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The St Andrews web proxy cache

What is a proxy cache?

A Web proxy cache is a mechanism for speeding up accesses to frequently used pages on the web and for reducing web traffic. Web browsers contact their local proxy cache to request a Web page and the cache stores the retrieved page on its local disk. The next person to access the same page is served the local copy from the cache, at local network speeds. If the page requested isn't in our local caches then the request is forwarded to the server specified in the URL.

The second function of the proxy cache is the proxying function - in this case the proxy acts on behalf of your machine and requests the page, or ftp download, or CGI request, from the remote web server (or ftp server etc.) This is normally used where client machines do not have direct access to the Internet, possibly for security or policy reasons, but it also makes the job of caching possible.

What happens to out-of-date pages?

The proxy cache checks the original page to see if it has changed since it was cached; if it has changed, the cache downloads the newer version. If it hasn't changed then the cached copy is served. The protocol exchange to get the page's details takes much less time than retrieving the page itself.

How do I configure my browser?

PCs in the computer classrooms are set up automatically to use the proxy cache. There are two methods of setting up your browser to use the proxy cache: automatically, using an Automatic Configuration Script, or manually by entering the settings yourself. Both methods are explained below. If you wish to set it up on your own computer then what to do depends on which internet browser you are using.

We advise you to use the Automatic Configuration Script. If you have a laptop which you use sometimes within the University network and sometimes outside (for example on broadband at home) the Automatic Configuration Script enables you to access the Internet without changing the settings on your computer.

Using the automatic configuration script

Microsoft Internet Explorer
  1. Select Internet Options in the Tools menu
  2. Select Connections
  3. Click on LAN Settings.
  4. Tick the box for Use automatic configuration script
    enter the URL, http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/st-and.proxy
  5. Click OK to accept the changes.
Mozilla Firefox
  1. Select Preferences in the Firefox menu (Mac) or Options in the Tools menu (Internet Explorer). You may need to click on the Advanced tab
  2. Choose Network
  3. Click on Settings... to show the Proxies field.
  4. Choose the Automatic proxy configuration URL
    enter http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/st-and.proxy
  5. Click OK to accept the changes.
Safari
  1. Select Preferences in the Safari menu
  2. Click on the Advanced tab
  3. Click on Proxies: Change Settings...
  4. Select the Automatic Proxy Configuration option
    enter http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/st-and.proxy.
  5. Click OK to accept the changes.

Setting up the proxy cache manually

Microsoft Internet Explorer
  1. Select Internet Options in the Tools menu.
  2. Select Connections
  3. Click on LAN Settings.
  4. Tick the check box for Proxy server
    enter the Proxy DNS Address and Proxy Port number as shown below:
    • Proxy DNS Hostname: wwwcache.st-andrews.ac.uk
    • Proxy Port: 8080
  5. Click Advanced...
  6. Tick the Use the same proxy for all protocols check box.
  7. Click OK to accept the changes.
Mozilla Firefox
  1. Select Preferences in the Firefox menu (Mac) or Options in the Tools menu (Internet Explorer).
  2. Click on the Advanced tab.
  3. Choose Network
  4. Click on Settings... to show the Proxies field.
  5. In the HTTP Proxy: and Port: boxes enter the Proxy DNS Hostname and Proxy Port number as shown below. 
    • Proxy DNS Hostname: wwwcache.st-andrews.ac.uk
    • Proxy Port: 8080
  6. Tick Use this proxy server for all protocols
  7. Click OK to accept the changes.
Safari
  1. Select Preferences in the Safari menu
  2. Click on the Advanced tab
  3. Click on Proxies: Change Settings...
  4. Select the Web Proxy (HTTP) option and enter
    • Web Proxy Server: wwwcache.st-andrews.ac.uk
    • Proxy Port: 8080
  5. Click OK to accept the changes.

Quick answers

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Contact the IT Service Desk

Log a call using IT Self-Service

itservicedesk@st-andrews.ac.uk
(01334 46) 3333

Level 2
University Library
North Street
St Andrews
Fife KY16 9TR

Opening Hours
Mon - Fri
: 08:30-18:00
(front desk support
from 09:00)

Sat: 10:00-17:00
Sun: 11:00-18:00

The IT Service Desk is closed
for staff training on Fridays
between 09:30 and 10:30