOCKS proxy which has been provided with the actual SSH connection.

Configuring Firefox to use the SOCKS proxy

Click on the upper right options Symbol (represented as three horizontal lines) and click on Preferences. On the upcoming window, select General and scroll down until you see the context Network proxy. Click on Settings and enter your SOCKS proxy details like this:

Firefox proxy settings

Ensure that you’ve checked the box Use this proxy server for all protocols. After you’ve clicked on OK you’re ready to go. Use portals like BearsMyIp to check if you’re actually surfing through your SSH SOCKS proxy tunnel.
Configuring Google Chrome (or Chromium) to use the SOCKS proxy
For Googles Chrome browser you have to use the command line in order to set your SOCKS proxy. This includes Windows users as well. To start Googles Chrome using your SSH SOCKS proxy start the browser like this:

google-chrome --socks-proxy="socks5://localhost:19999"

The windows command line may look like this:

google-chrome.exe --socks-proxy="socks5://localhost:19999"

Of course you can change google-chrome to chromium if you’re an Chromium user instead.

Final words

An proxy server does have it’s advantages. However, public proxies are sometimes overloaded and you will recognize that as a significantly slow down of your internet connection when you start using them. As an alternative you can use SSH as a simple and fast way to make yourself an SOCKS proxy. Using SSH as a SOCKS proxy is a lot easier than configuring an Apache with Squid for e.g.. If you have a server and you need a proxy, I highly recommend you to use SSH in order to get a safe, fast and stable proxy server with a single command or a few clicks.

Further links