Computing & Communications Center
Helpdesk

Using the WPI Proxy Server

Attention Library Users! On May 18th, the library, with the assistance of the IT Department, will begin using a new system called EZproxy that will make it easier to access electronic journals, electronic books, and databases from off campus. With EZproxy, off campus users will not have to configure their web browsers to point to the proxy server. Instead, you can simply go to the WPI Library website, click on the link to a database, electronic journal, or electronic book, and login to EZproxy with your WPI username (or your @wpi.edu email address) and password. For most resources, on campus users will not be prompted to login. Please see the Off Campus Access page for more information. Please contact the library if you have any questions about EZproxy or access to library resources.

What is a proxy server?

A proxy server is a middle man between the user's web browser and a web site. All connections run through the proxy server, making them appear to be from the WPI campus, even if the user is connecting via his or her home Internet service provider or from another remote location. Basically, the proxy makes the remote site think that the user is sitting at a computer on the WPI campus.

Please note that the proxy may not function properly if a connection is attempted from a corporate network. Businesses may have security in place to prevent proxys from working. You should consult the business's IT department if you experience issues.

Why should I use WPI's proxy server?

Access to many of the full text journals in the library's Electronic Journals collection, as well as some of the library's other networked resources and services, is limited to computers in WPI's Internet domain (130.215.*.*) due to subscription and licensing agreements. As a result, WPI faculty, staff, and students coming to the library's web pages from home or another remote site via third party Internet service providers have been unable to access these resources. WPI's IT department has set up the proxy server in order to extend access to WPI users connecting from home or other remote locations.

What do I need to do to use the proxy server?

You need to do two things:

  1. Configure your web browser to utilize the proxy server.
  2. Authenticate to the proxy with your UNIX username and password. You will be asked to do this only once during a web session.

Attention Distance Learning and other remote students: If you do not yet have a UNIX username and password, you can create one here. You must have your student PIN (personal identification number) in order to do this. If you do not recall your PIN, or if you do not have a PIN, you can reset it within Bannerweb or contact the Helpdesk.

How do I configure my web browser to use the proxy server?

Your web browser needs to know that you want to utilize WPI's proxy server. Instructions follow for configuring Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.x, Mozilla Firefox, or Netscape 8.x are linked below. For those not using one of these browsers, the proxies are on host proxy.wpi.edu, port 8080. Consult your web browser documentation or online support for the best way to configure browsers for proxies.

Video tutorial to configure the proxy server

The follow videos will show you how to configure the proxy server with your browser.

When should I use the proxy server?

Use the proxy when you are attempting to access electronic journals or other library resources restricted to the WPI domain through a third party Internet provider. These resources contain this or a similar notation: WPI users MUST be using a computer in the WPI domain (130.215.*.*) in order to access the full text of this journal!

When shouldn't I use the proxy server

Ordinarily it is not necessary to utilize the proxy server from a campus computer (i.e. , those in the WPI domain 130.215.*.*). By default, connections from on-campus computers will be denied by the proxy. Exceptions can be made by IP address or by user name if needed for research or administration. Please direct such requests to the WPI Helpdesk.

When wouldn't the WPI proxy server work for me?

There may be circumstances preventing you from accessing the WPI proxy server that are beyond the control of the WPI Library or the CCC.

Some older versions of browsers or browsers provided by online service providers may not support proxies. Check your browser documentation or your online service provider's technical support, or upgrade to one of the more recent browser versions that supports proxies.

If your Internet provider utilizes a firewall to filter access to and from its network, then you may already be using a proxy, and this may prevent connections through the WPI proxy server. Some corporate networks and commercial Internet service providers employ their own proxies and firewalls. If this is the case, check with your local network support personnel to see if there is a way to work around this situation, or consider using a service provider that does not use firewalls or proxies.

I use AOL as my Internet Service Provider, why doesn't the proxy server work?

The AOL browser does not support the required proxy server configuration. Most computers running Windows, all have Microsoft Internet Explorer installed already. The icon for Internet Explorer is Internet Explorer Icon. You should be able to follow the instructions for configuring Microsoft Internet Explorer to gain access to the proxy server, instead of using the browser included with AOL.

What if I have questions about using the proxy server?

Please contact the Helpdesk if you have questions about WPI's proxy server. Please contact your Internet provider about how to configure their browser to utilize a proxy. Please contact the Gordon Library for any other questions related to Electronic Journals or other online library resources.

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Last modified: May 14, 2013, 13:21 EDT
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