PuTTY is a SSH client commonly used to remotely administer Linux and Unix servers. But it can also be used to create an encrypted SOCKS5 proxy connection, which you can use to browse the internet and do other things through your Linux server.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are useful in this regard, because they cost as much as, sometimes even less, than your average VPN service.
SSH Tunnel SOCKS5 Proxy Instructions
These instructions assume you already have access to a server with SSH.
1. First off download the PuTTY tray application, you can do it from here. It does not require any installation and is very convenient because the whole app works directly from the executable file.
2. Open the application and in the Session category and enter the host name or IP of your server where it says “Host Name (or IP Address)”. Keep the port as 22 and connection type as SSH.
3. Then go to the “Connection” category on the left and expand the “SSH” subcategory, from there select the “Tunnels” subcategory.
4. In “Tunnels”, under where it says “Destination” there are three options, choose “Dynamic” and keep the row below that as “Auto”.
5. Now enter a source port number, this is where your web browser will connect and tunnel through to the secure connection to your server, then click “Add”.
6. Go back to the “Session” category and under where it says “Saved Sessions”, type in a name for your session and click on the “Save” button on the right.
7. And next you’ll want to connect to your server with the SSH session you just saved, login with your username and password.
8. Once you are connected, go to your web browsers network and proxy settings. In Firefox you want to click on “Tools”, and select the “Advanced” option and go to the “Network” tab.
9. Lastly, when you are in the “Network” tab, under “Connection” click on “Settings”. Now select “Manual proxy configuration”, then under “SOCKS Host” enter your local IP address, which is always 127.0.0.1, and the port number from your PuTTY configuration. Also make sure you’re using “SOCKS v5”. Finish up by clicking on OK.
10. You’re done! Now you can browse the web through your SSH tunnel. To turn it off, simply go back to the proxy configuration and select “No proxy”.