☘☘☘ Letters by Vivek Rai
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Bypassing Proxy Servers

Using a DigitalOcean droplet, thanks to GitHub.

IIT Kharagpur uses a proxy server to enable outside internet connections. Whatever be the use case from the perspective of the institution, it is a nightmare to use for us students. Most of the standard ports are blocked resulting in SSH difficulties, accessing ill-fated websites, or inability to use programs that connect directory to a specific address or port. Further, not all applications honor the proxy settings further increasing your frustration, specially if you are a programmer.

After being bugged by this for around 3 years and having specific difficulties working on WIGI project, I finally decided to take care of this problem once and for all by purchasing myself a DigitalOcean droplet, a virtual private server (VPS). Thanks to the GitHub student developer pack, which gives a 100$ credit in your account, I can now enjoy 20 months of seamless service at the rate of 5$ per month. If you are skeptical of being charged more, rest assured that exceeding 1 TB of bandwidth utilization per month is very difficult. The instance also offers you a 20 GB of SSD storage.

The only requirement is that you need a credit card or PayPal account to activate your DigitalOcean account. This is also the case with Amazon Web Services (AWS), so it is not an issue if you were already using it. For others, procuring either of these essentially boils down to having an access to a credit card. During setup, your account is billed for one time with 5$ to ensure that payments are successfully processed. Don’t worry, this money is added to your total account credit.


Setting up a droplet is surprisingly easy and much more comforting if you are a frequent user of Amazon services. Within minutes, I could log into my server, setup SSH configuration and add more accounts. Make sure you find a transient access to your server from other source (your mobile!) to configure sshd to listen on port 443.


I also setup up local SSH configuration to quickly create a SOCKS proxy for tunneling web traffic and some programs. Topcoder had given a lot of trouble in early days .. but now? a breeze.