WhatsApp’s new proxy support and how to use it

WhatsApp says proxy connections would offer the same high level of privacy and security that WhatsApp regularly offers

The world’s most used messaging service, WhatsApp, announced on Thursday, January 5th, that it’s adding proxy connection support to the platform.

That means that in cases where your connection is blocked or disrupted, you’ll still be able to maintain access to WhatsApp to get in touch with your loved ones. Using a proxy allows you to connect to WhatsApp through servers that are established by volunteers and organizations committed to facilitating free communication.

Said proxy connections maintain the level of security WhatsApp normally offers. “Connecting via proxy maintains the high level of privacy and security that WhatsApp provides. Your personal messages will still be protected by end-to-end encryption — ensuring they stay between you and the person you’re communicating with and are not visible to anyone in between, not the proxy servers, WhatsApp, or Meta,” WhatsApp wrote in a blog post about the feature.

This comes soon after the Iranian government tried to block WhatsApp due to widespread protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. The feature is available to use globally, though its primary use case is to aid Iranians in keeping in touch.

To use a proxy server, you’ll need a proxy port — 80, 443 or 5222. To look for a proxy, according to WhatsApp, users will have to “search through social media or search engines for trusted sources that have created a proxy.” Since the feature is still new, not many people know about it. Once it becomes more widely known, finding proxy ports through volunteers and organizations on the internet shouldn’t be too difficult.

The proxy connection support is available for both iOS and Android users. Make sure you’re running the latest version of WhatsApp and follow the steps below:

On iPhone:

  1. Open WhatsApp and head to settings
  2. Tap on Storage and Data
  3. Tap on Proxy and enable the toggle
  4. Enter the proxy address and tap Save to connect
  5. If the proxy port is correct, you should see a Green checkmark to indicate that the connection is successful

On Android:

  1. Open WhatsApp and go to the Chats section
  2. Tap on More options and then Settings
  3. Tap Storage and Data and then on Proxy
  4. Tap Use Proxy and Set Proxy
  5. Enter the proxy address and tap Save to connect
  6. If the proxy port is correct, you should see a Green checkmark to indicate that the connection is successful

According to WhatsApp, using a third-party proxy will reveal the IP address of the user to the proxy provider. These types of proxies are not offered by the platform itself. Further, if you are unable to send or receive WhatsApp messages while using a proxy, it is possible that the proxy might have been blocked. To fix this, you can delete the blocked proxy address by long pressing it and then entering a new proxy address to try again.

For those interested in setting up a proxy to help others connect, check the Tweet below:

It’s worth noting that I haven’t been able to locate any created proxy. If and when found, this article will be updated.

It’s also worth noting that Signal has long allowed users to connect to its service and send/receive messages with a proxy connection. It added the feature for Android in February 2021 and iOS in September 2022. Learn more about Signal’s proxy support here.

Image credit: Shutterstock