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Sep 7, 2012

Use Firefox profiles to switch proxy settings

My 2 cents on how to easily switch between different proxy settings in Windows Firefox.

Switching proxy settings in Windows is a pain. For every application that connects to the Internet, you need to set the proxy individually. If you use your laptop on different connections with different proxy configurations then this really becomes bothersome.

Since the browser is the most often used application to connect to the Internet, I will show you how to switch proxy settings easily and painlessly in Firefox.

Using profiles

There are several ways to go about it, for example you can use add-ons or proxy automatic configuration (pac) scripts, but in this post I will show you how to do it with the aid of Firefox profiles.

Firefox has a profile manager that allows you to create multiple "user profiles". Each profile can have its own settings and bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, etc.

The main idea is to create different profiles for the different proxy settings you use. Each profile will contain its own proxy settings. To switch setting simply use the profile you need.

Chrome users can also create profiles in Chrome and you may want to explore this option too. Check this article1 on how to create profiles in Chrome.

Firefox Profile Manager

To invoke the Firefox Profile Manager, display the Run dialog box (Windows + R) and type firefox -p.

By default, there is only one profile. You can create more by clicking the Create Profile button. As shown in the example, I have three profiles created, one for school, one for direct no proxy configuration and another one I use for special projects. Make sure to uncheck the Don't ask at startup checkbox.

Once, you have created profiles, you can then proceed with customizing each profile. Select the profile you want to configure, click start Firefox and this will launch Firefox. When Firefox is fully launched, proceed with the configuration of the proxy settings, bookmarks, etc. These are automatically saved in the profile that you opened. To configure another profile, restart Firefox, select a different profile and configure as necessary.

If you don't know how to set the proxy configurations for Firefox, you can go to this site2 for instructions.

Once you have configured your profiles, the next time you launch Firefox, all you have to do is to select a profile and all your settings saved for that profile, including your proxy settings, is loaded automatically.


  1. How to Create Separate Profiles in Google Chrome for Family Members 

  2. How to Enter Proxy Settings in Firefox 

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