WhatsApp is launching proxy support for its users all over the world, the company announced on Thursday. The support will allow users to maintain access to WhatsApp if their connection is blocked or disrupted.
Choosing a proxy enables users to connect to WhatsApp through servers set up by volunteers and organizations around the world dedicated to helping people communicate freely. WhatsApp says connecting via proxy maintains the same level of privacy and security the app provides, and that personal messages will still be protected by end-to-end encryption. The company says messages will not be visible to anyone in between, not the proxy servers, WhatsApp or Meta.
“Our wish for 2023 is that these internet shutdowns never occur,” WhatsApp wrote in a blog post. “Disruptions like we’ve seen in Iran for months on end deny people’s human rights and cut people off from receiving urgent help. Though in case these shutdowns continue, we hope this solution helps people wherever there is a need for secure and reliable communication.”
The new option is available in the settings menu for all users running the latest version of the app. WhatsApp says if you have internet access, you can search through social media or search engines for trusted sources that have created a proxy. To connect to a proxy, you need to go into your WhatsApp settings and tap “Storage and Data” and select “Proxy.” Then, you need to tap “Use Proxy” and enter the proxy address and tap “Save” to connect.
If the connection is successful, you will see a checkmark. If you are still unable to send or receive WhatsApp messages using a proxy, that proxy may have been blocked. In this case, you can try again using a different proxy address. WhatsApp notes that the use of a third-party proxy will share your IP address with the proxy provider.