Set up a Proxy Server Droplet in less than 5 minutes

This post shows how to quickly run Squid proxy server on a DigitalOcean droplet via command line interface.


Create droplet:
$ doctl compute droplet create ubuntu-squid-proxy \
    --image ubuntu-20-04-x64 \
    --region sfo2 \
    --size s-1vcpu-1gb \
    --ssh-keys 01234567,12345678 \
    --tag-names test,proxy,squid,cli \
    --user-data-file user-data.yml \

where user-data.yml has content of this gist

Use proxy:
$ curl --proxy http://USERNAME:PASSWORD@<Droplet_PublicIP>:3128
Delete droplet:
$ doctl compute droplet delete ubuntu-squid-proxy

Squid is a popular caching and forwarding HTTP web proxy.

Let’s setup squid proxy with Basic authentication in Ubuntu 20.04 instance. We will be creating a droplet using doctl (CLI for DigitalOcean) to host this proxy server.

Required info for droplet creation

Run doctl compute droplet create --help to see the available options.

Required flags info can be obtained with the following commands:

doctl commands
doctl compute image list-distribution
ID          Name                 Type        Distribution    Slug                  Public    Min Disk
53893572    18.04.3 (LTS) x64    snapshot    Ubuntu          ubuntu-18-04-x64      true      20
62569011    20.04 (LTS) x64      snapshot    Ubuntu          ubuntu-20-04-x64      true      20
31354013    6.9 x32              snapshot    CentOS          centos-6-x32          true      20
60461760    10.3 x64             snapshot    Debian          debian-10-x64         true      20
62823611    32 x64               snapshot    Fedora          fedora-32-x64         true      20
doctl compute region list
Slug    Name               Available
blr1    Bangalore 1        true
lon1    London 1           true
nyc1    New York 1         true
sgp1    Singapore 1        true
sfo2    San Francisco 2    true
doctl compute size list
Slug               Memory    VCPUs    Disk    Price Monthly    Price Hourly
s-1vcpu-1gb        1024      1        25      5.00             0.007440
512mb              512       1        20      5.00             0.007440
s-1vcpu-2gb        2048      1        50      10.00            0.014880
1gb                1024      1        30      10.00            0.014880
s-3vcpu-1gb        1024      3        60      15.00            0.022320
doctl compute ssh-key list
ID          Name        FingerPrint
01234567    mykey1      00:11:22:33:44:55:66:77:88:99:aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff
12345678    mykey2      aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff:00:11:22:33:44:55:66:77:88:99
doctl compute tag list
Name         Droplet Count
cli          0
test         1


Squid installation & configuration inside the droplet is automated via cloud-init. A local file with the following gist content needs to be created and passed to droplet create command using --user-data-file flag. Don’t forget to replace USERNAME and PASSWORD values.

Note that cloud-init overrides the default /etc/squid/squid.conf file after installation and creates /etc/squid/htpasswd file with content <USERNAME>:<hashed PASSWORD>. Ports required for Squid and SSH will be allowed by the firewall.

Create droplet

Command below creates a $5 droplet (1 CPU, 1GB RAM, 25GB SSD disk) named ubuntu-squid-proxy with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS base image.

$ doctl compute droplet create ubuntu-squid-proxy \
    --image ubuntu-20-04-x64 \
    --region sfo2 \
    --size s-1vcpu-1gb \
    --ssh-keys 01234567,12345678 \
    --tag-names test,proxy,squid,cli \
    --user-data-file user-data.yml \

Output will give name, IP and other details:

ID           Name                  Public IPv4        Private IPv4    Public IPv6    Memory    VCPUs    Disk    Region    Image                     Status    Tags                    Features    Volumes
XXXXXXXXX    ubuntu-squid-proxy    XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX                                   1024      1        25      sfo2      Ubuntu 20.04 (LTS) x64    active    test,proxy,squid,cli

Accessing Squid proxy

Once the droplet is created, there will be few minutes delay for config init to make the proxy server up and running.

Tip: Use netcat to probe proxy port 3128 to check whether the proxy server is running.
$ nc -zv XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX 3128
nc: connectx to XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX port 3128 (tcp) failed: Connection refused

$ nc -zv XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX 3128
found 0 associations
found 1 connections:
     1:	flags=82<CONNECTED,PREFERRED>
	outif en0
	src 192.168.0.XXX port 53190
	dst XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX port 3128
	rank info not available
	TCP aux info available

Connection to XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX port 3128 [tcp/ndl-aas] succeeded!

Proxy URL:


Let’s send a sample curl request via proxy:

$ curl --proxy http://USERNAME:[email protected]:3128
Verify status of squid inside the droplet:
root@ubuntu-squid-proxy:~# systemctl status squid
● squid.service - Squid Web Proxy Server
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/squid.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Thu 2020-05-14 12:35:29 UTC; 2h 2min ago
       Docs: man:squid(8)
    Process: 14588 ExecStartPre=/usr/sbin/squid --foreground -z (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
    Process: 14601 ExecStart=/usr/sbin/squid -sYC (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
   Main PID: 14602 (squid)
      Tasks: 5 (limit: 1137)
     Memory: 16.3M
     CGroup: /system.slice/squid.service
             ├─14602 /usr/sbin/squid -sYC
             ├─14604 (squid-1) --kid squid-1 -sYC
             ├─14606 (logfile-daemon) /var/log/squid/access.log
             ├─14607 (pinger)
             └─14827 (basic_ncsa_auth) /etc/squid/htpasswd
root@ubuntu-squid-proxy:~# netstat -tuplan | grep squid
tcp        0      0  *               LISTEN      14604/(squid-1)
udp        0      0 *                           14604/(squid-1)
udp6       0      0 :::49608                :::*                                14604/(squid-1)
udp6       0      0 ::1:52717               ::1:54193               ESTABLISHED 14604/(squid-1)
root@ubuntu-squid-proxy:~# tail -f /var/log/squid/access.log
1589459665.565    113 XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX TCP_DENIED/407 4084 CONNECT USERNAME HIER_NONE/- text/html

Delete droplet

Once you are done with the proxy testing, you can delete the droplet ubuntu-squid-proxy at any time by running:

$ doctl compute droplet delete ubuntu-squid-proxy