Library Proxy Server

About Library Proxy Server

Most of the Library's electronic resource database vendors allow access to their products only from computers with an Internet (IP) address that is recognized as belonging to the U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. The library proxy server allows authorized members of the UIUC community to access these restricted databases off-campus.

How does the proxy server work?

Your web browser communicates with the proxy server in the library, which communicates with the e-resource web site for you, and makes it appear that you are on campus. After you're successfully authenticated, the proxy server will add this prefix to the online resources that you requested: and to the library's electronic resources vendors all your requests will appear to be from the University of Illinois.

What is required to use the proxy server?

Your NetID and AD (Active Directory) password are required to use the proxy service. It is how the Library verifies that you are affiliated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. If you don't know your NetID or AD password, please visit CITES Account Services for assistance.

How to Use the Proxy Server?

As a user, you don't have to do anything special to make this work. When you click a link from on a Library web page, the Library web server decides whether you need the proxy server. If you are off-campus, you are prompted for your University Net ID and Active Directory password. Once that's verified, you'll get a link to begin using the e-resource through the proxy server. Your connection will stay authorized until either you close your web browser, or don't communicate with the proxy server for two hours.

Proxy vs. VPN

Both library proxy server and CITES VPN service will re-route your internet traffic and change your IP address. However, the license terms for most of the Library's subscription databases restrict access to current University employees, students, and emeriti faculty. CITES VPN allows a broader set of affiliated users, therefore even you are connected to VPN, some electronic resources vendors may ask you to be authenticated by the Library proxy server to determine eligibility.

What if my network has its own proxy server?

It should work in conjunction with the Library proxy server. Unlike a standard HTTP proxy server, the Library proxy presents web pages that appear to come from a normal web server. It does this by searching the content of the pages it retrieves on your behalf, and rewriting the URLs so they refer back to itself instead of the remote servers it proxies. Therefore, you should not change your web browser's proxy settings to use our service.

Whom to Contact

Depending on what kind of problem that you're experiencing:

If you're trying to log in the proxy server but getting "Incorrect NetID or password" from a Shibboleth page or "Not authorized" message from the proxy server, it means that either the NetID or password that you typed in was wrong or your status in the campus database doesn't allow you to access library electronic resources for some reason, please contact CITES Help Desk for assistance.

If you are unable to access an online resource or being asked to pay for accessing a full text article in an electronic database (and you believe this is an error), it means that the individual e-resource or database may be having issues, please contact the Library's Electronic Resources Management Working Group for assistance.

In rare cases, you may get an "HTTP 404 Server Not Found" or "HTTP 503 Service unavailable" message, this means the proxy Server is down or having issues, please contact Library IT Help Desk at 217-244-4688 to report the problem.

Bookmark or Link to Database Resources

When you access a library electronic resources via the proxy server, URLs are automatically generated and variable. If you bookmark or link to them, you may get an error or be taken to the wrong server later when you reuse them. To avoid this problem, you need to create a "proxied" link by adding the Library proxy prefix to the URL:

First, determine whether an electronic resource is accessible to off-campus users via the library proxy server using the Library Proxy Server Test Page /URL-helper. This online tool will tell you whether an online resource needs to be "proxied" or whether it can be "proxied". It will also create a "proxied" link for you and simulate the "off-campus" mode so you'll see what off-campus users experience after clicking the "proxied" link. Then, you can either copy and paste the "proxied" link to where you need it to be or create a "proxied" link using one of the follow methods:


The CitationLinker is a tool embedded in the Library's Find Online Journals & Databases tool. It allows you to search for a specific journal article.


The best way to create a reusable link via CitationLinker is to find a unique identifier such as an article's DOI (What is a DOI?), if you can't find any unique number of a particular article, fill in as much citation information as you can (see detailed instruction on How do I Use CitationLinker page), then click on the "Go" button. You'll land on the library's Discover page:

At the bottom of the page, you'll see a link named "Record Link". Right click it then choose "Copy link address" from the popup menu (or "Copy link location", or "Copy shortcut", etc. depending on what browser you use), this will be the link that you want to bookmark or link to for later use. It takes you to the same discover page so if a vendor changes its coverage, or the library drops a subscription, or the database server is down temporarily, you'll always have the most up-to-date information.

LibX Toolbar

The LibX Toolbaris a web browser toolbar designed to search the U of I Library catalog, online journals and databases. It has many helpful features including an option that allows off-campus users to quickly access the library electronic resources via proxy. Install the LibX Toolbar to Firefox or IE (see detailed instruction on How to Install LibX Toolbar in Firefox). When you try to access an library e-resource from an off-campus location:


Simply right click anywhere on the page and select "Reload the resource via EZProxy" from the popup menu:


The proxy login page loads:


Sign in with your NetID and Activie Directory (AD) password, once you are successfully authenticated, the page will reload and you are recognized as a user from the University of Illinois:


Related Resources

  • Ezproxy and Shibboleth -- the Library IT's service commitments for the proxy service.
  • Database Linking -- covers basic strategies for creating persistent links in ProQuest, EBSCO, JStor and Lexis Nexis Acadmic Universe.
  • RefWorks -- includes information on off-campus access to RefWorks' Write-N-Cite and the group code needed to configure the application.
  • EndNote -- has detailed instruction on how to set up proper links to the Library's proxy server in the software.