Visual Proxy

see HTTP at work

What is VisualProxy

The VisualProxy is a small (!) tool to visualize HTTP traffic. It shows the full request and the full response of any request sent by your browser or any other web-client to any given host.

What it looks like

Visual Proxy - Screenshot

How to install it

All downloads are available as "tar.gz"-files. This is a common UNIX file format (a compressed tar-ball) and I assume that WinZIP and other commonly used tools in the Windows world can deal with this format. If so, just extract the files into any folder you like. The archive contains the base folder "visualproxy" beyond which there are three folders and some additional text files like the LICENSE_GPL_3.0 and a README.

On any UNIX-style OS just copy the compressed tarball in an empty directory and type

tar -zxvf visualproxy.tgz


gzip -d visualproxy.tgz | tar -xv

if you do not have the GNU version of tar.

After that you will find the source code of this software in the "src" directory, the ant build-file and an XML-file in the "bin" directory and needed libraries in the "lib" directory.

Now you can either compile it using normal java-tools or using ant. Ant is surely the recommended way to go. If you do not have ant installed, just grab it at

When using ant simply switch over to the "bin" directory and type "ant". Nothing else, just ant.

After ant has completed its work a file named "VisualProxy.jar" should exist in your bin-directory.

After that installation is completed.

NOTE: The build.xml file in the root folder is for Netbeans projects. You should _not_ run "ant" from within the root directory!

If you are using Netbeans you can use the root folder as a project folder. All Netbeans-related properties and libraries should be set correctly.

What you need

If you want to compile yourself you must have a Java Compiler and a Runtime Environment installed. If you do not have these readily installed, just jump over to SUN and download the latest J2SE JDK.

A precompiled binary is available in the bin-directory. It has been compiled using JDK1.4.2. Therefore you need at least a JRE version of 1.4.

I strongly recommend using at least the Java release 1.5 since it provides a much nicer looking default SWING-GUI and is faster than JDK 1.4. The screenshot shows VisualProxy running on JDK1.5/Java 5.

For compiling the sources yourself it would be best to have ant available on your system. It makes compiling so much easier. You can get ant at

Apart from that nothing else is needed.

How to run the app

The precompiled jar-file is available in the bin directory. If you have compiled VisualProxy yourself using ant the binary can be found in the same place.

You can start it by typing:

java -jar VisualProxy.jar

However if you are running the VisualProxy to grab connections through just another proxy server - like the proxy of your company - you have to start it the following way:

java -Dhttp.proxyHost=yourProxyHost -Dhttp.proxyPort=yourProxyPort

or with authentication (as one line)

java -Dhttp.proxyHost=yourProxyHost -Dhttp.proxyPort=yourProxyPort -Dhttp.proxyUser=yourLogin -Dhttp.proxyPassword=yourPassword

What libraries are used

Visual Proxy uses log4j and Commons-Logging for logging, Commons-Lang for some String handling and Commons-Codec to help with Base64-handling. The binaries of theses are included and can be found in the lib path of this release.

Log4j is published under the Apache Software License 2.0. The copy of the license is included in the root folder of this release.
Find out more about log4j here:

Commons-Logging, Commons-Lang and Commons-Code are published under the Apache Software License 2.0. The copy of the license is included in the root folder of this release.
Find out more about the Commons libraries here:

Change Log

0.4 to 0.5
VisualProxy is now released under the GPL v3 or later (instead of GPL v2 or later).

0.3 to 0.4
Patrick Schweizer added the possibility to clear the history of requests to the app.
Furthermore Patrick added the port to the title-bar.

0.2 to 0.3
Proxy authentification added.

0.1 to 0.2
Changes in structuring of code to make the code more flexible.
It is now possible to use a proxy host and proxy port. But no proxy authentification.

Initial version by Wolfram Rittmeyer.

Where to get it

Download the current version: visualproxy.tar.gz.

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