The hot topic of discussion in just about every alliance chat, skype room, and forum post is "how do I use proxies?" or "why can't I log all my accounts on?". There's been a few posts giving info, but none are complete.. so here you go: the almost-complete ultimate proxy guide.
Why can't I log all my accounts on?
When you connect to and play Evony, your traffic goes like this:
your computer -> your router/modem/both -> Evony
There's a bunch of other computers in between that relay the information for you, but ultimately Evony gets the information with the knowledge that it came from you. Your internet service provider assigned you an IP address. This is like your fingerprint on the internet. Only 1 person can have an IP address at any given time. Some people get IP addresses that change every reboot, some people get some that stay put for years, and some people get some that change occasionally. This is up to your internet provider. Anytime you browse a webpage, send an email, play an online game, download some porn, or whatever.. your IP address is being sent there to identify you as the person connecting or communicating.
Evony doesn't like us running a bajillion alts, so they've limited to 20, 10, or even 3 connections per IP address. This means once you connect (for sake of this post 3) accounts, you have reached your limit. Evony being random and weird has different limits for each server, and sometimes different limits for specific people among the same server. They also have different ways of dealing with you once you've reached your limit. Most servers just flatly refuse to let anything over the limit connect. You may log in 3 accounts and the 4th will error and never connect. If you disconnected one of those 3, then the 4th would log in right away. The usual error given in that case is "Security Error" on the bot. Some servers will experience that their 4th account can log in, but one of the already connected 3 would get disconnected. If you have bots going this is a very messy affair. Bots #1, #2, and #3 are online when #4 tries to connect. #2 gets disconnected and #4 connects. #2 then tries to reconnect so #1 gets disconnected. Back and forth it goes and you may never even realize all the bots are nonstop relogging unless you're paying attention.
What is a proxy, I think I need one?
A proxy is another computer that acts as a relay for your internet traffic to the destination. Instead of the above path from your computer to Evony, it would be:
your computer -> your router/modem/both -> the proxy -> Evony
This means instead of Evony seeing a connection from you (and therefore your IP address) it sees that proxy as the one sending the traffic. Having a proxy doesn't give you magical abilities to log on unlimited accounts. It gives you 1 more IP address to work with. This means if you have a 3 connection limit then you could log 6 accounts total by using one proxy (3 on your real IP, 3 on the proxy). You need to acquire enough proxies to cover all of your accounts if you go this route.
There are different types of proxies. The bot supports HTTP proxies and SOCKS5 proxies. When buying or finding proxies, make sure yours is one of these two types. Some proxies require authentication to make sure you're the person that is supposed to be using them. When you buy a proxy it will require either username/password authorization, or IP address authorization. The bot can support only IP auth for HTTP proxies. It can support IP or password auth for SOCKS5 proxies.
There are a few ways for you to acquire or use proxies. IP hiders, paid private proxies, free public proxies, and SumRandomGuy's free proxy list built into the Director. Read on for more information about each :P
An IP Hider, like Easy-Hide-IP is basically just a bunch of proxies that you can use through their 3rd party software. You download & install their program then it runs your program(s) like NeatBot through their proxies. In the case of Easy-Hide-IP (http://www.easy-hide-ip.com) it costs $30 a year last I checked and has about 3000 worldwide proxies available. *** WARNING *** Evony appears to be blocking Easy-Hide-IP's proxies on some of their servers now. Check with an alliance mate first to see if it works on your server before you pay!
Setup is not too difficult.
- Download and install it, set it to run with Windows start up, and reboot if it asks.
- After running it, go into the "Program Settings" and tell it to use your NEAT.exe. You may want to tell it not to use your browser. It can affect quality of streaming videos, etc. if proxying your browser.
- Now figure out how many bots you want on each IP address. If you have a 3 connection limit then you want no more than 3. Figure that the Director will start up a bot roughly every 30-60 seconds if left alone to it's own devices, so you want to set Easy-Hide-IP to change IPs every 1 minute. If your IP limit is 10 or 20, you would be safe with a 5 minute interval.
Every time it switches IP, whatever bot starts up at that point will start up using the current/new IP. When it switches again those previous bots stay on their previous IP while the next bot(s) started get the next current/new IP. It's basically the same thing as you putting proxies into the bot to use... except Easy-Hide-IP does it for you every 1-5 minutes.
After setting up your IP hider you should add -logintimeout 180 to the bottom of the Director main window in the "Custom params" box. This will tell the bot to try logging in for 180 seconds before it gives up and closes. If you did get a proxy that was already maxed out, this will make it restart and hopefully get a new proxy from Easy-Hide-IP.
Now for the drawbacks!
- Since this solution is cheap and easy, it's quite popular on Evony. The list of IPs available for it to use are the same for you, your blue neighbor, that red over in Bohemia, and your alliance's 815 alt accounts. There are only so many IP addresses available in it, so they may very well be already maxed out. Your bots may have to start, try a "full" IP for awhile, give up, and restart again with another one for awhile before you get onto one that isn't in use. If you have the unlucky "new connection disconnects the old connection" method of IP limitation, then you are gonna have troubles here. If your server isn't heavily using Easy-Hide-IP then this may not be an issue at all for you.
- If Easy-Hide-IP goes down, everyone using it knows it's down. This means all your bots are offline and your reds may know it.
- I've heard lots of folks reporting it crashes or lags like hell after a few days. Maybe this has more to do with their overburdened machines than Ease-Hide-IP though. If it has to be restarted, all of your accounts go offline.
- Easy-Hide-IP uses a lot of computer cpu/memory. When running many bots with it, you'll find it's basically like running twice as many bots.
Paid Private Proxies
Paid proxies are purchased from various websites that sell them and tend to be much more stable and reliable than free ones. Of course the drawback is that you have to shell out $$ for them. When purchasing you will generally have the option of private/dedicated proxies or shared/semi-dedicated proxies. Basically this means your proxy is either yours and yours alone, or several other people may be using it too. The odds of a shared one being used by another Evony player that is on your specific server are probably astronomically low, but most folks prefer to purchase private/dedicated proxies anyway to be safe.
Paid proxies pretty much always require authorization. Companies don't want to sell you proxies that you can then post to Google for the entire world to use, afterall. Depending on the website you purchased the proxies from, IP or password authorization setup is generally fairly easy. I'll go through the most popular ones:
SSL Private Proxy
Traditionally these guys were the most stable and reliable you could buy. You can often catch them with 25% up to even 50% off recurring subscriptions for holiday promos. Black Friday 2015 gave me half price proxies that I used for over a year with zero problems until the end of 2016, where they started dying randomly and frequently. By now they're likely over whatever that problem was and back to being the best. I quit using them due to having no bots to run!
Purchase dedicated proxies: http://www.sslprivateproxy.com/billing/aff.php?aff=236 -> Click "Our Solutions" -> Click "Private Proxies". Use coupon code NEATPORTAL10R at the checkout for 10% off every month.
Control panel to manage them: https://www.sslprivateproxy.com/billing/myproxies.php
Setup is not automated here. After purchasing you will have to wait until they confirm your order and assign you proxies. When I purchased from them it took about 2 hours. Once your order is fulfilled you'll find them in the client area after logging in.
After logging in, click "My Proxies". You will see an option to select Password or IP authorization. Select IP. Password auth only works for SOCKS5 proxies on the bot, and this site doesn't sell SOCKS5 proxies. Type your IP address in one of the three available boxes. Your IP should be displayed just below those three boxes. If it's not, you can find your IP address at http://whatismyip.com. Click OK at the bottom - it may not say "OK" I can't remember what it says now :P Once you have entered your IP address, it takes about 10-15 minutes to filter through their system and start working for your bots. If you see I/O Proxy Error: HTTP/1.0 407 Proxy Authentication Required, reconnect in... or similar, it means your IP hasn't gotten to all their machines yet. Just be patient and try again in a few minutes.
Cheap Private Proxies
They used to be very reliable. Not quite as A+ as SSLPrivateProxies, but at half the price still more than good enough. I've removed their recommendation and links now. Unfortunately their service became garbage around the end of 2015 and was still garbage when I gave up on them halfway through 2016. Their entire website goes offline randomly and their proxies are unstable.
This is the service most Evony folks use, I think. I had problems with their proxies early 2015 and gave up on them immediately for another provider. They had excellent customer service however and offered me better proxies more suited to my needs (which I didn't try, because I was already gone). I gave them another try in 2016 or 2017 and had great results for months. They're the cheapest of the 3 listed here, so definitely worth trying!
Purchase proxies: http://instantproxies.com/billing/aff.php?aff=242 (not sure if these are dedicated or not!) -> Click "Test now" for the # you want -> Click "Start test" -> after it tests them assuming they all work to your satisfaction click "Order Now"
Control panel to manage them: https://www.instantproxies.com/billing/clientarea.php
After paying for your order of proxies, you will be redirected to https://admin.instantproxies.com. You can find your list of proxies here, as well as "Authorized IPs". Authorize your IP address by clicking "Add Below" next to your IP address shown above the Authorized IPs box. Click "Submit" and your IP will be authorized. As with the previous websites, give it a few minutes to filter through their system for your proxies to actually work for your IP address.
Using Private Proxies
You have a couple options for how to use these proxies once you buy them. You can assign specific bots to a specific proxy, or you can throw all your proxies into a list and let the Director randomly pick one at each bot startup.
To assign a specific proxy to an account, click that account name in the Director main window -> click "account details". In that window at the bottom you will see "Profile Proxy". Type your proxy ip and port in there in the format ip:port. For example 220.127.116.11:9999. Repeat this for each account that will be using a proxy. Be careful not to assign more accounts to each proxy than your server will allow per IP. Each proxy is one IP.
To use a proxy list, paste all your proxies into a txt file one per line in the format ip:port. For example:
Save this file with whatever name you prefer, for sake of this guide use ProxyList.txt. After saving your file, click the Director Tools menu -> Choose Proxylist File -> and select ProxyList.txt that you created. Now click the Director Tools menu again -> Use Proxies from the Proxy List. Careful you pick the right selection here, "Use a proxy from SumRandomGuy" is a different thing entirely (see below). I don't recommend using a proxy list on a low connections per IP server. If you had, for example, 30 accounts and 10 proxies and a limit of 3 per IP then your odds of the Director randomly picking a different proxy for each 3 bots the first try is probably pretty low. It may end up picking the same proxy for 4 or more bots. It will correct itself over time, but it's just as easy to assign each account a proxy to avoid this conflict.
After setting up your proxy list you should add -logintimeout 180 to the bottom of the Director main window in the "Custom params" box. This will tell the bot to try logging in for 180 seconds before it gives up and closes. If you did get too many on the same proxy from your list, this will make it restart with another random proxy. Logintimeout is not necessary if you're assigning proxies to each account specifically.
For any account you do not want using a proxy from your proxy list, select the name from the Director main window -> click "account details" -> at the bottom check the "no proxy" box. This will make that account use your real IP address.
Free Public Proxies
Free public proxies are used pretty much the same way as paid ones, but acquiring them is much different. A public proxy is, usually, a proxy server someone has setup on their computer without intending to make it publicly accessible. Once these unwitting sharers realize their mistake, they password it or shut it down. At that point the proxy dies. Some public proxies are public deliberately, many universities for example provide them. These tend to be pretty reliable.
The thing to remember about public proxies is that you cannot count on them to be 100% reliable. Many times you can't even count on them to be 50% reliable. With the Director's ability to restart bots when they fail to connect however, you can eliminate the headaches caused by instability by just letting it grab a shiny new proxy when one dies. To use them you will want to create a proxy list with as many working proxies as you can get on it.
To use a proxy list, paste all your proxies into a txt file one per line in the format ip:port. For example:
For SOCKS5 proxies you will use the same format as above, with ss5:// in front, for example:
Save this file with whatever name you prefer, for sake of this guide use ProxyList.txt. After saving your file, click the Director Tools menu -> Choose Proxylist File -> and select ProxyList.txt that you created. Now click the Director Tools menu again -> Use Proxies from the Proxy List. Careful you pick the right selection here, "Use a proxy from SumRandomGuy" is a different thing entirely (see below).
After setting up your proxy list you should add -logintimeout 180 to the bottom of the Director main window in the "Custom params" box. This will tell the bot to try logging in for 180 seconds before it gives up and closes. If one of your free proxies has died, this will make the bot restart with another random proxy. Do not attempt to use free proxies without a logintimeout set.
There are several ways to find free public proxies...
You have the option of using a list provided by someone else. For example Matlok's list provided on the VIP forum for donators at http://forum.neatportal.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3595. Be aware that any traffic going through the proxy can be captured and viewed by the person that runs the proxy server. It would not be impossible for a malicious Evony player to setup a proxy and give it out for free to people just to steal their logins. PS - I'm not saying this about Matlok :P
- There are various websites that you can pay for a daily updated list. The cost is generally very low, but the rate of working proxies on these lists is also sketchy. Google "daily free proxy list" and you'll see plenty.
- There are lists already made online that you can access and use for free. Google "free proxy list" or "public proxy list" and you'll see plenty. Make sure the ones you're using are showing as "high anonymous" or "elite anonymous" or similar. You don't want "transparent" or "semi-transparent" proxies.. those will show Evony your real IP.
- You can scan/scrape for your own. If you don't know how to do this, I don't recommend you do this.
Your list will degrade in quality as proxies die. Make sure you run it through a proxy checker as often as possible - I'd recommend daily - to filter out the bad ones. Also make sure you add fresh working ones in before the list gets too small. It's a lot of work to maintain a free proxy list. Do not go this route if you're not dedicated to having stable bots.
SumRandomGuy's Free Proxy List
This is basically the above "Free public proxies" but using a list that SumRandomGuy has created and maintains rigorously for you. I really can't imagine anyone using the previous option while this option is available!
Setup for this is tough.. are you ready?
Click the Director Tools menu -> Click "Use a proxy from SumRandomGuy". Now type -logintimeout 180 at the bottom of the Director main window in the "Custom params" box. For any bot you do NOT want to use a proxy, click the account name in the Director main window -> click "account details" -> check the "no proxy" box at the bottom.
That's it. You're done. Restart bots and they'll randomly get a proxy from SRG. Phew.. I knew you could do it.
This service is provided free from SRG. He has put quite a lot of work into automating the acquisition and checking of his list. You can see about the work that goes into it here: http://sumrandomguy.com/blog/detail/lots-of-confusion-about-the-proxies. Be sure to thank him on Skype or the forums for his hard work (and considerable bill on bandwidth).
That article also explains how to get on the fast-track for proxies from him.. I suggest you follow it.
(TO BE CONTINUED - WORK IN PROGRESS!)