I live in Ethiopia and the government blocks all urls with the word "proxy" in them. I couldn't use that word in the title above because that would make the url contain the word proxy.

When I apt-get upgrade I get errors because some packages like libproxy1, libproxy1-plugin-gsettings, libproxy1-plugin-networkmanager, python-libproxy all contain the p word.

Therefore, it is all blocked. I tried putting the urls into proxy sites, but they all just returned to their home page.

Are there any other solutions?

  • perhaps you can ask someone to post the files to a temp public link without the word proxy. OR - we get the community to rename innocent packages that are blocked for some users – philshem Nov 30 '12 at 13:25

10 Answers 10


The packages get blocked because your government apparently uses a URL filter. You can circumvent this by using FTP instead of HTTP to upgrade. To do this edit the file /etc/apt/sources.list and replace all occurrences of http with ftp.

You can also do it with these commands in a terminal:

sudo cp /etc/apt/sources.list{,.old}
sudo sed -i 's/http/ftp/g' /etc/apt/sources.list

Now try to update your package list and install the updates

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

You will need to repeat the process for additional software sources (i.e. PPAs) that live in the directory /etc/apt/sources.list.d/. (credit goes to reddit user noname-_-)

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  • This is amazing! Works like charm! – TSR Aug 1 '18 at 18:13
  • This also works for ISPs that don't know how to run transparent caching proxy such as Zain Kuwait. – ismail Dec 5 '18 at 16:57

Other than getting some unofficial packages you can not really trust if you do not know the source you can download distribution CDs and DVDs as an .iso file directly from Ubuntu:

By browsing there to the version you are using you will also find most recent daily updates from where you may be able to install updated packges (they may not be stable though). This is e.g. a link to the 12.04.2 daily build DVD.

Here also is a list of download mirrors, some of which may be better accessible for your:

Note that you still will not be able to have immediate security updates from packages with a banned word in their names.

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  • this is not a bad idea if bandwidth is not a problem. – philshem Nov 30 '12 at 13:26
  • 6
    This is an incomplete answer because security updates still wouldn't be possible for any packages that contain 'proxy' in their name. – Jeremy Bicha Dec 5 '12 at 21:23
  • @JeremyBicha: I do know, thank you for pointing this out. I'll edit this in to my answer. From the "security" point of view arising from legal aspects in a country with such a restrictive policy it may still be one of the lesser risky variants to get at least some updates. – Takkat Dec 5 '12 at 21:52

Use a VPN.

Free VPN -Google

With a VPN you connect to another computer, from there you connect to the mirrors. The connection is encrypted so there's only the URL of the VPN to check, nothing else.

Unless it's illegal in your country, if it is, beware.

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These mirrors work with HTTPS with valid certificates


These all work with HTTPS but have invalid certificates

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  • Where did you get this list from? Also, please explain why using SSL would solve the OP's problem. – Flimm Dec 5 '12 at 15:49
  • 6
    If you can download some packages but not others, then it's safe to assume they're inspecting the traffic. HTTPS reveals only the domain name of the site you're connecting to. Assuming SSL itself isn't blocked, this solves the problem by preventing the filters from picking up the word "prox*." – jldugger Dec 5 '12 at 18:15
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    As for the source I just ran through the archive mirrors and found all the ones that has ssl turned on. – user71404 Dec 5 '12 at 21:18

Along the lines of pwnguin's answer but if they are strictly blocking HTTP URL strings then simply using FTP or rsync should get you through the filter. Obviously they aren't inspecting connection content TOO closely or this post wouldn't have made out of the country in the first place since it contains the "p word"

Also, this kind of blocking is silly. But I suppose you already knew that.

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How about this idea:

  1. Browse to a mirror site, such as http://nl.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/libp/libproxy/

  2. Ah, you can't, because the URL contains the word "proxy". Change the word "proxy" to "%70%72%6F%78%79": http://nl.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/libp/lib%70%72%6F%78%79/

  3. Find the correct link: http://nl.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/libp/libproxy/python-libproxy_0.4.7-0ubuntu4_all.deb

  4. (Assuming that this is the correct package...) Change the word "proxy" again to "%70%72%6F%78%79": http://nl.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/libp/libproxy/python-lib%70%72%6F%78%79_0.4.7-0ubuntu4_all.deb and download it with wget:

    wget http://nl.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/libp/libproxy/python-lib%70%72%6F%78%79_0.4.7-0ubuntu4_all.deb

I haven't tested if this really works, and it's not a 100% explanation, but it could be a starting point... Good luck with this oppressive government!

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  • 1
    Would be nice to know if this really works – math Jul 17 '13 at 13:52

Try TOR.

Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships.

Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.

For more information, and to download TOR, visit their Website. Once downloaded, see How to install a .tar.gz (or .tar.bz2) file.


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As someone cleverly pointed out, the use of ftp:// or https:// to circumvent the url filtering, you can also use rsync:// that comes with the plus of using delta encoding that reduce the bandwidth used. Just set up your sources.list to any of this mirrors that supports rsync and you should be fine.


deb rsync://mirror.picosecond.org/ubuntu/ quantal main restricted universe multiverse
deb rsync://mirror.picosecond.org/ubuntu/ quantal-security main restricted universe multiverse 
deb rsync://mirror.picosecond.org/ubuntu/ quantal-updates main restricted universe multiverse 
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Can't you, ironically, set up a SOCKS proxy using a remote webserver and tunnel all of your traffic through it? I do something similar to get around blocking of torrent sites.

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  • Not if they're using a transparent proxy (BlueCoat comes to mind). – Tarek Fadel Dec 5 '12 at 7:54
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    +1 if mentioned to use remote server outside the country, SOCKS over SSH (= dynamic port forwarding) for encryption. solved. – gertvdijk Dec 12 '12 at 23:25

I fixed it up by downloading the missing package manually and putting it in /var/cache/apt/archives and apt-get sees it as downloaded package and everything worked fine :)

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