WhatsApp has officially launched proxy support for all iOS, Android, and web users, worldwide. The feature is especially for those users who are denied access to WhatsApp services by authoritarian regimes, via internet shutdowns, to stay connected to their loved ones through proxy servers.
A proxy server works as an intermediary server that takes data from an internet source. Working as an additional security layer, it allows users to bypass geo-block, anonymous web browsing, and regulate web requests.
The company ensures that communication via proxy server is protected with end-to-end encryption and is not shared with anyone else, not WhatsApp, Meta, and proxy servers.
Previously, WhatsApp listed that its service was not designed to be used with a proxy or VPN and it did not support those configurations. However, the service’s shutdown during the protests in Iran demanding justice for 22-years old Masha Amini who died in police custody convinced the company to change its policy.
Our wish for 2023 is that these internet shutdowns never occur. Disruptions like we’ve seen in Iran for months on end deny people’s human rights and cut people off from receiving urgent help. Though in case these shutdowns continue, we hope this solution helps people wherever there is a need for secure and reliable communication.
How to enable a proxy server for WhatsApp
Now, an option to connect to WhatsApp via proxy is available in the app’s settings menu. Here is how users with internet access can search for a proxy through search engines and social media.
- Make sure that the app is updated to the latest version.
- Open the Chats tab and tap on the three dots “More options” button to access Settings.
- In the Settings menu, tap on Storage and Data > Proxy > Use Proxy.
- Enter the proxy address and tap save.
- When connected successfully, a green check mark will appear.
However, if WhatsApp does not work using a particular proxy that means it has been blocked. Users should long press on the blocked proxy address to remove and enter a new proxy address.
iOS users must keep in mind that using a third-party proxy will share their IP address with the proxy provider.
How to set up a proxy for WhatsApp
WhatsApp explains that when WhatsApp is blocked or the internet is shut down in a region, users can enable a proxy that will connect them to servers set up by organizations and volunteers from around the world to communicate freely.
If you wish to establish a proxy server for WhatsApp users, simply set up a proxy using a server with ports 80, 443, or 5222 available and a domain name (or subdomain) that points to the server’s IP address.
The company has shared detailed documentation and source code on GitHub here.