October 9, 2012 / IST / How-to Guides, Tips & Tricks.

If you are unable to access a particular website, either due to government censorship (for instance, IMDB.com is blocked in China) or because your employer has blocked the site (hoping that it will make people more productive), you can use an online proxy server to quickly and easily bypass the filters.

There are tons of proxies available online and most of them are free (supported by advertising), but if you would like to keep things under your own control, without revealing your tracks to a third-party website, you can build your own proxy site using WordPress.

Turn your WordPress Site into a Proxy Server

It takes less than a minute to set things up and all you need is a website (or blog) running WordPress.org software and the free RePress plugin – ‘repress’ here is short for ‘repressive’ as in ‘repressive regimes.’

Step 1: Make sure that Permalinks are enabled for your WordPress installation. Open your WordPress admin dashboard, choose Settings -> Permalinks and select any format for your Permalinks other than the default option. Save the changes.

Step 2: From the dashboard itself, go to Plugins -> Add New and search for Repress in the WordPress plugin repository. Install and activate the plugin.

Step 3: Next we need to whitelist website domains that should be accessible though our new WordPress based proxy server. Go to Settings -> Repress and add one or more domain names that you would like to access from work. Save.

Your proxy server is now ready for use. If your WordPress site URL is abc.com, you can access a site like nytimes.com using the URL http://abc.com/proxy/nytimes.com. All the internal links on the NYT website are rewritten to be served though the proxy site.

Internally, this proxy server is based on the open-source PHPProxy project but it is easier to deploy since it uses the WordPress plugin architecture. The proxied web pages are served with the NoIndex, NoFollow header and hence search engines are unlikely to notice them.

That said, it might be a good idea to deploy this on a separate WordPress install as too many proxy requests may put strain on your main website.