Virtual Hosting: Browsers and PAC

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Virtual Hosting: Home | Name based | PAC | Browsers and PAC | Making it portable | Issues

Browsers and PAC
Uniform Server 3.5-Apollo

Installing the PAC file is easy I use both Firefox and Opera always dread firing up IE6 for testing; can almost guarantee to hit some problem. To my surprise it worked although I always get confused when to use a forward or backward slash.

Interestingly you will notice Firefox requires three forward slashes after “file” although technically correct again confusing. Well I am easily confused hence the images, if I have not covered your browser at least these three will give you some idea where to look.

I located my PAC file (test.pac) at the top level on G drive (makes for less typing) if you choose to bury it in sub-folders enjoy the typing. Note, the file can be located anywhere you like.

Firefox 2.x.x.x 3.0

I am biased when it comes to browsers and they are listed in order of preference Firefox is my personal favorite.

  1. Run Firefox
  2. Select Tools > Options
  3. Select Advanced Icon
  4. Select Network Tab
  5. Click Settings button
  6. Check Automatic proxy configuration URL radio button
  7. Type-in file:///G:/test.pac
  8. Click OK twice to close both dialogs.

Note: Item 6 use this to enable or disable the file as and when required.

Uc pac firefox a.gif

Alternative method: Firefox has another method of doing things perhaps you may prefer this alternative:

  1. Run Firefox
  2. Type about:config in the address bar, then press [Enter]
  3. Type autoconfig in the Filter bar
  4. Double-click the network.proxy.autoconfig_url (edit box pops up)
  5. Type-in file:///G:/test.pac
  6. Click OK

Uc pac firefox b.gif

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Opera 9.10

  1. Run Opera
  2. Selets Tools > Preferences
  3. Select 'Advanced tab
  4. Select Network (menu on the left)
  5. Click Proxy servers button
  6. Check on the Use automatic proxy configuration checkbox
  7. Type-in file://G:/test.pac
  8. Click OK twice to close both dialogs.


Note 1: Make sure you use forward slashes.

Note 2: Make sure you enter file with two forward slashes file://G:/test.pac

Uc pac opera.gif

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IE 6

  1. Run Internet Explorer
  2. Select Tools > Internet Options
  3. Select Connections tab
  4. Click the LAN Settings button
  5. Check Use automatic configuration script checkbox
  6. Type-in file://G:\test.pac
  7. Click OK twice to close both dialogs.


Note 1: Make sure you enter file with two forward slashes file://G:\test.pac

Note 2: Make sure you use back slashes for the rest of the file name.

Uc pac ie.gif

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Testing

If it not already running start Uniform Server and type into your browser address bar the site names you setup on the previous page (reproduced below):

Addresses
  • www.my_site1.fredtest.mine.nu 
  • www.my_site2.fredtest.mine.nu
  • www.ric.com

Test your links (relative, root relative and absolute) if you are working on sites that are cross-linked these will also work.

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Summary

With just a few lines of code you can simulate a DNS server allowing you to be that little more confident your sites will work when published.

This write-up was inspired by dimo414 for asking such awkward questions over on the forum. I have always used the local hosts file to implement this type of solution. However when replying to dimo414 it triggered the idea of a fully portable testing server including browser see next page for this solution.

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Uc small logo.gif Ric