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May 12, 2012





Proxy Auto Config for Firefox (PAC)



A PAC file is a set of instructions telling a client browser what paths to take when a certain condition are met. You could direct a internal browser to use a proxy server to access certain restricted internal websites for example. You can also filter URLs and use the PAC file as a simple anti-ad or anti-porn filter redirecting filtered URLs to localhost.





Why would I need a proxy auto config (PAC) file? How can it help me?

Controlling how users across an organization connect to the Internet and intranets can be a tricky task to administer. You could have clients at different physical locations which all need to traverse different proxies, internal sites you need them to access directly or roaming users who sometimes work from their own connections at home.

If you're looking to block on-line site ads and offensive Web content, you don't need to buy special software -- instead, you can use a PAC file for any browser. Few web sites host their own banner ads. Typically they sign up with ad servers that deliver content and track views and clicks. Thus you can block most web site ads by blocking a fairly limited number of ad servers. You can also block other sites serving objectionable content.

This is where a PAC (proxy auto config and sometime referred to as a proxy access control) file comes in. With this one file you can control how all of your clients access the web. Most of the modern browsers will use a PAC file without any problems.

A proxy auto-config (PAC) file defines how web browsers and other user agents can automatically choose the appropriate proxy server (access method) for fetching a given URL.

A PAC file contains a JavaScript function "FindProxyForURL(url, host)". This function returns a string with one or more access method specifications. These specifications cause the user agent to use a particular proxy server or to connect directly.

Multiple specifications provide a fallback when a proxy fails to respond. The browser fetches this PAC file before retrieving other pages. The URL of the PAC file is either configured manually or determined automatically by the Web Proxy Autodiscovery Protocol. Wikipedia Proxy Auto Config

Proxy Automatic Configuration (PAC) files were introduced by Netscape with the release of JavaScript back in 1996, and all modern browsers support them, including Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera. PAC files consist of JavaScript defining the function FindProxyForURL(url, host), and are saved with the file type .pac. The return value for this function says whether to use a proxy for this URL, a SOCKS proxy, or connect directly. If your browser is configured to use a PAC file, the FindProxyForURL function is called every time your browser attempts to access a URL, even if JavaScript is turned off in your browser.

Lets take a look at a few examples.





Example 1: Simple proxy

This is the simplest PAC file. It will direct the client to use the proxy server (proxy = "PROXY 192.168.1.100:8080") when they try to access the URL "*.domain.home" or "*.whatsmyip.org". Any other URL requests would be directly requested without the use of a proxy server. You are welcome to copy-paste this example.

// Calomel.org Proxy Auto-Config
//

//
// Define the network paths (direct, proxy and deny)
//

// Default connection
var direct = "DIRECT";

// Alternate Proxy Server
var proxy = "PROXY 192.168.1.100:8080";

// Default localhost for denied connections
var deny = "PROXY 127.0.0.1:65535";

//
// Proxy Logic
//

function FindProxyForURL(url, host)
{

// Use Proxy?
if (dnsDomainIs(host, ".domain.home")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".whatsmyip.org"))
  { return proxy; }
 else
  { return direct; }

// Default DENY
{ return deny; }

}





Example 2: Block Ads and Porn with a Proxy Auto-Config PAC file

This PAC files builds upon the first example. Clients will be directed the proxy server (proxy = "PROXY 192.168.1.100:8080") when they try to access the URL "*.domain.home" or "*.whatsmyip.org" and any other URL requests would be directly requested. We then add the ability to deny access to URL we do not want the client to access.

In this example we also have a long list of AD and adult sites we do not want our users to access. When a URL listed in the "Anti-ads and Anti-Porn" section is called on the request is redirected to localhost port 65535. In essence the request will always fail and the browser will immediately get a tcp reset. You are welcome to copy-paste this example.

// Calomel.org Proxy Auto-Config
//

//
// Define the network paths (direct, proxy and deny)
//

// Default connection
var direct = "DIRECT";

// Alternate Proxy Server
var proxy = "PROXY 192.168.1.100:8080";

// Default localhost for denied connections
var deny = "PROXY 127.0.0.1:65535";

//
// Proxy Logic
//

function FindProxyForURL(url, host)
{

// Use Proxy?
if (dnsDomainIs(host, ".domain.home")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".whatsmyip.org"))
  { return proxy; }

// Anti-ads and Anti-porn
if (dnsDomainIs(host, ".doubleclick.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".doubleclick.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".googlesyndication.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "google-analytics.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".rpts.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".crossmediaservices.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".safeclick.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".2mdn.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".2mdn.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".globaltrack.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".burstnet.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".adbureau.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".targetnet.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".humanclick.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".linkexchange.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".fastclick.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".fastclick.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".admonitor.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".focalink.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".websponsors.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".advertising.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".cybereps.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".postmasterdirect.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".mediaplex.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".adtegrity.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".bannerbank.ru")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".bannerspace.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".theadstop.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".l90.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".webconnect.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".avenuea.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".flycast.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".engage.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".imgis.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".datais.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".link4ads.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".247media.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".hightrafficads.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".tribalfusion.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".rightserve.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".admaximize.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".valueclick.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".adlibris.se")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".vibrantmedia.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".coremetrics.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".vx2.cc")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".webpower.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".everyone.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".zedo.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".bigbangmedia.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".ad-annex.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".iwdirect.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".adlink.de")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".bidclix.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".webclients.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".linkcounter.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".sitetracker.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".adtrix.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".netshelter.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".rn11.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".ru4.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "rightmedia.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".casalemedia.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".casalemedia.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "quantserve.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "crwdcntrl.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".commission-junction.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".qkimg.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".bluestreak.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".virtumundo.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".treeloot.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".memberprize.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".internetfuel.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".internetfuel.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".peoplecaster.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".cupidsdatabase.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".automotive-times.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".healthy-lifetimes.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".us-world-business.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".internet-2-web.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".my-job-careers.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".freeonline.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".exitfuel.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".netbroadcaster.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".spaceports.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".mircx.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".exitchat.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".atdmt.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".partner2profit.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".centrport.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".centrport.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".rampidads.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "commonwealth.riddler.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "banner.freeservers.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "usads.futurenet.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "banners.egroups.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "ngadclient.hearme.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "affiliates.allposters.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "adincl.go2net.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "webads.bizservers.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".addserv.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".falkag.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".interclick.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".atwola.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "toolbar.aol.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".adsdk.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "remotead.cnet.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".1st-dating.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".mousebucks.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".yourfreedvds.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".popupsavings.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".popupmoney.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".popuptraffic.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".popupnation.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".infostart.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".popupad.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".usapromotravel.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".goclick.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".trafficwave.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".popupad.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".paypopup.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".webtrendslive.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".wtlive.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".web-stat.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".superstats.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".allhits.ru")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".list.ru")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".counted.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".rankyou.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".clickcash.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".clickbank.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".paycounter.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".cashcount.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".clickedyclick.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".clickxchange.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".sitestats.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".site-stats.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".hitbox.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".exitdirect.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".realtracker.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".etracking.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".livestat.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".spylog.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".freestats.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".addfreestats.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".topclicks.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".mystat.pl")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".hitz4you.de")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".hitslink.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".thecounter.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".roiservice.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".overture.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".xiti.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".cj.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".anrdoezrs.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".hey.it")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".ppctracking.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".darkcounter.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".2o7.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".2o7.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".gostats.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".everstats.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".onestat.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".statcounter.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".trafic.ro")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".exitexchange.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "clicktorrent.info")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, "ventimedia.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".clickability.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".savethis.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".extremetracking.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".extreme-dm.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".netster.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".searchmarketing.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".friendgreetings.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".permissionedmedia.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".searchbarcash.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".zoomerang.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".quizrocket.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".aceshigh.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".idealcasino.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".casinobar.net")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".casinoionair.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".licensed-collectibles.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".webdesignprofessional.com")
  || dnsDomainIs(host, ".offshoreclicks.com"))
  { return deny; }
 else
  { return direct; }

// Default DENY
{ return deny; }

}





How do configure my client to use the Proxy Auto-Config PAC file ?

First, you need to make a copy of the PAC file you want to use. Then save it locally, lets say as calomel.pac. Just remember the path you save the pac file to so you can enter that path into the browser config as shown below.

NOTE: You can also put this pac file on a web server and have your users retrieve it over the network. This method is significantly easier to manage when you have more than just a few users.

Most modern browsers have the ability to use a proxy auto-config file. Here are few examples of how to configure the Mozilla products.

Firefox v3.x or above: automatic proxy configuration URL:

To use a PAC file with Firefox use the following instructions:

  1. Edit
  2. Preferences
  3. Advanced
  4. Network (tab)
  5. Connection Settings (button)
  6. automatic proxy configuration URL:
  7. ... enter the file path or URL into the blank like /tools/calomel.pac or http://example/calomel.pac

Firefox v2.x or above: automatic proxy configuration URL:

To use a PAC file with Firefox use the following instructions:

  1. Tools
  2. Options
  3. General
  4. Connection
  5. Connection Settings (button)
  6. ... enter the file path or URL into the blank like /tools/calomel.pac or http://example/calomel.pac

SeaMonkey: automatic proxy configuration URL:

To use a PAC file with SeaMonkey use the following instructions:

  1. Edit
  2. Preferences
  3. Advanced
  4. Proxies
  5. ... enter the file path or URL into the blank like /tools/calomel.pac or http://example/calomel.pac





Testing the PAC file

Now that you have a PAC file you can save it locally or publish it to HTTP server accessible to your users.

If you are going to use the PAC file locally then just save it and make note of the directory you place it in. For example, lets say you are using the PAC file from example number 2 above and saved it to /somedir/calomel.pac.

Or, you can put the file onto a HTTP server and serve out the PAC file over the network. This is really helpful if you have more than just a few users. Lets say the web server and file are called http://homelan/calomel.pac.

Next, you would add the path into the "automatic proxy configuration URL" in your browser.

Now, you need to goto a URL that will trigger a rule in the PAC file to make sure it works. If you used "example 2" from above then you may have notice that a URL containing the string "doubleclick" is denied. Try to goto http://www.doubleclick.com/ and see if the connection is denied. If so then the anti-ad rules are working.

That's about it. You can add more URLs or custom rules as needed. Just make sure to test everything thoroughly. You do not want to DOS your users due to a typo.





What Predefined and Environment Functions can be used in the PAC file ?

This is a listing with examples of the functions that you can use in your own PAC files. Not all functions are supported by all browsers, so it is best to test thoroughly before distributing your changes.

isPlainHostName(host)

isPlainHostName("www")
  is true.
isPlainHostName("www.example.com")
  is false.

dnsDomainIs(host, domain)

dnsDomainIs("www.example.com", ".example.com")
    is true.
dnsDomainIs("www", ".example.com")
    is false.
dnsDomainIs("www.tcom.com", ".example.com")
    is false.

localHostOrDomainIs(host, hostdom)

localHostOrDomainIs("www.example.com", "www.example.com")
    is true (exact match).
localHostOrDomainIs("www", "www.example.com")
    is true (hostname match, domain not specified).
localHostOrDomainIs("www.mcom.com", "www.example.com")
    is false (domain name mismatch).
localHostOrDomainIs("home.example.com", "www.example.com")
    is false (hostname mismatch).

isResolvable(host)

isResolvable("www.example.com")
    is true (unless DNS fails to resolve it due to a firewall or some other reason).
isResolvable("bogus.domain.foobar")
    is false.

isInNet(host, pattern, mask)

isInNet(host, "192.168.249.79", "255.255.255.255")
    is true if the IP address of host matches exactly 192.168.249.79.
isInNet(host, "192.168.0.0", "255.255.0.0")
    is true if the IP address of the host matches 192.168.*.*.

dnsResolve(host)

dnsResolve("home.example.com")
    returns the string "192.168.249.79". 

myIpAddress()

myIpAddress()
    would return the string "192.168.249.79" if you were running the Navigator on that host. 

dnsDomainLevels(host)

dnsDomainLevels("www")
    returns 0.
dnsDomainLevels("www.example.com")
    returns 2.

shExpMatch(str, shexp)

shExpMatch("http://home.example.com/people/ari/index.html", "*/ari/*")
    is true.
shExpMatch("http://home.example.com/people/montulli/index.html", "*/ari/*")
    is false.

weekdayRange(wd1, wd2, gmt)

weekdayRange("MON", "FRI")
    true Monday through Friday (local timezone).
weekdayRange("MON", "FRI", "GMT")
    same as above, but GMT timezone.
weekdayRange("SAT")
    true on Saturdays local time.
weekdayRange("SAT", "GMT")
    true on Saturdays GMT time.
weekdayRange("FRI", "MON")
    true Friday through Monday (note, order does matter!).

dateRange(day1, month1, day2, month2)

dateRange(1)
    true on the first day of each month, local timezone.
dateRange(1, "GMT")
    true on the first day of each month, GMT timezone.
dateRange(1, 15)
    true on the first half of each month.
dateRange(24, "DEC")
    true on 24th of December each year.
dateRange(24, "DEC", 1995)
    true on 24th of December, 1995.
dateRange("JAN", "MAR")
    true on the first quarter of the year.
dateRange(1, "JUN", 15, "AUG")
    true from June 1st until August 15th, each year (including June 1st and August 15th).
dateRange(1, "JUN", 15, 1995, "AUG", 1995)
    true from June 1st, 1995, until August 15th, same year.
dateRange("OCT", 1995, "MAR", 1996)
    true from October 1995 until March 1996 (including the entire month of October 1995 and March 1996).
dateRange(1995)
    true during the entire year 1995.
dateRange(1995, 1997)
    true from beginning of year 1995 until the end of year 1997.

timeRange(hour1, hour2)


timerange(12)
    true from noon to 1pm.
timerange(12, 13)
    same as above.
timerange(12, "GMT")
    true from noon to 1pm, in GMT timezone.
timerange(9, 17)
    true from 9am to 5pm.
timerange(8, 30, 17, 00)
    true from 8:30am to 5:00pm.
timerange(0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 30)
    true between midnight and 30 seconds past midnight.





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